By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 8/21/2019
Occurred: 10/17/2009 11:30:00 PM
Topics/Keywords: #Easter #NewYork Page Views: 980
Michael and I dance for the first time in 10 years.

I don't know that I "clean up" all that well. When people see me all dressed up they usually gasp and say that I do, but I think it's more of the startled reaction to a chicken playing piano than any genuine admiration. The thing that's remarkable about a chicken playing the piano isn't how well it plays, but that it plays at all. That my normally-sneaker-or-sandal clad feet even fit into leather shoes, or that a tie can be made to knot itself around my normally collarless neck, seems to be unexpected enough to impress the initiated. For those who don't know me, I tend to get the polite avoidance of eye contact that suggests that, if we were in a Wal-Mart, they would be surreptitiously whipping out their cell phones to capture my incongruous image for PeopleOfWalMart.com.

In any case, Michael's primary reunion event was to be a formal dinner held tonight, and I was expected to show up in a jacket, slacks, shirt and tie. And, sadly, I was not to be allowed to fake it with one of those tuxedo T-shirts.

Well, at least I wouldn't need to wear a tuxedo.

An awesome spread at Lake Isle Country Club.

The event was held at the very ritzy Lake Isle Country Club. This is how wealthy Eastchester is: The town owns its own country club. And the country club comes with built-in caterers.

The DJ.

But before we could get to the food, we had to enter. We were right on time but there were already well-dressed men and women present…many of whom were staff. Our event was held in two adjoining rooms, both large, one darker than the other. A DJ was setting up, there was already food out, servers wandered about with hors devours on plates, and a photographer was maniacally snapping everything he could see. Another photographer besides me, I mean.

Barbara, Peter, and Derik arrived more or less as we did. Most of the attendees had also been present at the previous night's get-together, so now they looked a little more familiar.

Michael, Peter and Barbara.

In addition to the hors devours and three buffet dinners, there were two open bars. The dance floor was near the bar in the first room; near the bar in the second room was a video display with a PowerPoint presentation of the Class of '69 when it was fresh. (I think the purpose of the bar there was to help the class members cope.)

The DJ was awesome. He was young, but convincingly mimicked radio DJs of the 1960s and, frankly, I don't know how he did it. In fact, I asked; and he accepted the compliment but couldn't name any mentors or inspiration, just saying that he "loved" the music from that era, some 20 years before he'd been born.

So of course we danced. There was one Lesbian couple so Michael and I weren't the only gays on the floor. Michael is a marvelous dancer but neither of us had been dancing in perhaps a decade—where does the time go?—and both of us had put on weight in the intervening years. So whether people gasped and stepped back to admire Michael's dancing, or for simple self-preservation, is an open question. It might have been a little of both.

I could have mingled and chatted with people, but I knew this was their night and first chance in 40 years for most of them to reconnect. So I just made the rounds and took pictures.

People ran around signing yearbooks and asking for them to be signed; they exchanged email address and phone numbers and hugged and kissed each other. My feeling was that these were all really nice people and I felt privileged to be a part of their reunion.

On our way out, we saw a poster that had been made showing the classmates who hadn't managed to survive quite long enough to make the reunion.

It made not being one of them seem all the more special.