This weekend is/was my 25th class reunion. I say is/was because I am writing the bulk of this before the actual get-together on Saturday evening at the New York Beer Project. Yes, for all you non-mathletes out there, that means I graduated from high school in 1992. I’ve run out of fingers and toes to count those years on. It’s a good thing I have kids who will stick their feet into the pot for the extra digits.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that it’s been a quarter of a century since I was last in high school. I don’t feel any older, and I sure as heck don’t think I look as old as some of my friends’ parents when they were in their 40s. I certainly barely act my age, which most people know if they spend any time with me. I think that’s true for most people, though.
If you had told me back in high school that I would be going to class reunions, I would have told you that you were crazy. I couldn’t wait to get away from all that drama. Why would I want to jump back into it just to mark how old we were getting? However, as our first reunion in 2002 drew closer, I began to change my mind. And then I changed it a lot. I volunteered to help out.
I remember we first met at Molinaro’s on Walnut Street for our first meeting. I don’t think anyone actually expected me to show up, but we had a good time that day. The next thing I remember was going to Erik Bernardi’s house to stuff envelopes. Yes, kiddos, in those days we actually mailed letters out through the postal service. These days are much easier with many platforms of social media.
Opening night of our tenth reunion, if I remember correctly, was at the Innfield on Transit. We packed the patio that night and there were a lot of laughs. Wendy says she’s not sure if she went with me that night, but if so, I’m trying to remember how I got home. The next night was at the county golf course on Davison, which came complete with a couple visits by Lockport’s finest. Apparently we were too loud for the neighbors across the street.
My funniest memory of that first reunion had to do with the Village People and “YMCA.” I will not name who it was, but there were several classmates who dancing along to the music amid cheers and catcalls. A couple of those nameless people (you know who you are) started stripping their shirts. Some boys never grow up, and it’s awesome.
Our twentieth reunion came along in 2012. I was not as involved with this one as we now had four children to take care of, too. We had a preview night at Fitzgerald’s on Friday. Wendy and I had a plan of hanging at the bar until 54-40 came on at the downtown concert series. I was having a very good time. Needless to say, we never got to the show, which sometimes Wendy still holds against me.
That bar closed early, so we tried another bar (or two). I think we finally left the DRI around 3am. My friend, Craig, was looking for a ride home and was going to try to call a cab. Since he “lived just around the corner,” I offered to give him a ride home. What that really meant was that Wendy was going to drive. And right around the corner ended up being way out by the Transit Drive In. Again, Wendy reminds me of that regularly. We finally got home around 4 in the morning.
Saturday morning there was a family picnic planned at Day Road Park. Wendy thought there would be no way that I would be able to get up and be ready to go by the 11am start time. Not only was I ready, I was the first one in the family who was ready to go. We had a picnic while all our kids played on the playground. Then, that evening, we went to the T-Club for dinner and then to a local bar for afterwards.
So, when I realized that this year was our 25th reunion, I began to wonder if our class would do anything. Before I saw anything on Facebook, I asked Erik before a Palace show if there was anything planned. He thought there was but he wasn’t able to dedicate a lot of time to it. When I finally saw the announcement on Facebook, I immediately confirmed that I would be attending. I had to switch our Palace Theater tickets around until next weekend in order to be able to go to the gathering.
When we showed up at the Beer Project, we were nearly on time. The parking lot was packed, although the guy who was one of our servers said they were actually dead for a Saturday night. We were among the first five or six people to show up, and Andy, Rosa, and Minerva had already commandeered a table. I do have to say that the greeter at the front desk had no idea about our reunion. He told us to just look around. I wonder if anyone missed us because of that?
There were about two dozen of us. The discussion almost immediately was how to get a great, big shindig going for our 30th reunion. I volunteered to help out once again. Hopefully we can get as many of our classmates as we can to attend. Maybe we’ll rent the dry rink at the arena for a summer evening reunion?
There were a lot of laughs, especially when Brian stole phones and started taking pictures. I’m pretty sure he didn’t take any with his own phone. He also liked sticking his head into other people’s shots just before the snap, and a couple times dragged me into the frame with him. I’m sure those classmates are just ecstatic to have our goofy faces in their photos.
Just like at our 20th, we left one bar to head over to the DRI. There was a smaller group of us there, but it was tight. We all were laughing and talking about our families. I had a wonderful evening. I know Wendy was a little bored because she really didn’t know very many people, but she persevered as I went from person to person, group to group, and from one bar to the second bar. I suppose I could have read the signs and let her take me home, but I was having a really good time. I can’t wait until we get together again.
It’s funny. When you’re in high school, you can’t wait to get away from it. After some time goes by, you start to look forward to seeing those familiar faces once again. Sure, there are some people who don’t want to come, but for many of us, it is a great evening with friends -- new and old.
Craig Bacon is a proud member of the Class of 1992. He enjoyed meeting up with old friends.