As I mentioned, I attended the 50th Binghamton Central High School reunion on Saturday, September 25. It was held on a pavilion in Ross Park, a place I went to a lot in my childhood. I felt that I really should attend. For the 45th, I dithered publicly online about maybe/probably going and ended up not making the trip.
Actually, there was a gathering at a bar called My Uncle’s Place the night before this year’s event. It’s on something called East Service Road, which turns out to be a service road parallel to I-88/Route 7. I called a couple of taxi companies. The first dispatcher actually asked me, “Who is your uncle?” “No, it’s the name of the place…” Anyway, I met about 20 people, give or take, there, and I had a pleasant time. I also got a ride back to my hotel with Yvonne and Sharon.
I had to change hotels the day of the reunion and had to check out of one venue before checking in the other. So I ended up hanging out at… OK, you might be able to guess… at the library. The downtown facility of my growing up was on Exchange Street where I worked as a page for a few months during high school, reshelving older magazines and putting on microfilm for patrons. That Carnegie library in the midst of being repurposed. The current library on Court Street is where there was an old Giant grocery store. It’s actually quite nice.
At the pavilion
My friend Bill, who I’ve only known since kindergarten picked me up at the library. He was with his wife Brenda, who is delightful. I went to their wedding in 1983(?)
I know my family and folks from my church spent a lot of time at the park when I was growing up. I’m sure Bill’s tribe did the same. Yet we were not as certain of precisely how to get there, though we made it there easily.
There were some people I was really happy to see. Keith, who’s been known to read this blog. Lois, who I’ve known since kindergarten. Lonna who I knew from the drama club. I spent some time talking with Mike, one of the organizers and who lived two blocks from my house growing up, who got injured by trying to do the right thing. I liked Mike’s wife Diane, though she had gone to a different high school.
Barbara is the cousin of one of my oldest friends. I didn’t recognize one guy because his nametag said Alex; Rusty, I DID remember. Two teachers were there, Jack Sinchaski, who I had for physics, and Carl Young, who was a history teacher who eventually became the County Executive for Broome County.
What we needed were those nametags 1) printed, with a larger font than the handwritten pieces, optimally with 2) their high school pictures. It’s because I’ve been one of those people who is not great with names and faces.
In fact, I didn’t recognize one guy twice in a four-decade span. When I went to my 10th reunion, one guy I was friendly with in high school I simply didn’t recognize because he had a severely receding hairline. He was really ticked off with me too. Didn’t recognize him this time either.
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For me, It’s like seeing a picture of James Taylor from the Sweet Baby James era of 1970, then one from That’s Why I’m Here in 1985. If his name wasn’t printed there, I’m not 100% sure I would have recognized him.
This explains, I suppose, why I tended to recognize the women at the reunion, and similar situations, easier than the men. There was a segment on some show years ago, probably 60 Minutes, where the correspondent could show pictures of noteworthy people when they were children and the subject of the piece could identify the celebrity; one was the correspondent, Mike Wallace. That is SO much not me.