When Donna Mae Moose picked me up for the long-awaited opening night festivities for the class of 1980 E.C. Glass High School reunion Friday, Aug. 13, we both admitted we were as nervous as two fat ticks in a pin factory.
It was anticipatory anxiety—a typical enough ill at ease that comes with wanting to look one’s best: youthful and hopefully finer and fitter than the status quo. Not an unfair aspiration, I say. Donna and I were both late bloomers, never among the “beautiful people” in high school (I honestly prefer my current-day appearance to the gawky egghead that was 17-year-old Charles). So why not relish the notion of improving with age—if only we could manage to primp and polish and pick out the right clothes to demonstrate that life has shone down upon us?
I’d feel reticent admitting any of this if I didn’t believe it’s not universal. I imagine the vast majority suffered the same pre-reunion jitters, right?
In any case, better build up our courage with a pre-pow wow with classmate Carolyn, whom I schooled with from kindergarten all the way through high school. We reacquainted in November after 30 years, when she and Mae came to New York. She too had nothing to fear; if anything, Carolyn simply looks like a grown-up version of her teenage self, with the added elegance of maturity. But that hour we three spent together before confronting the masses was comforting, if not damn requisite.
Okay, let’s do it… onward to Charley’s…Jim with Mae and meese. He and I started Facebooking last summer when I was working on my book project in the Hamptons and I've had a good ole time flirting with him throughout. Man, back in the day, I considered Jim way OML (out of my league), but as a musician, he took a shine to my knowledge of music and we developed an intelligent back and forth. By the time we regrouped at the reunion, he became Donna and meese's primary ally, both Friday and Saturday nights. Even sans hair, he's still gorgeous, huh?Carter and Rob with his wifey. He was cute in HS... handsome as hell as a grown-up. Inset: Rob and classmate Bernetta.Patty—who I scarred for life in junior high when we were dissecting cow's eyes and I placed the lens on her notebook. Cool! With Joel, who remains a macho cowboy. Time has been kind.Mae, longtime classmate Carol, Mr. Jim, meese and damn, who is that woman who gave me a full back massage that evening? I love her.Carolyn, her husband Blane and classmate and one of the event's grand planners Cindy.Yup, here's that moment you dread: walking up to someone who not only knows me as Charles, but as modern-day Chuck... and I respond with a wholly blank expression. Not only am I Facebook friends with Jonathan—regularly chatting—but we were best friends in seventh grade. Here's one of those guys who's changed beyond recognition, like meese: Back then, he was a skinny blonde... though oddly enough, now that I see his pic from then, perhaps he really hasn't changed so very much... In any case, once we managed a reintroduction, Jon was one of my fave reconnects of the night.Oh, yeah, indeed another of the highlights of the night: Louise, who was a pal in primary school before she deserted our class to go to private school at Seven Hills Girls School. Again, we've been having a big time on Facebook. We must have hugged and embraced and kissed enough times over the weekend to spawn a new generation. She's the fucking goods, one of those women that is never a stranger to anyone she meets. We're here in first grade, separated by Mary Margaret, who sadly didn't make the reunion, with ample apologies.Carol, whom I reconnected with at both the 10- and 20-year reunions, as well. We were hot and heavy boyfriend and girlfriend... in third grade.With Laura, another classmate from primary all the way through high school.And last, but certainly far from least, Tilawanda, everybody's baby. When my Carlton and I went to the 20th, she was among the most endearing of all of our reconnects. There's not a person in our class that doesn't know Tila... And that's a wrap for Friday. Stay tuned for so much more!