Saturday, October 6, 2012

Girls and Boys

In 1972 I never saw 2012 coming.  I sometimes thought about 2000...and would giggle at the thought of being 46 when the new century arrived.  But I never considered 2012 and 58-year-old-Nancy.  I never even tried to picture her. 

And I never tried to picture the 40th high school reunion that is happening tonight at Marian Catholic High School.

I am still having a hard time picturing it.

No matter what I see in the mirror these days (and some mornings it just plain frightens me), I still picture my high-school chums as kids.  As beautiful, sweet-faced, fresh-scrubbed teenagers.  For whatever we thought of each other at the time, in the air-brushed-golden-glow of my memory all the girls were Breck Girls and all the boys looked like the cast of The Outsiders.  We were all just so damned cute.

Wait a minute.  Were we all so damned cute?  Let me concentrate a second and really try to, no, we weren't all so damned cute... the truth of it is that some of us were awkward, some had bad skin, some were not as cool as others, some were  skinny, some chubby, some had bad-breath, some had not yet figured out how to be kind to each other.  Huh?  Why do I remember them all as movie stars?

Let's see, what do I remember about them that might color my memories?

Angie Speca was spectacular at math and could play the drums, two things boys were good at and admired...and I always thought that if I had her talents and my "upper-frontals" I could rule the world.

Bernie Goodrich was a not-so-fragile-blonde-beauty who made perfect grades and all her own clothes.  Such a show-off!  She is also one of the most generous people I have ever known.

Mike Savage was my first real crush (when I was in 5th grade) and I should have known then that I would never settle for any man in my life who did not make me laugh.  MaryAnn Durkin is a lucky girl.

Marita Cunningham was smart and had a serious potty-mouth.  She also had 5 bothers (I had 4) and the first time I went over to her house and went to use the bathroom, she called down the hall to me "Better wipe the seat first!" and I knew I had found a soul-sister.

Walter Scott Fay has been in my memory since I was about 5 years old.  He has always been smart and a know-it-all-pain-in-the-ass....I have ALWAYS had a crush on his brain...and for six months in our junior year of high-school I also had a crush on his body.....which has made it easier to put up with the know-it-all-pain-in-the-ass part.

Connie Sinopoli had beautiful hair and that perfect low gravelly voice.  She hung out with a slightly different crowd than I did, but I remember that she was always laughing and having fun and I admired the sexy voice and the laughing.  And I thought her name sounded like music....

Amber Kloss  had a more quirky style than the rest of us and on her the dress code looked hip and cool.  On me it just looked....."Catholic".

Mary Irene Bramlette was also a friend back in grade-school.  We were chubby-cheerleaders together in 7th and 8th grades and I have never known anyone as comfortable with themselves at such a young age.  She knew things at 14 I did not learn until I was 44.

Armand Napolean....did not know him well, but who forgets anyone named Armand Napolean?

Diane Moriarty just always seemed to be having fun.  She WAS fun.  I envied her ease and her gift of making friends.

Nancy Napoli was so sweet and well-liked that it just did not seem fair that she also got to be a Liz Talyor look-alike. 

John Kennedy was the most thoughtful teenage boy I ever met.

Jay Steinmetz was the class heart throb. And let's face it....he knew it.

Jim Steinmetz was just as cute as his brother, but seemed less aware of his appeal.  They are both great guys...good looks and all.

I do not remember Marrie Bulczak.

Dave Zerante was the boy every girl was in love with...he also had a sexy-gravelly voice....and that perfect smile that haunted my adolescent dreams.

My mother loved Ron Schmitt and she believed he had the most beautiful hair she had ever seen on a boy.  She told me she envied me because she assumed that while I was dating him I got to touch it.  A few years later when she was dying, Ron came to see her in the hospital and he bent down and gave her a kiss on the cheek, and she quickly put her hand up and touched his hair...then she looked over at me and winked....I think he might have been her last crush.

Dennis Diemer was smart and funny and a great companion to have in a boring Current Events class.

Tom McCauley and I made each other laugh so much that I had to avoid eye contact with him if I wanted to maintain any decorum at all.  He could kill me with a raised eyebrow and I would be caught in a fit of giggles, end up scolded by Kay Brossmer while Tom would be across the room with this perfectly innocent and angelic look on his handsome face.

Diane Schlachter was a hoot-and-a-half....I always assumed a slumber-party at her house could end up with one of us needing bail-money.

Bobby Chisholm was the boy all the boys wanted to be...and all the girls wanted to do.  It can finally be said.

I also went to grade school with Roch Shipley.  Brain-iac Roch was always a fascination for me and he set the ground-work for my ability later in life to hold a bit of my own with the pointy-headed-technologists I spend so much time around.  I think big brains are sexy.....what can I say?

Janet Boyle was so small and petite and cute that it would have been really easy to dislike her...excpt for the fact that she was a little wicked under that sweet countenance.

Jan Jarema was a stellar musician and the first person my age that I saw fall in love.  It was teenage love, but it was real and I envied and pitied the feelings she held for a boy that probably did not deserve her affections...I cannot for the life of me remember who the boy was.

I teased Gary Hambel too much when we were kids.  Another grade-school friend, he avoided me like the plague in high-school.  Who could blame him?  But I could have predicted he would be a cardiologist...he is on a quest, as we all are, for that which we do not possess.  Sorry, Gary, I had to take one more shot!!!

Barb Cialkowski was the girl all the girls wanted to hang around...funny and kind to all...she did not seem to take any of it too seriously.

Mary Lynn Schanzlin was a rebel...I admired her courage.  When others of us would crumble under the glare of an authority figure, Mary Lynn never blinked.

Carl Tintari just seemed to know some joke the rest of us had not caught on to.  I think it might have had something to do with pharmaceuticals.  God love and keep him.

There are so many more...they are swirling in my head as I move down the hallways of Marian in my memories, laughing at their lockers, crying in the Senior Girls Bathroom, fretting over trivia, practicing for band and  football and adulthood.  Yes, even as I try my hardest to remember the flaws all I can see is the beauty of our youth, the glow of our innocence and the shimmer of our first yearnings.  I feel like Thornton Wilder's Emily Webb...why couldn't we see how beautiful it all was?

And how did we let 40 years go by?

I wish my classmates a wonderful celebration tonight.  I had hoped to be with them, but life got in the way.  If any of my classmates read this....please take and post photos.

And know that in my brain you are all dancing in the gym with your shoes off, 18 and fearless with 40 years ahead of you before it is 2012...which I never saw coming.