Sunday, March 29, 2009

A voice from the past

My cell phone rang about an hour ago. It was my brother, who attending a reunion of now-grown "kids" who attended John Muir School in Berkeley, California, in the 1960's. I wanted so badly to go, but alas... Michael greeted me and said, simply, that someone from my past wanted to talk to me.

I didn't recognize the voice on the line -- but then, when I last spoke to this person, she and I were probably 11 or 12 at most, and even women's voices change between that age and adulthood. When I heard her name I let out a shriek (just ask Tom)! I'd been trying to find Suzie for at least the past five years and have never had any luck -- and now, here she was on the phone with me! We chatted for a few moments, promising to catch each other up via e-mail in the next few days and hopefully re-establishing contact after (gulp) over 40 years!

I went into my photo folders, dug up this old class photo, and sent it to Suzie along with the following commentary:

64-65 2nd grade

"Top row: Andrea Something (I think she was new to the school that year), Eleanor LaBarge (who had way cool older brothers and who didn't need a hall pass to be excused to go to the bathroom; I never knew why), No Idea, No Idea, Suzanne (Zanny) Pearce (the best girl athlete and coolest, most confident kid at John Muir School... do you remember the mattress swing in the room above her next-door-neighbor's garage?), YOU (sans cool blue sparkly glasses and wearing your hair in that cool, disguised longer-in-the-front do), Katherine Williams (who was so soft-spoken it always sounded like she was whispering). Second row: Claudine Wales (who my mom wanted me to be friends with because she had a classy French mother), Erika Karplus (who I remember as being like a full-grown, distinguished woman -- almost Stepford wife-ish -- in a girl's body), Stacey Something (??), David Carter (who always made a huge mess when he ate... which reminds me -- can you still smell the cafeteria?), Fritz Koch (who was a bit of a pervert, no?), No Idea, Cathy Something (or maybe Vicki??). Third row: Blair Pickerel (who I insisted was the subject of the Mrs. Pickerel books, and on whom I always had a little crush), Gordon Something (he picked his nose and wiped it on the bottom sides of chairs), David Carter (so wait - then who's the guy in the the glasses in the second row?!), Anne Roth (who wore that stretchy headband every single day), No Idea, No Idea, and (swoon) John Ballentine (who was perfection, from his handwriting to smooth, bronzed skin, to his gentlemanly manner). Forth row: It's on the tip of my tongue (he shuffled when he walked and had hunched shoulders), Steve Foscutt (who was perpetually on the verge of tears), Cathy Peterson (whose mother always seemed to be at her side, involved in absolutely everything she did, every day), Yours Truly (duh -- who else but the daughter of Germans would be wearing a dirndl dress to school on picture day?!), Debbie Marshak (who died in a car crash in Utah when we were in 4th grade, and at whose funeral I played my flute... that was my first experience with death -- so sad), Betty O'Brien (who had boobs, and probably a boyfriend, already when this picture was taken), Jimmy Weller (who was the biggest brat in the school, always and forever in trouble... but who probably grew up to be pretty dang good-looking, now that I take a second look!), Daisy King (who always minded everyone's business, and who boasted that she got $5 a week for allowance). Sixth row: No Idea (but I remember him and his mannerisms; I just can't remember his name... looks like someone who might have become famous), Mrs. Cole (who hated me -- or so I thought -- and told me the right way to hold a pencil was up by the eraser!), Mr. Ventor, who paddled my oldest brother's butt more than once), and Andrea Something (who was painfully shy and reminded me of a frightened kitten)."

Isn't it odd -- and somewhat pathetic -- what I remember? I wonder how many of these people might be on Facebook or LinkedIn now, 40-some years later.

Excuse me while I see what became of Jimmy Weller...

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wendy said...

I have never attended a high school reunion. But, some people have reconnected with me on Facebook. Seems so weird. Nice to hear from FRIENDS FROM THE PAST.

Renate said...

Yikes, I'm off to Germany on April 14 and have plans to get together with people I went to grade school with. They just had their 50th class reunion! On my previous visits, I never made any effort to seek out any classmates. It really doesn't interest me. But this time, one of my classmates got hold of the information that I would be in town, so I guess I'm "stuck" with seeing them. I don't have really fond memories of those years and I'm almost afraid of bringing up more memories. But, as everyone tells me, it WILL be FUN. We'll see.

honeypiehorse said...

Isn't it funny how vivid grade school memories can be? I remember more names of classmates from when I was 12 than from grad school.

Tillybud said...

I jumped from a height and landed on my head at gymnastics club when I was little - maybe that explains why I don't remember anyone!!

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