The conversations cascaded one after another. iPhone flashes popped. Glasses clinked. Hugs and handshakes shared. Three decades had changed so much, yet so little. The Liverpool High School class of '83 had reunited.
Name tags helped, but were hardly needed. Neither were directions to Meghan McMurphy's on Route 57. It's the old Gin Mill. This group of some 47 and 48 year olds came from as far as California, Colorado and Florida. Or as close as developments like Forest Hills, Bayberry and Irongate.
A class that graduated more than 800 turned out nearly 200 strong. It was an effective sample of the wide range of lifestyles represented in a large middle class suburban high school like Liverpool. Bikers and laborers, lawyers and cops, nurses and doctors. Gay and straight, married and divorced, fit and ... less fit. Gray hair and no hair, blondes and brunettes, tattooed and surgically enhanced. We had it all.
Facebook helped with reunion preparation laying a foundation for life status of many in the class. Even if you haven't actually seen the person in five or ten years. The talk always started with "hey, you look great!" Or, "you haven't changed!" Or, "you look better than you did in high school!" Varying degrees of honesty were weaved into any of those phrases depending on the true situation.
At times the night played like an old school pin ball machine. You bounce from one person to the next. You wonder about the name of the person smiling and approaching preparing to say hello. Did I know him from gym class? Did I sing with her in chorus? Or was it home room? I personally had forgotten about home room and the breakout of Liverpool High in to Houses I, II, III and IV.
I did not forget about my senior ball date Cindy Mullen Renno who truly does look better than ever. Her husband Jeff thinks so too. Or Michelle Martuscello Mitchell who deserved great credit for organizing the party. We flipped through some old photos, yearbooks and articles from the old Liverpool-Salina Review. Some of the mementoes brought back memories, others seemed as distant as the entirety of the 30 years.
I talked with Anthony Nixon about driving a forklift and Barry McLaughlin about the Affordable Healthcare Act. Joe Manzelli about a school board in New Jersey and Joe Bruening about coaching kids in Buffalo. I talked with Katie Craig about her sick cat and Lisa Gemelli Frost about her battle with cancer. Tony Rossillo about crime in Syracuse and Sean McGlynn about charity basketball. Too many classmates to name.
For every person who was there a question would arise about someone who was not. Case in point, Alyson Levine Zildjian wondered what ever happened to Tom Lewandowski. Tom was an All-American swimmer, a fine student and a school leader. She had Googled until the algorithm broke and could not find him. There were a lot of names like that.
One guy is in the CIA, others have moved away and some have passed away. Photos tagged the day after made me realize I had missed several friends who must have been there when I was there like Jim Gass, Brenna Ryan and Lisa Laporta.
After the eating there was drinking and dancing. And talking and talking, to the point voices started to fail. We had reminisced, caught up and created yet another new set of memories to keep the bond of school days going into the future. Best wishes moving forward to the class of '83. See you down the road.
By the way, Dr. Tom Lewandowski is doing fine. He's a cardiologist in Wisconsin.
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