Saturday, September 13, 2014

Reunion Blues: Which to Choose?

Two parts of my teenage past are coming together to engage in heaps of nostalgia.  My high school class is having its 30th reunion (yes, I am old), and my old summer camp, Camp Airy is celebrating its 90th anniversary (it is older than me).  The former is in Philly, the latter is back at the camp in Maryland.  It would be a tough choice.

Captain Wacky appeared
for the Wacky Olympics
(yes, I won Wackiest
Counselor contest ...
all three years)
I have far more fond memories of camp--I lived 44 weeks a year looking forward to those eight every summer.  I felt that far better about myself and was probably the best version of myself every summer for eleven years--eight as a camper and three as a counselor. Most of my major milestones were at camp--I won wrestling tournaments despite being the underdog, I kissed a girl, I played ultimate, etc.  This year is particularly special because it will be celebrating the contribution by the Director of the Camp during my time, Ed Cohen, who passed away recently.  When I was in DC for the APSA, I met with a friend who was also a key piece of Camp during my time there and we swapped tales.  As the organizer of this reunion, he informed me that most of the folks attending would not be people from my time at camp but older and younger folks.  So, I have deep affection for the place and the people, but if I attended, I would mostly be meeting new people and not hanging out with the friends from my summers long ago.

From the Senior Class Trip--hypnotist show.
My memories of high school were more mixed as I never felt like I fit in, that coming to Lower Moreland when I was in third grade was somehow too late.  That I didn't work hard enough to fit in with the brains, that I was not athletic enough to be on any of the sports teams (long before high schools had ultimate teams), that I came to the drama group too late (most of the productions were musicals and I am not musical).  Still, I did enjoy the previous high school reunion.  Facebook made a big difference in helping make some connections before the event, so that it was less awkward chatting with people I had not seen in twenty five years (or fifteen, since I think the previous reunion I attended was the tenth).  People do become less clique-ish over time, so I had good conversations with people I knew but did not know well. 

So, which have I chosen to attend?  Neither.  The timing sucks.  The high school reunion always was on Thanksgiving weekend, which made it a shorter trip from wherever I was eating turkey with my family.  This apparently was inconvenient to those who stayed around Philadelphia.  For those who have to travel like myself, a random September weekend does not work so well.  The same goes for Camp Airy's reunions, which are always in mid-September.  Having just traveled to APSA, I am just not up for a very long drive (six to eight hours) for one night of hanging with old friends from either of my teen homes.

And I am bummed.  I am sure the folks at both reunions will have a great time, and there is nothing I hate more than on missing out on stuff (youngest child syndrome).  So, have a beer or three without me and enjoy the festivities!

Bunk Row, where I spent 1977-1986 (first year was in the younger side of camp)
The camp replaced these with new, fancier, smaller buildings a few years ago. 
Pretty sure camp was at its best when I was there (I have always been a narcissist).

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