Friday, July 31, 2009

My Reunion

My trip to Toronto was a lot of fun. It was nice to go home alone although I did miss my family. The main purpose of my trip was for a little high school reunion. This was not an official one of course, just one that a bunch of girls (women) who hung around together in school organized

The reunion ("Chicks Rule, Boy's Drool") was so much fun! I think there were 18 people invited in all but just 9 showed. It was really great to see everyone. One of the women, V, I did not hang out with in school but she was close to one of the others (Denise) and she works at the same hospital as Ramona. Apparently she had gone through a bitter divorce and told us all about it. Also, she announced just before she left about 6pm that the only reason she had come was to see Sharon who was a no-show. Gee, thanks.

About 6:30ish Megan showed up (she was arriving from work). Megan, Ramona and I were one of 8 girls who skipped from Grade 3 to Grade 5 so we were in the same class those two years in a row (and Megan was also in my Grade 6 class). Anyway, our Grade 5 year was really special. We had a great teacher - Mr. L. He was young and fun and handsome and on Fridays he would bring in his guitar for music and we'd sing songs. My favourites were "Jamaican Farewell" and "She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain" if only because "...she'd be drinking Pepsi-Cola when she comes..." and Chris Kyle, if he had been well-behaved during the week, would get to let out the loudest burp he could. Our class loved it so we would all work together to ensure that Chris was on his best behaviour during the week.

I loved Grade 5 (can you tell?). We learned all about Australia (and what marsupials are - I did a project on the platypus). We went on nature walks in the ravine behind our school and laughed when two boys brought what they thought were "owl pellets" to the teacher but they were really just rabbit droppings. We studied owls and dissected owl pellets (I can still remember the musty smell of them). And the whole class seemed to love the teacher. He received five bottles of
Hai Karate aftershave for Christmas. I wanted to buy him a bottle too but my mom made me give him a book entitled "The History of Scarborough". (BORING!).

Mr. L was originally from South Africa. He was of mixed race and he told us that he came to Canada because of the Apartheid in his homeland. This was the mid-70's and there were many teaching moments for him on racism and I remember many of them.

This past year, Jax was in Grade 5 and I would tell him over and over again that it was my favourite year in school and I hoped it would be his too. He had a good teacher but I know that this year was not the magical year for him that Grade 5 was for me. I really had hoped that my kids would have a year like that.

Anyway, so that is the connection that Ramona, Megan and I have. One other person who was going to try to make it, Joan, was also in our class and one of the 8 girls who had skipped. She unfortunately did not make it because her dad passed away a couple of days beforehand.

So, back to the party.

Megan showed up and I noticed that Ramona was a little antsy. A few moments later a car stopped in front of Ramona's house and a couple got out. Ramona kind of nudged me away from the window and said "Oh, those are just my neighbours". I noticed the man getting a guitar out of the trunk and they started walking up the driveway. Ramona said "They are just stopping in to say 'hello'". I thought nothing of the guitar because Ramona's dh is very musical and in fact was away that day working as a guitar tech at a Sass Jordan concert. Ramona's "neighbours" walked in and everyone looked at me expectantly. This man and woman looked a little older than the rest of us. "Do you recognize him?" Ramona asked. It was Mr. L! I could not believe it!! First of all, that he came to our party (Ramona and Megan thought they might as well as because the worst he could do is say no and Megan was able to track him down) and the fact that he looks 15-20 years younger than he really is! It was a wonderful surprise!

Mr. L wanted us to call him by his first name (hard to do after 34 years!). His wife is lovely and it was nice to meet her because we always heard so much about her during our year (she had given birth to their second daughter that year too). They stayed about an hour and we chatted and Mr. L broke out the guitar and we sang some songs. I know it sounds really, really corny but let me tell you, I was so touched by Ramona and Megan arranging for Mr. L come to the party. And, what a great man for taking the time out of his day to come. He told us that our year was his favourite year teaching which is really nice considering it was just the second year that he taught. He later became a principal and superintendent and a race-relations liason in the district so perhaps he did not really "teach" that many years. He retired last year and is now working as a consultant.

The whole party was so much fun but that was the highlight of it for me. There were old yearbooks there and we poured through them and talked about who was married to whom, who we had crushes on, we listed the names of people we knew who had died, who we still kept in touch with, etc. The party broke up about 1am when Denise had to go to bed because she had to get up at 5am for work in the morning (she stayed at Ramona's). I drove Megan home because she lives with her dh and son in the house she grew up in.

I did not take any photos so I have had to rely on others' photos.

Grade 5 picture. Megan is on the very left in the first row, I am three to the right from her (my dress was pink and white but looks just white). Ramona third from the right in the second row.

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