View Full Version : On the occasion of my 35th school reunion

06-23-2005, 01:54 PM
I didn't go, but some pictures of the event were made available online and prompted these memories which I decided to share with my old schoolmates in a broadcast e-mail.

I thought some friends here may get a kick out of them, too.

[The Mr. Ashburn I mention, aka 'The A', was headmaster of the school.]

"Hi Guys,

Obviously, I missed the reunion and the get-together at the Golf Club. It sounds like it was a good one.

My youngest child Andy will be leaving for a junior-year-abroad in Australia, so I found I had to choose between taking him to see his grandmother for the weekend (perhaps the last time for them to see one another) or revisiting Brooks.

I saw in the schedule that there was going to be an Alumni Row. I'd had thoughts of signing up for that before our plans changed. How embarrassing did it turn out to be? I remember Chad Brisbane capsizing a single on one of our last days before graduation in '70, and another time Turner and I borrowed some bikes to ride down to the North Andover airport. We rode around on the runways near midnight before the cops chased us off. That memory makes me think that perhaps enough time has passed that I should tell this story on myself (but God knows what's prompting me to do it even now):

Some may recall that my roommate during senior year was the Korean post-grad Sung Tai Kim. I was supposed to have my own single, but Mr. Ashburn called me into his study at the beginning of the year and asked if Sung could room with me and would I help him out, keep an eye on him, etc. The A was a tough man to turn down as many of us found out over the years, so I went along with the idea, hoping the arrangement would only be necessary for a semester. But we ended up rooming together for the whole year and one could say the arrangement benefitted me more in the end, as you'll see. Sung was a bit older than all of us other students, reportedly having served in the Korean Army (sharpshooting and firing squad duty) and raced motorcycles for a Yamaha racing team. He was also proficient at Tai Kwan Do... and definitely fearless. He once stuck a long, thick needle right through his forearm when I expressed doubt that he could do it, as he claimed he could. A proud guy and a good roommate. Nonetheless, when he arrived at school with a brand new, dark green, white-racing-striped, '69 Shelby Mustang GT-500 we were a bit surprised. The A looked at me with a look of chagrin on his countenance, but allowed Sung to keep it in a Maintenance Shed garage as long as he used only with his express permission (rarely granted) and only off campus, and always using the 'employee entrance' (for lack of a better term).

Fast forward through the year to the night before graduation: Someone in our class (Toohey?) organized a boozy get-together at some motel perhaps along Rt. 125 and Sung got totally pissed drunk, after having driven there in "The Green Demon" without permission. It was late, he was a bit belligerent and snappish but I eventually coaxed him back in his car, got him to give me the keys (whew!) and drove him back to school. I had to carry him into our dorm room in the Link. I thought he was going to spew in the passenger seat or down my back as I carried him, but thankfully got him into his upper bunk vomitless.
I was still feeling pretty jazzed, returned to the party in his car and eventually drove to my hometown to see a friend, sneaking into her house at about 2 AM. I lost my virginity that night there in her bed. We woke up a bit later than I planned (as if anything like 'planning' could be said to be on my mind) but she spirited me down a backstairs and out the basement door while her family was having breakfast in the first floor kitchen. I got the distinct impression the deception was one she'd carried out before, perhaps routinely ;>. I crawled through the bushes so they wouldn't see me going out to the street to where I'd parked the car, but heard awhile later that her younger sister saw me from her window seat at the kitchen table, and there was a sisterly staredown over pancakes, complete with kicks under the table.

Meanwhile, I was hightailing it down I-495 back to school. That car could really move, but it sure did suck gas! I could almost SEE the needle on the fuel gauge falling toward "E". But I should have been looking at the speedometer, and I was pulled over for speeding. I didn't have my wallet (it remained on the girls bedside table for a week)... or registration for the car (yikes!). But while frantically searching my pockets for some kind of ID I found my acceptance letter to Harvard which for some reason I'd folded up and put in my back pocket. Thinking on my feet (or in my seat, as it were, in the way that the Dunnell brothers taught us to) I made up a semi-truthful story that I'd just been accepted to college and had been home to see 'my girlfriend' to show her the letter ("See, Officer? Here it is!") and left my wallet by mistake and had to get back for graduation and my family was waiting, and I was worried about running out of gas... blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Amazingly, the cop congratulated me about going off to Harvard, talked about his nephew and the college he was going to attend and let me go without even checking the plate to see who the real owner was. I suspect he was really more interested in looking over the car than pursuing the speeding violation anyway.

As I screeched in the far back entrance to school, Rev Northup was walking along the road to the center of school as was his way. I swerved around him, throwing out a bit of a wave and pulled up in front of the Link. I left the car parked there, and barely had enough time to dress and sprint up the hill to get in line for the graduation ceremony. Afterwards, my parents pressed to hear why I was late, sloppily dressed, hair uncombed, etc., but damn if I was going to tell them. When my mother wanted to give me a hug, I was worried she'd smell the girl on me because I hadn't even had time to shower. I could sure smell it, but perhaps I was too aware of it by half.

So that's how I made it to graduation and smiled for the cameras like everyone else... but I wasn't smiling about getting the diploma that day so much as I was about the night before."

[ 06-23-2005, 03:20 PM: Message edited by: rbgarr ]

06-23-2005, 01:58 PM
I have almost no fond memories of school. You couldn't pay me enough to attend a reunion. OK, so you could pay me enough, but it would be a lot. A sum perhaps similar to Jennifer Willnot's tv movie deal might entice me. Guess I wasn't a very happy student.

Alan D. Hyde
06-23-2005, 02:45 PM
A good story. Thanks.

I had friends with Shelby GT500s and GT250s, and they were FAST cars.

Never had my own, though... :(


06-23-2005, 05:27 PM
In High School, a boring, white-bread, well-behaved friend of mine got behind the wheel of a Shelby and.... he attracted the attention of a policeman with his speed.... he outran the cop on back-country roads through bluff country. Must be something about those cars...

Phillip Allen
06-23-2005, 06:11 PM
How the cat-hair can anyone remember that sort of stuff...so far back in one's history?

06-23-2005, 07:23 PM
I don't drink, live an otherwise pretty uneventful life, and that was a very memorable twelve hours out of it :D

I've forgotten plenty. As a matter of fact, at a wake today I was reminded of things I did and said in my teens that I can't fathom being able to do or think, even.

My wife on the other hand has a mind like a steel trap (as does her mother) and remembers every damn thing, like what I wore the first time we met, what food we ate on our fourth date, how I had one long thumb-nail that made her think I was a guitar player ( I wasn't and just hadn't cut it), what underwear I wore the first time we got nekkid together and other such trivial (to my mind) details. Well... maybe that last one was memorable. She remembers every phone number and teacher she's ever had, f'chrissakes! I can't match that.

[ 06-23-2005, 08:34 PM: Message edited by: rbgarr ]