Sunday, June 5, 2011

"Did I go to that High School?"

Reunions are murder. I go there and mistake everybody’s kid for them. I did that at the church youth club’s reunion. I walk in and say hello to the first person I see and call her Cookie and ask how she has been to be told that her mother is Cookie.

It gets worse at our High School reunion, I go, but do not really remember going there as a kid. It is the fiftieth reunion and my attendance at the school is vague. There is a nametag with my high school yearbook photo, so I guess I went there. Two of my good and pretty much only friends from high school insist I went there. They have photos of me and my yearbook picture pretty much proves it.

My memory seems to be in conflict with the facts.

So many American movies celebrate high school. The athletes who remember their glory days, the prom, the glee club and all that stuff is missing from my memory.

I go to the reunion…a bunch of old looking people, some though have their youth showing through and I recognize a few. More proof that I really went there.

I do remember the test to get in; it was harder to get into than Pratt, which supposedly has an exceptionally hard entrance exam. This school that I vaguely remember is SIA the High School of Industrial Art.

Forcing myself, some stuff does come back. A girl I was interested in, way back then, is now a Great-grandmother,
God how does this happen? OK I know how it happens; I mean how does it happen, a great-grandmother.

The school was divided in two buildings, one on 51st street between Lexington and Park; the main building was in the 70s off Third Ave…this was a very urban school. We didn’t have any sort of campus, no gym, no stadium…nothing like the suburban schools, although we did have the city.

In spite of vast gaps in my memory I do remember the gym teacher, he was called the gym teacher but he taught social dancing, mambo and rumba especially (we were a very ethnic school) and also a bit of calisthenics.

I told you we were a very urban school, but in a great neighborhood.

The gym teacher’s name was William Weintraub, I found out he had a square dance band and used the name “Wild Bill Wayne.”

This was great, I was the head of the church youth, the THY, and we were throwing a square dance. I gave the job to the gym teacher - William “Wild Bill Wayne” Weintraub. He guaranteed me an A in gym, first and only time I got an A in gym.

I had some other proof that I went to that school. Throughout the reunion people would come up to me and say “You still drawing horses Greg?”
I still am.

I really went to that school, the most accurate proof was that the great-grandmother that I used to have the hots for, still ignored me.

I was back in high school.


  1. Ha, Ha,Greg, you don't remember going there because you probably used to cut class often...
    or most likely you were bored....
    I remember that high school reunion very well. Albert Simon did a wonderful job organizing everyone through e-mails, So many worked very hard to create a memorable event. Amazing really... we had to go, several of us have remained good friends through the years and even though I am not a former SIA graduate, our friends are. It was both odd and sweet for me a wife of an alumni, the outsider to witness reunions between those who had been friends and lost touch over time or were living out of NY and observe simply the curiosity to know about the lives of those not seen in 50 years. Of course the saddest was in finally locating an ex-alumni only to find that he had died. Still lots of successful people and if not in wealth, then in life experiences showed up.
    I busied myself by taking some wonderful photographs and observing the occasional flirts and giggles of OMG it is you, but your bald or, I'd have recognized you anywhere. In truth, It was a good thing everyone had a youthful student photograph pasted to their chest cause if it was me, I wouldn't have recognized a soul!

  2. A little gem of a story. How well it describes a 50 year reunion.

    Amazing what time will do yo our memories and yet how quickly they begin to rush back.

    Well done, Grego, well done.