I graduated from an all girl’s Catholic school in Chicago. Yesterday I attended my 50th reunion, the first one that I have attended. I have lost my high school year book, so I was not able to do any prep to recognize my classmates. Well, let me tell you, the book would have been absolutely no use to me. Out of about 60 women from the class of ’62, only two actually looked like when they were 18. It felt like walking through a forest after a fire and regrowth had taken place. Fortunately, we were provided with name tags that had our senior pictures attached. When someone would say, “Hi, Judy, it is so good to see you again,” I’d just look at their name tag and knew who they were, assuming I knew them back then.
There was a program at the beginning of the luncheon. A woman was presented with an award named after a nun that I don’t remember. She talked about her love for the high school and did some reminiscing. She praised the nuns up and down for all that they taught us about respecting ourselves and others. She reminded us that we were taught to serve others and mentioned clothing collection which I don’t remember and outreach to the poor, which I don’t remember. I do recall going to teach religion one day to some Mexican children in Chinatown. We could not speak Spanish, they could not speak English and neither sould speak Chinese. She talked about a Christmas ritual when the student assembly sang “Panis Angelicus” in three parts and put these little pieces of paper in a bowl to burn with promises to God. I vaguely remember the ritual, especially the singing. “Panis” is probably one of the most beautiful Latin hymns in the history of the Church and singing it in parts is deeply moving. As for the promises, I don’t remember any promises I might have made. I do know, however, that there is such a long line of broken promises that I made to God that I’ve stopped making them. She also reminded us that we went to confession every week. Now that I really don’t remember.
The best thing said at the table was by a woman sharing the work her children did. She said that her daughter is a veteranarian, in fact, she is a chicken veteranarian. More specifically, she said, she is a chicken gynochologist. “She works with layers, not fryers.”
I brought family pictures with me but noticed that noone else was sharing pictures. I mentioned it to the woman sitting next to me. She said, “That was last night at the pizza party.” I had missed that event because I was visiting family. She didn’t ask to see the pictures in my hand.
This same woman, who lives in the country as we do, said tht she likes to “live where buzzards can go.” I was startled by this idea. “Buzzards eat dead stuff.” “So there is no dead stuff around,” she said.
A Japanese woman came up to me. She introduced herself and told me that when were were seniors I loaned her a white dress to wear to a special school event. I do not remember doing this, but I remember the dress. After she returned to her table, the woman next to me told me that she is a writer in the process of writing a memior about her family’s experience in the Japanese American Internment Camps. I went to her table. ” hear you are a writer,” I said. She shrugged, “Somewhat.” This is what most writers will do unless they are extensively published. I gave her my blog address and my e-mail address. She gave me a link to an article she wrote and her e-mail. This was the most exciting connect I made.
Our class had a picture taken. I was the only one with long hair hanging down around my shoulders. I don’t know if I looked like Joan Biaz or the Wicked Witch of the North. I’ll see when the picture comes.
I bought a year book. No doubt I will find mine when I get home.