Monday, October 17, 2011

A Celebration of Real Things Gone

Sentimentality is always about a lie. Nostalgia is about real things gone. Nobody truly mourns a lie.

So wrote Pete Hamill in his masterpiece Downtown: My Manhattan. Saturday night, Margaret accompanied me to an evening with old friends, which was put together by my high school classmate Emilie Rinaldo Marvosa. Anyone who was there Saturday night bore witness to what a stellar job Em did of organizing an event that was pitch perfect. An even awash in nostalgia. With nary a whiff of sentimentality in the air.

In honor of one of the gentlemen who was enshrined into the W-H Athletic Hall of Fame, Saturday was something of a Texas two-step.

Evan Peterson and the 1977 Undefeated State Champion Football team were enshrined in the Hall of Fame on campus on Saturday afternoon - a ceremony that also saw Greg Casagrande earn this year's Distinguished Alumni Award and retired kindergarten teacher Daphne Willard win the Distinguished Faculty Award. After the festivities on campus wrapped, more than one hundred alumni (including Kara and me), faculty (present and retired) and spouses (including the Missus) headed over to the Plainfield Country Club for the "All 80's Reunion".

The Reunion was Em's brainchild, baby and labor of love. She had help of course and judging by the exhausted smile on her sister Karan's face as the guests poured into PCC at 7:00, Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin had nothing on the Sisters Rinaldo. Not a damn thing.

The Class of '85 was not nearly as well represented at this year's celebration of a decade as it was last year at our 25th class reunion. No matter. Those of us who were there enjoyed ourselves and we count among our number two dynamic women: Em - who gets you to do things you either otherwise do not want to do or things that you simply did not realize you wanted to do until she started working on you and Karen Leach Toomer - who is the President of the school's Alumni Association. In the picture that was taken at night's end of those of us from the Class of '85, they were where they should have been: side by side and front and center.

And as Em, Karan and their organizational dream team can attest, their efforts were assisted by the tireless work of W-H's in-house Alumni Guru Rudy Brandl. I have known Rudy most of my life I think as he started going to W-H with Jill when they were 7th graders. He has been at W-H as the Director of Alumni Affairs and Annual Giving for only three years or so but in the short amount of time he has spent in the gig he has owned it. And his energy is contagious. Five years ago, an event such as the one that took place Saturday night could not have happened. No one would have shown up. Saturday night people came from Texas, Colorado, Florida, California, Maryland, Massachusetts and Arizona. Something made it worth their while to make the trip.

Nostalgia? Perhaps. Whatever the reason, here's to hoping it represented not the final step of a journey started long ago but rather its next step.


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