If you missed the other Reunion posts, you should consider reading them first (if you are on the home page you can just scroll down, otherwise, you can click these: 1, 2, 3). Synopsis: I went to my reunion. I didn’t think it’d be that fun. It at first seemed that I was right. I ended up talking to people (some of whom claimed to read my blog), being excited to see who people had become, and closing down a bar at 1AM. I thought I would be home by ten. This was not quite what I had expected.
Saturday night was the Big Night. It was billed as “The Club, Dinner and Dancing 7-11pm (cash bar).” Several further communiques explicated that “cash bar” meant that you had to use actual US legal tender, not any other paper or plastic proxies that so many today have come to count on. A subsequent Facebook post enumerated the drink costs (“Soft drinks – $4, Wine/Beer – $7, and Liquor – $9.”), but failed to reiterate the whole “dinner” part. I asked whether dinner was included and assured our hostesses that I would have cash and maybe a flask. A response came soon that said yes to the dinner and no to the flask. It was at this point that I decided the flask was a must.
It turned out that the bar itself took only tickets, purchased from high school students, who exchanged said tickets for cash.
The Club is a private club overlooking Birmingham. To distinguish it from other clubs in Birmingham, people know to pronounce this one THEE Club. I was sure that I had attended some event at “THEE Club” in the past, but was at a loss to remember what it could have been.
In my youth, if someone said that they were going to “the club,” without accenting “the,” which rhymes with “uh,” it meant the Country Club of Birmingham, or just the “country club.” I swam at the country club when I was little, played golf a few times when I was twelve or so, and attended a coming out party or two there in high school after my mom stopped sustaining our membership. It was at the country club that my grandmother made sure that I knew to stand when a woman (she probably would have said “lady”) approached the table. Such pomp and circumstance seemed supremely silly at the time, but when I turned forty, standing when a woman approached my table was a very useful skill.
The event’s Facebook page had included considerable discussion about proper dress. Just like in the ballroom dancing classes I attended with my Crestline classmates in 6th grade, coat and tie were required. Not having a proper sports coat on board Walden down in Florida, I made a special trip to the Brooks Brothers outlet to procure a blue blazer.
Somewhat earlier than I needed to I showered and dressed, including my tie and new blazer. I had to trim the tie; Thor’s kitty had somehow gotten his grubby little paws on it and had shredded the edges. As I had the day before, I had my cousin check that I was appropriately dressed. I suggested that perhaps I should iron my pants, but she said that ironing was superfluous. I think it was just because she didn’t want to find her iron, but I was relieved, as I didn’t want to iron anyway.
After I had a glass of wine with my cousin and husband, I headed out. I had checked the Google. I was pretty sure I knew where the place was, at least until I got there. I passed the turn for the place. Twice. I finally made it up there. I parked in some parking lot. I thought there had been some mention of valet parking, but I do not really like having other people driving Walden anyway.
I parked Walden and walked in. It turned out that I should have looked harder for the valet parking entrance, as it took ten minutes and asking half a dozen people where I was supposed to go.
I finally found my way to the correct room. There I checked that my address was correct on some mailing list. I neglected to mention that I have never actually lived at my current “permanent” address. As I checked my address I was reminded of a story that I had heard the previous night; at the 20th reunion such a list had been given to everyone and one guy had reportedly called every woman on the list at least once a year for most of the intervening decade. His calls were somewhat less than welcome.
I picked up a name tag that had my name and my senior photo, bought a few drink tickets, and headed in to see what the night had to offer.