Around midnight, after the reunion proper ended and the flowers had been taken to their cars, a group of us headed to a bar. There were perhaps as many as twenty there when I arrived. We hung out there a while longer. Just as I was settling in there, the lights came up. For the second night in a row, I had closed down a bar.
To the remaining die-hards, I recommended that we go drink a bottle of champagne on the playground at our old elementary school. There were six of us remaining, five of us had been to Crestline; we allowed the sixth as an honorary member of our Crestline Club. Having her established gender parity, and besides, she was cute.
As good an idea as hanging out on the playground was, we were, after all, in our late forties. We decided instead to go to someone’s house who lived near the school. A caravan was formed.
En route, it occurred to me that the last time I had been with these people in one room was late in elementary school. When we hit junior high, our little cliques grew further apart, diluted by four elementary schools combined into a big amalgam (of rich white people). This night somehow felt like going to one of those first boy-girl parties, maybe one where the parents were out of town. Being put in that frame of mind, and given that this late-night group was (somewhat predictably) all single, it seemed to me that we should play adolescent games like Twister or Spin the Bottle.
At our destination, I disembarked, grabbing a bottle of sparkling wine out of the fridge. Inside the house, after a brief tour, we found glasses and settled in to the living room.
We had a lovely evening, with conversations switching from the whole group to smaller subsets and back again. At some point I returned to Walden for a second bottle of bubbly. We reminisced about our elementary school days. I was pleased to learn that everyone hated Ms. Douglas, our science teacher, as much as I had. We talked about various characters of our youth, like the bully who had picked on several of us and had some years later, as legend had it, set fire to the school library. We remembered taking ballroom dancing, the highlight of which was the sprint to Pascuale’s pizza while wearing our coats, ties, and party dresses.
We agreed that re-connecting with our childhood friends was the most satisfying part of the reunion and talked of having a reunion for just our elementary school.
I did once give an empty champagne bottle a spin on the coffee table, but it was stopped before it was allowed to come to a stop. As our tongues got tired, we checked the clock and saw that it was after four. . . No. Really. Six people, pushing fifty, all stayed up well past 4AM. As the clock struck five, the reunion was over.