Monday, October 11, 2010

The Reunion... Final Chapter

  The day of the reunion finally arrived, and I woke up feeling like hell. My eyes were swollen, I was congested and just did not feel well. Sher said that she would go and get my jacket and pants so that I could rest up and try to feel a bit better.  I spent most of the morning drinking coffee and hoping that this 45th reunion would be at least a little better than the disastrous 37th.
 I told Sher that we would have to be ready to leave by 6 PM in order to get there by the 7PM starting time. Of course, Sher is always fashionably late, so I should have said 5:30. At 6, she was just starting to dry her hair. Not that she was the only one late, I was still charging my cell phone and camera battery, so there was no way we would leave by 6, even if she had been ready. 
 At 6:30, we were on our way. I84 traffic was horrendous. I don't know where the hell everyone was going, but it was like a weekday rush hour. I 684 was much better, and by the time we passed the exit for the Saw Mill, It was clear sailing. Even the Hutch was relatively clear. My GPS counted off the miles in it's Japanese accented voice and mispronounced the streets and the town of Mamaroneck's name, to my amusement. As we approached our destination, the GPS told us to take a left, which we did. Then it said "Arrive at destination in 800 feet......... recalculating. Take left turn...... take left turn..... take right turn.." Now we were headed back out of the first turn it told us to take. "Take left turn, take left turn. Arrive at destination in 800 feet". It had told us to take the wrong turn and then corrected itself. We pulled up to a group of buildings, and there were no lights on and only one other car with a very worried looking couple inside of it. I looked at the sign on the largest building and it read 'Westchester Hebrew Nursery School'...... something told me that this was not the Orienta Beach Club. I pulled alongside the other car and rolled down my window. "Are you looking for the Reunion?" I said. The gentleman driving answered that he was indeed and was now trying to find a number for the Orienta Beach Club. I asked him if his GPS had brought him here, and he again answered yes. That's all I had to hear... I drove out of the lot down another driveway, and saw a fence. On the other side of the fence was a well lit parking lot full of cars, and a sign that said 'Orienta Beach Club.' We followed the fence and found our entrance. Parked the car, and in we went. 
                                         Sheryl Wasserman Zaffino     John A. Zaffino

                       John Maguire  Jimmy Lysaght  Mary Ann Ianuario Maguire  Bobby Segno
                                            John Zaffino     Santa  'Carl Immediato' Carlucci
         Ginnie Curry Marino     Mary Ann Ianaurio Mauire     Sheryl Wasserman Zaffino                                                                                                                                                    To say the place was lively would be an understatement. The first person that we ran into was Santa Carlucci. I knew him as Carl Immediato when I went to school, but how great is it that he has found a calling bringing the wonder of Christmas to children of all ages. Wonderful! We signed in, got our name tags and found a waiter to get some refreshments. I ran into an old friend, Bob Segno, who I immediately recognized. The last time I saw Bob was on a street just outside of the Danang Airbase. He was wearing an MP helmet and asked me where the hell my helmet was. Of all the places in the world for a chance encounter with a childhood friend, Danang    




was the last place you would think of. But I digress. Bob told me that he was with Jimmy Lysaght and John Maguire. I had not seen Jimmy since 1968 or so. The three of us, Bobby, Jimmy, and I, are all former Marines that heard the country's call to arms and heeded it. We found Jimmy, rail thin after all these years, and still looking like the Marine that he once was, unlike myself. I looked like someone the DI's would have immediately designated for the fat body platoon, thanks to my recent swearing off of cigarettes. We hugged and kissed each other. Yes, men of a certain age and generation do this without shame or fear of being called less than masculine. We had been through the war together and separately, after all. We stood there and reminisced for a while, and then started to make our way through the room. There was Betty D'Angelo, over there was Stu Rod and his wife, Don Gerhardt who had worked so tirelessly to make this happen. Some were still recognizable despite the passing years, some not at all. 

 We found Charlie and Donna Borrellli and sat with them at their table. Two ladies already sitting there engaged us in pleasant conversation. One of them said to me "You know me and I know you"... she pulled out a Yearbook picture... still no recognition. Then she showed me another picture "My Car" she said. A tricked out 55 Chevy.... "Ginny Curry!" I said. The other woman had a name tag on 'Pam Dickenson'. I had not seen her since 1962 in Jr. High. ... My friend Kathy Labarbara Daniels walked by. We had been in touch since she saw my name on the classmates list for the reunion. She had sent me an email, and we had been corresponding ever since. Comparing notes on our daughter's both giving birth in April; mine on the first, her's on the thirtieth. She is still an attractive woman even though so many years have passed since we were together in Jr. High.
 The DJ was great. He played  the old songs from the '60s and there was always someone on the dance floor. Don got up and did a  remembrance of Phil DeSimone who had just passed away a couple of weeks ago, and was so looking forward to the reunion. The chorale group to which he had belonged, performed a song in his honor.
 When I came in, they were serving food and I had asked if this was dinner. I was told that it was not, it was cocktail hour, so I chose not to eat because I have already gained way too much weight in the last three month. I figured I would eat when dinner was served. Well, dinner was never served. It was buffet, and I totally missed out. I ended up eating two small cannoli and some fruit later on. Idiot! 
 The night passed much too quickly, and soon it was last dance and time to go. We said our goodbyes and promised to keep in touch. I friended  few of my old friends on facebook, and I am hoping to find more, somewhere along the line. Don said that we would all  meet again at the 50th reunion.  The kudos keep coming in, deservedly, to Don and his committee. This is a daunting task, trying to put this all together and being successful; but, somehow, they did. 
   In the afterglow of the reminiscences and good times, we continue to reconnect and reforge friendships lost in time. It's a wonderful thing, this Internet Age, but in reality, it took good old fashioned hard work by Don and his team to help make the magic happen. I thank them again, because enough cannot be said about their work.
   It was a wonderful night,  and I wish that we could have frozen these moments in time, it just passed much too quickly, as did our youth.

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