Now for something completely different, the Saint Laurence School multiple-year class reunion.
I promised to photograph all of my classmates and post them online. Several people who have FaceBook and MySpace pages wanted to add them to their own collections. Be my guest, and feel free to copy these images.
For those who were unaware, Cheri Oteri was not there, despite one of the O'Neil sisters (who shall remain nameless) faking her "sign in" on the sheet in the downstairs cafeteria. Later somebody wrote "NOT" next to her name.
As for my class of 1980, some of your photos came out dark or blurry. Lori Albertus, sorry, you were one of them. Katie Higgins, the one of "just you" came out blurry thanks to Jackie Rush teetering into me at Busty's Tavern at about 1:30 AM (the "after party" party.) Sue Hinchey, your photo looked OK in the viewfinder but something happened when I transferred it to my computer. I'll try again later on. I think I got the rest of you.
Marion DiCroce, how could you possibly stay home? Your sister Michelle made the trip, you should have too!
Anyway, here are the debauched photos, with pulitzer prize-winning captions and commentary.
Patricia Giannantonio, left, and Lisa Tuterice, right. We walked to school together for 8 years. Patricia also has the dubious honor of being the first girl to have ever kissed me, planting one on me in the 3rd grade right in the middle of Ivy Court. Of course, at the time, my friend Brian Purcell told me I was now "contaminated", and he ran away from me like I had the plague.
Patty Lynne, "Tricia" Giannantonio, and Marybeth Crosby. Patty Lynne was the "bad girl cheerleader" that all of the football players drooled over. Marybeth was always quite as could be, as best I could remember, but she was lively and entertaining at the reunion
Ed Trice and Patty Lynne. It had to be over 100 degrees in the lower church with the crowd of hundreds of people in there, and so many people dancing to steam up the place even more. You'd never know it was cold enough to freeze a dog to a fire hydrant outside!
Me and Patricia Cunningham. There's a lot of "Patty's" in our group, and there's another one coming next too. I had to remind Patricia of some things I never forgot in the 4th grade class of Mrs. Mullin. Of course, she pretended not to remember them, but I know she was faking the amnesia.
And yet another Patty, if you can believe it, Patty Strahan and I. We weren't in a lot of classes together but we were probably in 4 homerooms from what we were able to determine as we recalled our former teachers.
Kurt Rechenberg with Patty Strahan and I. You're not seeing red either, that's just the way God made them. I reminded Kurt than in 1979 he bet me $1 that Denver was going to beat Dallas in the Superbowl, and I welched on the bet for about 13 years. I can still remember Kurt saying "You think Dallas will beat the Orange Crush? No way!" I had no idea that was the nickname of the Broncos at the time, all I knew was I wore this Dallas Cowboys jacket and I thought it was cool. Kurt was obviously better informed! When I finally saw him at a bar in the Barclay Square shopping center in 1992, I paid up. Of course, $1 was all the money in the world when you don't have a job and are in the 7th grade. Thankfully, Kurt let me go on the interest.
Even in a crowd of several hundred people, with a random "over the head" shot of the camera, it's almost impossible to avoid the immense Matt Kirlin )with his hand raised). In a later photo you will see scientific proof that Matt has his own gravitational field. In the foreground, a bewildered Billy DePrince looks in the general direction of Peter Quinn.
I did not meet George Williams until 1981 at Bonner High School when he was the coach of the Freshman 8-oared shell and the Novice-8. George was always a very intense coach and most of us thought he inflicted painful practices upon us as some form of retribution. The truth of the matter was we were out of shape, and of course we should have been able to run 5 miles in 30 minutes or better before rowing from the boathouse to the Strawberry Mansion bridge and back 3 times (15 miles) each day, 5 days a week. George is a very nice guy, one of the friendliest people I have ever met, and it was great to see him again. George, we need to get the Helen Williams II for the crew team.
Katie Higgins, Peter Quinn, and Billy DePrince. Don't let that impish grin fool you, Pete Quinn was one of the "tough guys" in the crowd. In fact, it is possible that the Quinn brothers beat up more people by the 8th grade than all the cowboys who've been cracked over the head with whiskey bottles in all of the John Wayne movies ever made. Katie, of course, is the twin of Maureen, who was notably absent. You'll see more of Katie later, in the "Busty's Tavern" after party party. I actually ran into Maureen in a very unlikely location in 1988, aboard the USS Shenandoah when it was docked in Norfolk. I was an electrical engineering contractor for NAVSSES at the time, and all of my workmates laughed when I drew this assignment for one of their weapons elevator overhauls. You see, the Shenandoah was "on course" to become the first all-female ship in the US Navy, and when I went aboard they had about 90% of their crew pretty much established! Not what I expected at all. And for those in the class of 1980 wondering who Billy is, he's the older brother of "Mooch", Jimmy DePrince, who is in our class. Billy had a wicked fastball when he pitched for the Yankees. The HPKAA Yankees, of course.
A group photo taken by Jimmy Kettler after we "fired" Bill Kettler for getting such a nice shot of the mostly-empty table. Front, from left to right: Ed Trice, Thomas Maloney, and Bill "I know how to work a digital camera" Kettler. Second row, left to right: Ann McGillian, Katie Higgins, Kim Clark, and Kathy McGeehan. Kathy was nice enough to set me up with my first St. Laurence girlfriend, Debbie Rankin, way back in the 6th grade. Standing, in back: Joe Manion, Jackie Rush, "Mumpy" from Saint Andrews, Steven Toohey with his eyes closed, and some unknown person sneaking into the photo.
And before he protests his innocence too much, this is the amazing photo taken by the digital photographic genius, Bill Ketler.
Given a chance to redeem himself, Mr. Kettler makes nice work of this one with me, Kathy McGeehan, and Ann McGillian.
With Joe Manion on the left, and Steven Mercanti. Joe later became a track star at Bonner High School, and as far as I can remember, Steve was the first friend I ever made outside of the Ivy Court gang that I grew up with. He sat next to me in Miss Flannigan's first grade class. Back then, he told me his "real name" was "Ephen", and he was really from Mars. He asked me not to divulge his secret, about his name and his origin. I promised I wouldn't, but I am guessing that after 37 years other people have learned this about him already.
This cutie is Kim Clark. Doesn't she have the greatest smile? I don't remember the last time I saw Kim. I don't think I saw her at all in high school or college. She pretty much looks the same, just a lil older, and I bet everyone knew who she was right away.
Hey how did this get here?
The reunion was taking place in two separate rooms, the former "downstairs church" and the cafeteria. You had to climb a vertical horseshoe to get back and forth, up one set of stairs from the lower church (more than ocasionally crowded), then through the vestibule (always crowded), then down the winding staircase designed for the gradeschool munchkins to get into the cafeteria. So as some of us were in transit we missed one another quite a bit. I only ran into Kathy McBride twice all evening, some will say to her good fortune.
This is what would have to be called the "before" picture, with Katie Higgins. This is before anyone had a drink at Busty's Tavern. Right before, in fact.
Since the good Lord knows 5 hours of drinking is not enough, we had to go to Busty's Tavern after the reunion was over. With me here is Margaret Flagherty (left) and Christine Lynch (right). I didn't run into either of them until the reunion was almost over. I was telling Christine that I remembered watching her in penmanship class write with both hands. I had no idea there was a such thing as being ambidextrous back in the 6th grade, and I thought this was some kind of trick. I could hardly hold a pencil in my left hand, and Christine could write with both hands at once. I would give my right arm to be ambidextrous!
Christine Lynch, Katie Higgins, and Margaret Flagherty, at Busty's Tavern.
What a rush! The 3 Rush sisters: Sheila, Flo, and Jackie. Jackie would soon have a new nickname ---- tilt.
Katie Higgins trying to get her point across to Bill Ketler, while Bill looks one part dazed and two parts confused.
One can only wonder what Kurt is talking about as Jackie Rush gets her groove on as sister Sheila tries to turn away from the camera just a moment too late.
A pair of "Retches", Paul Retchenberg with brother Kurt. I think Kurt has spotted me.