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The Reunion Committee

I wasn't surprised to hear about the first reunion, but the second was unexpected- and the third was just shy of bizarre.

I've never been interested in the idea of a high school reunion. Sure, there's great amusement to be found watching an ex-jock pull up to the valet in a bright red Ferrari (with a rental company sticker on the bumper) and then try to look cool while unwedging himself (and his gradually acquired gut) from the tiny space between the seat and the steering wheel, and twenty years worth of ill-advised plastic surgery on former cheerleaders can be fun to watch in a horror movie sort of way, but that isn't worth the hundred buck admission. So, when I got the e-mail about the El Camino Class of 1984 twenty year reunion from The Reunion Committee— not even an actual high school reunion committee, but a company that does nothing but set up high school reunions, making money by selling people their own memories— I ignored it. The Jock & Cheerleader Mutual Masturbation Society would have to survive the night without me.

The next email was different. For one thing, it didn't come from some anonymous party-organizer pretending to by my best pal— it came from Dave and Brian, two people I'd actually gone to school with. And they weren't trying to set up a standard high school reunion— or any kind of high school reunion. They had a much weirder idea: get the Welby Way Elementary School Class of 1978 gifted geeks back together. It was a clever idea- most of the '78 Welby kids became '84 El Camino seniors, so anyone in town for the high school reunion would be available. It was only for the gifted geeks, so there would be no awkward "Hey, I used to beat you up" moments. And the elementary reunion was a free picnic! No dressing up, no spending huge bucks for a plate of something that might be some form of chicken— just show up at a Shadow Ranch Park and hang out. It was exactly the type of reunion I'd expect from a bunch of mentally gifted, socially stunted geeks. Still, I wasn't really interested. I wasn't very social in sixth grade (even by geek standards), and the attached list of potential attendees only had four names in the "Will Attend" column.

But there was an interesting name in the "No Contact" column: Katherine Murphy . I hadn't realized that Katherine went to Welby Way— which was pretty boneheaded of me, since she lived about five houses away from the school. I hadn't kept in touch with her since we broke up twenty years before— in fact, I was pretty confident that she hated me— but I knew she was still close to our friend Jenny. I didn't have time to write anything before I went to work, so I decided I'd email Jenny when I got to the computer lab and have her forward the message to Katherine.

I run a computer lab at an elementary school (I've made the transition from gifted geek to computer geek). Normally, when I get to work, I have a little time in the morning to settle in, set up the lab for the first class, and check my email, but it was an exceptionally busy Monday. By the time I had a chance to write to Jenny, I discovered she'd already written to me:

 

From: Jenny Batten
To: Lucas Gattuso

-----Original Message-----
From: Katherine Murphy
To: Jenny Batten
Subject: FW: Welby Way Names List Update

Jenny,
If you are in touch with him, can you forward this to Luke?

 

Apparently, Katherine didn't hate me— at the very least, she could tolerate me enough to send messages to me. I wrote back to Jenny and Katherine— just a short "Thanks for the info, I was about to send it to you, hope everything is cool" note. Katherine responded with a slightly longer email asking if I planned to go to either reunion. I told her I knew I wasn't going to the El Camino one, and wasn't planning on going to the Welby Way one.

We kept writing to each other, every email longer and goofier than the one before. We realized that The Reunion Committee had somehow neglected to create an official website for the class of 1984, so we created one for them— but our site featured facts about an El Camino from an alternate universe: one where our principal, crushed by the knowledge that he would never have a graduating class as magnificent as the Class of '84, retired and became a hog farmer; one where our class song, instead of The Carpenters' syrupy-yet-insipid "We've Only Just Begun" was Devo's "Through Being Cool"; one where our friend Veronica, instead of dropping out and eventually overdosing on sleeping pills, became class president, starred as Rumpleteaser in the Broadway production of Cats, and eventually died battling alligators in Pakistan. Then we went a step further— to help take the pressure off the reunion committee (who would be fighting to cram the bodies of the entire football team into one tiny ballroom at the Universal Sheraton) we planned an alternate reunion: a barbeque for the El Camino drama geeks. That's right— somehow, I had been converted from reunion disdainer to reunion organizer.

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