Today in My History
2000:You've got MAIL
2001: Honk, If You're an Idiot
2002: The Unappreciated Wit
2003: She Who Hesitates is Sometimes Saved
2004: Sounds Artsy Fartsy to Me
2005: Killing the Dog
2006: I Know the Secret
2007: Free at Last
2008: Amtrack and Other Frustrations
2009: A Couple of Back Packs
Books Read in 2010
"The School of Essential Ingredients"
Recipes for Cousins Day Drinks
(updated 3/17/10) And Then I Ate
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BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
6 June 2010
Apparently old injustices are never forgotten! The very first thing one of the very first women to arrive at the 50th reunion of the St. Vincent High School graduating class of 1960 said to me was to remind me that our yearbooks had arrived late and so she never got her book signed by all of her classmates. She figured she'd remedy that situation by bringing the book to the reunion and having us sign there. One other person had done that too. I've lived with the guilt of that for 50 years and here I was at the start of this event, reminded of it right away!
I signed the book, "Better late than never. Sorry your book was late!"
See, the book was late in arriving because I, as the editor, was terrible at getting anybody to help me. My friend Anne (who did not attend the reunion) and I put it out almost single-handedly, missed most of the print deadlines, and thus it could not be delivered before graduation.
I will never forget that awful day when the printer gave me the bad news over the phone. I still remember that lonely walk back to class, knowing that everyone was going to hate me, and hearing Sister Zoe, our homeroom teacher bawling the class out for their lack of help on the book and telling them that nobody was to give me a hard time about it because they had brought the situation upon themselves.
Sister Zoe, who, it seemed, made it a point to give every single person in her class a hard time during the course of our year in her homeroom, had never been so kind to me and I always actually get very emotional when I remember how I felt on that fateful day.
And nobody did give me a hard time about it. Until yesterday, that is! When the books finally arrived, my friends, Anne, Joyce, Marge and I think Toni all had a great time delivering each book to every senior in the class (not a huge task, as there were only 60 of us). That was when I learned my away around, not just my own neighborhood in San Francisco, but all the other neighborhoods too,.
But yesterday, after 50 years, at least two of the graduating class of 1960 had a chance to get their books signed.
What a wonderful day it was! This was the event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the class of 1960 from both St. Vincent High School (all girls) and Sacred Heart High School (all boys).
I arrived at the school early. I have no emotional ties to this building, since the school we attended was long ago demolished. Not even the name survived.
It used to be St. Vincent High School, then Cathedral High School (since it was attached to the Cathedral which was built on the site where the original school stood). And then when it merged with the boys' school, it became "Cathedral-Sacred Heart." So the buildings are unfamiliar and the tuition today is definitely unfamiliar--I learned that in our day it was $150 a year, and is now $15,000 a year. A Catholic school education doesn't come cheap these days!
People began arriving. Eleven in all, out of a class of 60. At least two people were unable to come because of health problems and one had a family emergency at the last minute. But those who came thoroughly enjoyed the day. Rose deLuna had flown in from Texas to be there and it was great to see her.
Of course I had to answer, more than once, the question I hate most of all: "How many children do you have?" My answer is always "we had five," and hope that nobody picks up on the past tense. This was not the occasion to get into the deaths of David and Paul. I usually deflect follow-up questions with "how about you?" or "How many children do you have?"
The most special part of the day was the presence of Sister Louise, our homeroom teacher, who is one of, I think, only two of the sisters who taught us who are still alive. The other, Sister Mary William, is ill and not able to travel.
Sister Louise told me that she had come because I had convinced her to, and I am happy to hear that! She was always one of my favorite teachers, and had been a good friend to Sister Anne, who was my lifelong friend, and after whom Jeri (Jerilyn Anne) is named.
There was a Mass to start things off. I can't remember the last Mass I attended. It was undoubtedly a funeral a few years ago. As one of the planners of the event (though my participation was definitely minimal), I was invited to participate in a part of the Mass, though given my feelings about the Church (which will probably be a shock for my former classmates to read here), I declined. I debated about taking communion, but then decided that my anger is at the institution of the Catholic Church, not at God and that if my taking communion angered Him, he could smite me. He didn't. He's a loving God after all.
During the course of the Mass, we were given "gold diplomas" and a pin that showed we are now part of the "Gold Club," which entitles us to attend a reunion luncheon each year. We also were given a slide show of memories of our class.
Then there were group photos taken by the professional photographer hired for the event (which will eventually be visible on the schools web site). I handed my camera to the friend of one of my classmates and she took some photos for me.
There was a no host bar...they make money on that for someone like me who doesn't drink. I had half a glass of wine and lots of bottled water!...and a chance to visit and check out the "memories" table.
There was a huge lunch, following which memories were offered by both the male graduates (lots and lots and lots of football stories, which we couldn't relate to at all, along with a singing of their school song, which we didn't know), and then memories by two women in our class. Dr. Rose Lewis was asked to talk about her own history, and I learned something I didn't know before. I knew she had retired as a plastic surgeon, but I didn't realize she was the very first African American woman in the United States to be trained as a plastic surgeon.
Rabbi Ruby Buffin read memories of the class of 1960, written by Sonia Gutierrez, who was unable to attend.
And when it was all over, nothing left to do but say our goodbyes.
Rose (Lewis) and I decided that we really need to continue the reminiscing and perhaps have some sort of social event that might be attended by those who came yesterday and those who weren't able to attend. She also pointed out the remarkable volunteer things our classmates have been involved in over the years and felt we needed to record such things. I am trying to figure out how to gather that sort of information...and what to do with it if I am successful!
Basically I loved seeing these women again, remembering our years together in school, and seeing what wonderful women they have become.
All of the photos I took are available on Flickr, and the Video can be seen by clicking on the link at the left, under "Video of the Day."
PHOTO OF THE DAY
The full group