Asbury Park, confessional, High School Reunion, Julie Seyler, Lois DeSocio, OTHS, The Write Side of 50
BY LOIS (ROTHFELD) DESOCIO and JULIE SEYLER
Good to know that middle age has not diminished the verve, and the spunk, that I see as still defining my high school graduating class. Forty years after getting our diplomas, our reunion this past weekend was like us – effusive, diversified, funky, and fun (with attention paid to booze and yummy food).
A one-night affair would not be enough for us. We want a spree. So the first hellos and hugs were exchanged at a night-before party at the Wonder Bar in Asbury. (A former stop on The Circuit – where many of us, and our first cars, drove in circles.)
We were more spruced-up the next day, but felt just at home with an afternoon-into-the-night fest on the grounds of our classmate’s on-the-Navesink River manse:
There were top-notch, elegant foodstuffs from fruit to nuts to chocolate:
And we ended the night true to our 18-year-old selves: scarfing down Windmill hot dogs:
Yes, we might be bending towards 60, but our feet didn’t fail us on the dance floor:
And we embraced our commonality. And our diversity:
A big-hearted thanks to everyone – the intrepid organizers, the magnanimous Manns, and the groovy, far-out, super-duper Spartans. (Who all “look exactly the same!”) Lois
And so it came to pass. After a year, perhaps even longer, of planning, organizing, and strategizing, the reunion committee made it happen. About 110 of the 400-plus graduating class of 1973 gathered at a petite chateau on the banks of the Navesink River on an iffy weather Saturday.
For about two weeks before, one classmate had taken on the duty of providing daily weather updates, the final forecast being there was definitely a chance that rain was going to come down on the festivities. It didn’t matter – we walked into a playlist of reel to reel hits from the 1970s, assiduously compiled by one guy who had asked each of us for a contribution of our favorite song. There were kisses, hugs, laughs and mutual choruses of “You look great!;” “What’s new?;” and (embarrassingly enough), “Who are you?”
We ate, drank and danced, but the absolute highlight was when we enmassed the dance floor to belt out American Pie screaming at the top of our lungs, “Drove the Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry.” The band segued into “We Are Family”, and there we were in choreographic unison, shouting, “I got all my sisters with me.” I couldn’t help but think that in some way we really were all still “family.”
I hadn’t seen most of these people in 20, 30, 40 years, and yet there we were back in high school. There is a level of comfort, familiarity and togetherness that is unique, and I think somewhat special, but perhaps not unusual. After all, we did spend almost every day together for four years, and for some of us even before that, starting out in elementary school and moving on to Dow Avenue where we were tormented into memorizing the words to “The Impossible Dream” for 8th grade graduation.
Then it was over. The band channeled Donna Summer, and played one last dance, and the goodbyes started. Wishes of health and happiness and, “Let’s get together,” and “See you soon.” Then more hugs and kisses. And off we tramped in the rain.
So hats off, and mega kudos to the man with the digs who so graciously opened his home and the reunion committee of the Class of ’73, who threw a party that made it so much fun to go home again! Here’s to seeing everybody in 2023. xoxox, Julie.
Victor Hellwege said:
I knew it! Both of you are rank sentimentalists, just as Capt. Renault had already figured out.Then again,it could just be the start of a beautiful friendship. It was so nice to chat with both of you Saturday evening and I hope you don’t mind if I now think of you as two of my newest old friends. If you are ever in the area, look me up, I’m in the white pages. Fall is write around the corner, and the valley never looks better.Until then, may fate and fortune smile upon you.
Julie Seyler said:
Lois DeSocio said:
Ditto on the ditto, Victor.
Rich Donofrio said:
Well done. I’m not embarassed say the eyes welled up at end of that piece. Our class spawned so much talent. Again..well done, Julie.
Russ Malta said:
It was all just too short. Even though I [by design] spent a considerable portion of the time conversing and catching up with classmates I surely haven’t spoken to in 40 years [to the extent that I uncharacteristically missed out on most of the dancing], there were still a few in that category that I just never got around to speaking with. I console myself with the pleasure that came from having the stimulating conversations that I was able to have. They were a healthy mix of reminiscences and updates on our many diverse experiences since graduation. I might also mention [for those who missed it] that in the run-up to the festivities I posted a link to an article about a study purporting to tout the health benefits of nostalgia. I would add my anecdotal testimony that I feel even healthier this week, following our great reunion, than I did last week. We have an awesome class.