Grapes Makin’ Waves

21 07 2013
(Click To Enlarge)

(Click To Enlarge)

“The vine bears three kinds of grapes: the first of pleasure, the second of intoxication, the third of disgust.” – Diogenes

In a few days I will be travelling to North Wildwood, NJ for what has become an annual pilgrimage.  My high school holds a fundraiser at the shore, inviting close to fifty years worth of graduates to gather for a big party.  It’s a hot time, packed with alumni and former teachers reconnecting.  The motto of our school is In Vite Mane, Latin for “Remain On The Vine”.  It fits… the idea is that everyone who has ever been a part of the school is connected, like grapes on a vine.

A lot of these grapes go to every reunion, planning their vacations so they can attend.  But each year I see someone new, someone I haven’t seen for many years.  This will be my fourth shore reunion, and it’s always a great night.  It is THE summer event.

Old friendships are a funny thing.  That common ground we walked over thirty years ago is warm and familiar.  And even though that vine of life separated us at some point, we are basically the same people.  If you were fun and friendly then, you still are now.  And if you were an asshole then, well… “So good to see you!!”

Recent Ryan High School graduates are all still connected through social media, so maybe this event will not be so popular in future years.  Some of us older Raiders and Ragdolls are social-active too, and I think that is part of the reason this gathering has grown so much in recent years.  While interest and attendance may have peaked, I hope to see this event continue to grow and remain vital.  Nothing beats seeing that person, talking face to face, and giving hugs.  Yes, I’m a hugger… prepare thyself.

The closest friendships I have today were cemented in that very town of Wildwood.  That rite of passage known as Senior Week forged my personal vine after graduation in 1978.  While most of us were friendly acquaintances going into that week, it all changed there and then.  Now… after marriages, divorces, kids, and – coming soon – kids getting married… the core group is still together.  Not as often as we’d like, but as often as we can.

Of the people in the above photo from Senior Week ’78 at the Red Garter (that’s me on the bottom left), I know I will see Ness and Laff this weekend.  But I also hope to see Matty, Franny, Novo, Lumpy, Scull, Clifton, Dick, Pomo and the Businessman.  To the OCD people who are counting heads… yes, there is one guy whose name escapes me.  Not bad recall after 35 years, is it?

Flashing forward, these shore reunions have rekindled relationships that I cherish and know will be with me forever.  It must be something about Wildwood.  Too much heat, and too much of Diogenes’ first two kinds of grape… from that vine, I guess.

531501_10151149258424458_1002822868_nLast year it was great to have my son, and fellow Ryan grad, attend his first shore reunion.  I got to meet and hang with a few of his friends and former teachers, and had the great pleasure of introducing him to a few of my Ryan grapes.  As a bonus I was “privileged” to pick up his drink tab for the night… not a pittance!

I’m looking forward to a couple of days filled with great conversation and renewals of friendship.  Plus some beach time that I sorely need!! As most know… I love to laugh, talk, tell stories… and occasionally I do like to have a cocktail.  This weekend will be all of that – times ten!  It will be fun, exhausting and probably very hot.

Hot is fine… nothing grows wilder and sweeter in the heat than grapes, on the vine.




3 responses

23 07 2013

Have fun – wish I could go! (and I love seeing old pics of my dad)

22 07 2013
Bernadette O'Brien

I enjoyed reading your latest blog about Senior Week ’78 in Wildwood! Could that have been the first time we met? At least that’s where I was reintroduced to Rick…or is that who you referred to above as Dick?? Anyway, thanks for the stroll down memory lane, The Red Garter, Class of ’78, etc. Brings a smile to my face 🙂 Enjoy the reunion and reconnecting! Say hello to Ness, Laff and Rick or Dick for me! Take care.

22 07 2013

Thanks, Bern… I don’t think we met that week, but shortly after I’m sure. You should make it there one of these years…

Leave A Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: