Friday, May 01, 2009

J School Reunion

Being back in New York City last weekend was odd, oddly familiar. I almost didn't go, first because reunions are so weird and I didn't want to pay the money ($125 for two days of talks and lunches and such). Being unemployed is a depressing place to be at a social gathering, especially a graduate school reunion. But I allowed my friends to talk me into it and signed up. Then the day before I hurt my back in yoga and really almost couldn't go. I couldn't get off the sofa, where I was lying on ice packs. But with the help of my amazing chiropractor, Megan Hudson, that pain mostly went away the next day.

So there I was, on Metro North, headed into the city, at 8am. It's handy having my mom live 20 minutes away from New Haven. I got to combine a short visit with her and an overnight, and a cheaper ride into the city. And easier, more productive, because I got to read. Ah, how I miss those subway rides! I realized I could get off in Harlem at 125th street, and to stretch my back I walked over to Columbia. Lovely, although I probably trashed Lily's wheelie suitcase. New York City in the spring really can't be beat. Every side street is a joy, all the pear blossoms and magnolias and forsythia and daffodils. Heaven!

Just before I got to Morningside Park I caught a whiff of Dominican food, that wonderful, familiar aroma, and at once Lily was a toddler and Dave and I were eating breafast with Jenna and Curtis and Joan and Tony at Castillos on 7th and Flatbush at the edge of the Slope. Harry and Ben and Lily were racing around after eating some bites of rice and beans, and we were all relaxing over the last of the coffee, maybe glancing at the Sunday Times. Castillos is now a CVS and Joan and Tony live in Montclair. But our family still loves rice and beans, and nobody makes it like Castillos used to.

Morningside Park sure is steep! and I climbed up and through, and got to the J School just in time for the famous Sam Freedman's famous lecture on writing a book proposal. If I turned around and went home after that, it would all have been worth it. Feel free to email me and I'll send you my notes. He's writing his seventh book, many award-winning, and his former book seminar students have published more than 50 books, also acclaimed, in 15 years. It's the reason many people go to reunion. The rest is gravy.

Good gravy, though. I loved seeing my friends, but just as important, I loved remeeting people I hadn't known, some I might have, in my callow youth (is that redundant?) once dismissed for some stupid, petty reason. At every event, the lectures, the lunches, the Saturday night party at a classmate's apartment, the door would open and I would see someone else to embrace and chat up. These guys are all really nice folks doing really interesting things. For myself, I was also able to help out a bit, to get down time, to walk around and sit on a bench in Central Park, to set my own limits, not to get overwhelmed. Makes a difference.

In addition, I got to see my oldest friend, Blair, from high school, and we spent hours and hours catching up. I realized with a doh! and a forehead slap that it's ridiculously easy to get to New York City, I can easily go down for a night, see Blair, crash on her guest mattress, go for a long walk in Central Park (wonderful! wonderful! the flowers! the warmth! the resevoir, the masses of people! Oh, New York City! Joy!) and make it home in time for dinner with Dave and Lily. What's not to like?

Can't wait for the 25th. And my 30th high school reunion is in June. You bet I'm going.


  1. Castillos is a Duane Reade, not so bad.

  2. that's right, it's a Duane Reade. No, that's not quite so bad. Still, I miss Castillos.


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