(The piece below appeared on the op-ed page of The Buffalo News on Friday, Sept 5, 2014. Items #12 and 22 were edited. Below are my original 12 and 22. After the August 2015 reunion, I’ll do another piece for The Buffalo News.)
It has been years since I was in Buffalo. Next summer I will be heading home again. My 50th Bennett High School reunion will take place in August 2015. Here are 25 things about it I would like to share.
I could not wait to get out of high school.
I cannot wait to go back.
The reunion committee formed in 2013. It sometimes meets over Bocce Pizza.
I might want Bocce Pizza to see if it’s as good now as it was back then.
I definitely want roast beef on weck, Anderson’s frozen custard and more than one charcoal-broiled hot dog at Ted’s.
The committee posted a list of missing class members, asking if we could locate them.
One missing person, my high school chemistry lab partner, regularly cut class. In his absence, I struggled with the experiments and the Bunsen burner. I can’t locate him now. I wished I could locate him then.
At our 21st reunion at the downtown Hyatt, my high school crush asked me to dance the first slow one.
I wonder if he will be at the 50th.
And ask me for a slow one.
I went to our 21st reunion with my friend since seventh grade at School 66, who moved to Manhattan in 1968 a year after I did. The sharp crowd saved a seat for her at the dinner. She sat at my table with me. “I’m touched,” I told her. “I know. That’s why I’m here,” she said.
We have been on the phone for 55 years, still go out to lunch and share whatever we order, and have dinner at each other’s houses, mostly hers.
Some things never change.
Others do. The Buffalo stores where I bought clothes – the Sample Shop, L.L. Berger and Hengerer’s – no longer exist. Neither does Studio Arena at Elmwood Avenue and Anderson Place, where I took drama classes.
I know there is a new Studio Arena on Main Street. I know I still can’t act.
I hope to visit my relatives in Kenmore and those in the Delaware Avenue apartment building across from the medical center in which my orthodontist straightened some of my teeth.
I definitely plan to see, even stay with, my relatives in Snyder with the swimming pool.
In the mid-’60s, when my friend since seventh grade moved to Williamsville, I thought I would never see her again. Growing up, I only ventured to Williamsville to go on the rides at Glen Park.
Like the amusement park at Crystal Beach, that no longer exists as it did.
I wonder if people still hang out on Derby Road at Crystal Beach and if french fries with vinegar are still popular.
In 1969, my parents moved to Williamsville. Whenever I visited, I ran into my friends’ parents and my high school classmates at the Sheridan Wegmans
I miss the wide aisles of Wegmans and shopping there with my father who would walk up to strangers and say he forgot his grocery list and then ask, “May I borrow yours?”
I plan to drive through my old North Buffalo neighborhood and see my Hertel Avenue haunts, by Kleinhans Music Hall where my mother took me to hear Van Cliburn and Glenn Gould play piano, and Ellicott Square, where my father worked and I learned to type on his secretary’s manual typewriter.
Mostly I hope to catch up with my classmates and see how we have changed.