Last weekend, I attended my five year college reunion. I had signed up for it, having misread the website dates--exchanging what was the first weekend of June for that in July. Because I was quickly approaching a deadline at work, I had originally planned to work through the weekend, and at first, I decided against going all together. However, a turn of events and some available free time changed my mind, and although I missed the initial festivities on Friday, I raced up to Worcester to make it for the evening formal events on Saturday night.
Holy Cross is built on one of Worcester's seven hills, which means everything is on an incline. Because of how physically taxing it is to get from the bottom of the hill to the top of it, the student population at Holy Cross can be reliably tapped by the scientific community for proportional evidence of an obesity gene. The sign at the gate instructed new arrivals to drive to the top of the hill to retrieve their registration information, however, when I got there, I discovered that the operation had moved to another building farther down the hill--quite a walk away. I managed to acquire the information I needed, get to a room on campus I had paid a small sum to use, get dressed into something at least somewhat formal, and make my way down to the dining hall for the dinner.
I will now rate the different parts of the experience on a scale from 1 to 10. 10, of course, being way beyond my wildest dreams and 1 indicating an utterly amazing waste of time and resources.
The Campus: 8
It was always a beautifully landscaped place, and it continues to live up to that standard. New buildings have been added, too, and all in keeping with the original architecture of the school. Of course, that doesn't mean that the dorm we were all staying in had in any way been updated or improved on the interior since about 1975.
The People: 9
I got to see pretty much all of my good friends from school with only a few exceptions, and they were as good company as they had always been. I was particularly happy to see my friend, Pat, with whom I haven't spoken much since graduation.
The Dinner: 3
The quality of the meals served on campus were always a subject of criticism when we were living there. We had hoped that since it was a "formal dinner" that some quality would have been infused into the cuisine. Those hopes were vastly misplaced.
The Prayer: 2
Yes, the college is a Jesuit-run school, so at least one of your classmates is bound to have become a priest since graduation, and who better to ask to say the blessing? Unfortunately, his long-sought-after mastery of the Bible and all its contents rather stood in the way of anything that could be described as "meaningful".
Weight Gain: 5
Although I can speak for my own friends in that there was no dramatic body change of any kind (in fact, everyone looked about the same, frankly), some of your more stick-thin types in days of old had packed on about thirty pounds since graduation. Again, it's all about the uphill terrain.
The Music: 5
"Pandemonium", the hired band, was fairly good with a few misses here and there. They lose points, however, for warming up for two hours while we were trying to consume the meal the college served us with their amplifiers up past the 11 mark. Elizabeth, one of my old roommates, commented that perhaps they were trying to play in a really postmodern fashion.
The Energy Level: 7
I am only gathering this on hersay, but from what I did hear, Friday night was the "go all out" time frame. People were up until 5 in the morning playing beer games in the hallways and out in front of the dorms, and then, suddenly the next day, the participants realized that excessive alcohol consumption at 27 years old isn't quite the same experience the next day as it was at 22 years old. As a result, some of the company were a little drained by the time I got there, and I was only sorry to have missed the more exciting evening. However, they managed to pull it together for the second night in the end.
Drunken Brawling: 8
Props here goes to the class of 1987 who I hear ripped it up huge at the end of the band's performance. Nothing like "unfinished business" twenty years on. I also heard a report from my roommate for the night, Elizabeth, that she had woken up to a fight erupting outside of the window in which the main theme was "you slept with my wife" presumably before the said woman was the wife in the first place.
The Cleaning Crew: 10
Now, I can't speak for what I didn't see, which was the clean up in the dorm after the weekend was over, but I can say that after most of the company had retired to bed at about 7 in the morning, a crew came through and neatened up in front of the dorm where there had been at least 800 empty beer cans, corresponding boxes, and even an emptied keg. By the time most people were up and running, there was no evidence of the ale orgy to be found.
Overall, an exceptional experience and quite a throwback in many ways. I don't think I could have taken it all for more than a weekend--it would have got tiring and dull--but it was good to see everyone, and I hope that it won't be another five years before I see some of them again. I drove home through some miserable weather really glad I had come out there.
Next Reunion's topics: Ugliest children, Mismatched couples, FipCup at 32, and Further downward spirals of weight gain.