Sunday, August 05, 2007

"This Bud's For You"

Originally uploaded by bridgeportseasoning.

That was what Mike Lukowski said on stage during his benediction at the graduation ceremony for the Lane Tech class of 1987. Overall, the ceremony itself was one of those memorable occasions, not just because we were graduating, but for everything that went wrong during the ceremony. There was a threat of rain all day, and some of us thought there would be a chance the ceremony would be switched to the auditorium.

But it wasn't, and when the lightning started striking the WGN-TV parking lot about an hour into the ceremony, the students headed for the cafeteria, where we turned in our rain-soaked gowns for diplomas. My family, disgusted not only with the weather, but the behavior of the class (we were also tossing beach balls around and generally acting like, well, teenagers), left me to my own devices to get home. When I did, my Auntie Ann let me have it.

"Your cousin Danny - my SON - graduated from summer school and his graduation ceremony wasn't the farce yours was. 'Best and brightest', my eye!" She stated matter-of-fact. I replied, "Yeah, but I graduated on-time, with my class." Then I changed clothes and headed out to meet up with my friends at Ed Debevic's. I don't remember much of that evening, except that I think I wound up sharing a cab back to the Northwest side with Ralph Bonatz.

Last week, I received a package in the mail from the organizers of the Class of '87 20th Anniversary party, and it just made me feel old. Older than waking up with a screaming back; or looking in the mirror and wondering where the past ten years went, or the knowledge that I'm of an age where going out until all hours on a Saturday night is no longer a compulsory exercise. This time it's at a Holiday Inn in Skokie, and I don't see a re-hash of out 10th anniversary reunion. Back then, I was amused and genuinely surprised at how quick we all fell back to our regular cliques from high school. At the same time, fellow graduates I got to know after graduation were instrumental in bridging the gap between those cliques at the ceremony. Some of us - I include myself among that number - were still stupid enough to think that we had the world by the balls, and were living in some protracted form of adolescence.

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