Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Mighty Mighty Wildcats

In our high school English classes we were given several good rules for creating a “well-constructed” composition. Rule 1: “Define a theme for your writing”.

Wonderful day for passing my way.
Knock and my door and even the score
With your eyes.

Lovely to see you again my friend.
Walk along with me to the next bend.

By John Lodge

“Lovely to See You Again,” was track 1 on the Moody Blues 1969 album, “On the Threshold of a Dream.” And in 1969 the Arundel High School classes of 1970, 1971, and 1972 certainly were on the threshold of their dreams, about to enter that scary, wonderful, awesome, terrible age called adulthood. Thirty-seven years later a cadre of those changelings returned to Landon House showing the smiles and scars of more than 3,000 collective years as “grown-ups”.

OMG, you didn’t come here to read that shit did you??? Soooory!!! But Ms. What’s-Her-Name might be proud of my efforts to produce a work of literary worthiness – or maybe not.

What AM I writing about??? Exactly! Rule 2 of composition: “State your main point early in the work.” OK-OK, so what if I have 2 main points? Does this mean my composition is not a good composition?

Teacher: Yes, my little groundhog, you get a D for composition. In fact it’s not worth the paper it’s written on.

Student: But it’s not written on paper.

Teacher: Maybe it should stay that way. What would someone think if it actually got read?

Student: But, I posted it on my blog on the Internet.

Teacher: And, what, if I might ask, is your “block” on the “interneck”?

Oh, sorry reader, my head must have accidentally fallen on the keyboard. LOL. I have two points to make here in this great upchuck of a work, and here they are.

1. Thanks to Lou Ann and Karen (and any and all helpers) who made the 1970, 1971, and 1973 Classes of Arundel Senior High Reunion possible. The ghost tour (we coulda skipped the basement), carriage rides, trivia reminiscences, food and music, and especially the people made it a night to remember.

2. Thanks to all the Arundelites who contributed $155 to Herbie Wheatley’s recovery from a house/garage fire in which he lost everything, including his car repair business, but did not lose the most important thing – his loved ones. See Herbie rock with D’Vibe and Conga sometime. Check out their website, on the Internet (or, interneck).

OK, the suspense is over. I’ve said what I wanted to say. You can stop reading now. Almost… A little more. I’ve got pictures (and more text) below.

It was fabulous to see the turnout at the beautiful Landon House in Frederick, MD on May 19, 2007. The party theme was the Sabers and Roses Ball held at the house just before the Civil War battle of Antietam, but our class reunion was a commemoration of happier times.

The next day the D’Vibe and Conga benefit concert to help Herbie Wheatley was just as terrific. Many friends showed up at Annie’s Paramount Steak House, paying the $10 cover charge (well worth it to hear some top-notch music) that would go to Herbie to help rebuilt his life after a devastating fire that consumed his house and his auto repair business. The rock and roll was non-stop from 2 until 9, with a new band every hour – each musician and all the supporting personnel donating their time and talent to make the benefit possible. At 8 Herbie’s band, D’Vibe and Conga, stormed the stage, and with the help of a cadre of musical friends, stole the show. The event raised over $2000. Herbie said he felt, “Very loved” that day. And he was totally blown away by the generosity of the Arundel High School classes’ donation on his behalf. Herbie didn’t attend Arundel, but his bass guitarist, Keith “Mac” McNamee did. Many contributors, including his Mac’s next-door-neighbor Gary Fritz, mentioned Mac when they gave me contributions to help Herbie. Others had never heard of either Mac or Herbie but sympathized with Herbie’s plight. Herbie was very grateful – that was Wildcat spirit at its best. Below is a photo of me presenting the Arundel High School contribution to Herbie. You can’t see it in the picture but I pinned Gary Fritz’s nametag on Keith’s shirt.

The second photo is of my husband, John enjoying a cold one at the reunion.

Thanks in particular to that sweet guy from the class of 1972 who encouraged me to collect the funds when I was feeling a little shy about approaching people. I’m not so good with names, but I never forget a person with a caring spirit. Bless you.

If you’re still with me, then allow me a paragraph or two (and a few photos) to celebrate the reunion.

As I said, it was a great day and a great evening for catching up with old friends and making new ones – and being reminded of our school daze. Thanks, Mr. Sharkey, for taking the time to come to the reunion and for bringing photos of the high school band. It was a mixed blessing that I wasn’t in them. Who wants to see a 5’ tall sixteen-year-old in a size 40 pseudo military marching band uniform with her teeth chattering against her clarinet reed? At least the pants were long enough to keep me from frostbite. Every time I hear a Sousa march, I still get goose bumps remembering how cold I was. And if I wasn’t in any of the photos at least I could point out where I would have been visible had the picture been taken from a completely different angle. Seriously, as much as I disliked the marching band routines, I did enjoy the concerts. It was great to hear your experiences, Mr. Sharkey, as a new music teacher, sharing an apartment with other new teachers. It’s easy to for us students to forget that you had your own ups and downs as a young man learning his new profession.

Thanks to all the Arundelites for coming out to share the memories, wistful, funny, sad and happy as they were.

Sing it out clear and strong,

We are the Wildcats, the mighty, mighty Wildcats.
Everywhere we go, people want to know, so we tell them who we are.

The mighty mighty Wildcats of Arundel Senior High School. Best wishes to all those Wildcats who did and did not make the reunion, and love and prayers to those who could not because they are no longer with us. D’Vibe and Conga, stay strong. You are indeed very much loved, Herbie.

Lovely to see you again my friend.
Walk along with me to the next bend.

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