Before we rejoin my Mom and Dad, my Grandmother, Aunt Gersh, Mary Lou, Ted, Me & Mick we take a brief side trip to Wenonah in the year 2008. It is fifty years since I moved here with my family and as with most years I made my way to Mantua Ave for the parade at 8:45. Well, actually, I got up at 5:12, showered, threw my shit in the trunk and drove to Wenonah at 5:50 to arrive at 7:50 for the parade at 8:45. It was raining a bit but I was smart and even though I was stupid and left my umbrella I went to CVS and bought one. So I spent a few minutes walking the streets of Wenonah, past my old house, my grandmother's house, the Fleming's house, the Condell's, the homes of Sharon Hoffman and Kathy Collinge, Robby Cook's house and then up to the park. I spent a few minutes in the park reading the names on the memorials to those who served their country.
Not so many in WWI but around 34 young men in WWII and then those in Korea and Vietnam. The WWII memorial is hard to look at. So many men on there were the fathers of my friends. There are stories that were common across America but up close it takes you back a bit.
Then I called Barb Conway and went to wait at her house for her husband Charlie (a fireman) to call and tell us whether the parade was on or not. On it was...so we were off. Off to the best 4th ever! Everyone was there Chris and Steph DeHart, Terry and Arlene Fleming, Dottie Chattin, Suzy Parker, my brother Ted, Ron Fay, you know, if I listed all their names that's all this post would be. The Bonsal Blues and the Hobo Band faced off in front of O'Connor's! I spent a good half hour talking shit with Victor Anderson about the Buddha and our wild acid trip of summer 1971.
Jim Maddox and I spent a great deal of time talking with Carey DeGeer about blogs and writing. Beer flowed. Fortunately there's a Porto-Potty at the O'Connor's!
Then on to the Firehouse. Bought my mug, got my three tickets, and there was the whole rest of the Wenonah universe!
Three wonderful things happened there. The first was that several people who I didn't know, or barely knew came up to me and said how much they liked the blog. Sweet. One wonderful woman even asked after Johanna! Very sweet!
The second was I found out I was on the History Channel! I'd thought I got left on the cutting room floor. Now my ego is the size of Chicago!
The third was I found out that Judy Kiernan had died. Now this might not seem wonderful news but in fact it was. Judy was a much picked on woman from my class in school. She was large, slow, and socially awkward. We smart guys loved making jokes about her. We were assholes.
Anyway Judy's ambition in the yearbook was to be happy in the convent. I remember going home one college vacation and reading this while I mega high on acid. It was the saddest thing I ever read. So to get to the happy part...Judy died in the convent. One hopes she was happy.
We thought we were such smart kids. Fools. This woman who we all humiliated had more depth and courage than any of us. Tonight at the reunion I'll lift a glass in her memory...and in memory of all those who seem broken or lost. They redeem this world.
So, enough mush! After the firehouse we repaired to the Telford for food and the party just kept growing...Jim Combs and his wife, Charlie from the firehouse, Suzy, her brother Billy, Terry, Arlene, Chris, Steph all of us talking and talking and talking. It augers well for tonight.
After the Telford I went to my niece's. She was having a keg party. No one, well one guy with his 20 yr old girlfriend, was even close to my age. They were heedless and happy and smoking and drinking and it was like being in Wenonah in 1971 all hopped up on our energy and power! Beautiful.
Then tired from standing I went back to Mick's and fell asleep at 7:30pm. Old man Wiler. Ha ha!
Tomorrow I'll give you the straight dope on our reunion. Oh, and for Terry and Suzy: Lundquist you chicken, get on a plane and get your ass out here!