Archive for the ‘Maplewood/South Orange’Category
An event ten years in the making, here reunited is Columbia High School’s class of 1999.
The event is strange for two reasons: First, I have had the privilege to remain very close with my high school friends. In general, I don’t refer to them as my high school friends, by merely as “my friends”, since I have only a handful of new friends gained in the ten years since. There’s only a few people from college I’m close to, and my grad school chums are scattered across the map. I’ve made a few new pals since working in New York, but generally, these old boys are the ones who stand beside me. And thus I’ve obviously been keeping up with them these many years.
Second, we live in the future. Between Facebook, MySpace, Email, IMs, and Twitter, it’s harder than ever to “lose touch” as it was in years of lore. I know who’s married and who’s single, who has children, who finished college, who visited Japan, who ran a marathon, who got fat, who looks exactly the same. And so seeing them isn’t a great shock. That and we’ve been seeing one another for ten years during those annual mini-reunions during the Thanksgiving holidays.
Still, this was anticipated, and in the end, a fun time was had.
First, to Eddie’s house. Then to Cryan’s. I’ve said that more times than I care to recount.
Today is Thanksgiving, and tomorrow is our ten-year reunion. And while I’m not usually the sappy type to list things for which I am thankful, I have to say that over the last ten years, I have a lot to be thankful for. When added up, the past decade has been an immense time for me — learning, seeing, growing, doing — and it has made me the man I am today. So in spite of my less-than-brilliant life situation (eg, broke, single, unemployed), I still have to give thanks.
In the last ten years, I:
And the rest is just details.
Thanks to everyone who made the last 10 years necessary.
Home for a night to celebrate the 60th anniversary of my mother’s birth. Characters from her past were in affect, including my grandparents, her childhood friends, her college roommate, and family friends of various sorts. A lighthearted night, pleasantness all around.
We’re still at the reception, but stepped out into the sun for a moment of garden hijinks. Charlie, Pete, and I sat posed for a minute, taking advantage of the setting to capture a cheeky moment.
Back inside for a few more photos. Missed eating the actual cake, I’m afraid.
After sweating it out in the summer sun, we shuffled our way into The Manor for cocktail hour, during which all manner of goodies were available to us. Never before have I seen a full carving station during a supposed cocktail hour.
And in we go. Dancing, laughing, snapping photos, giving speeches, catching up, gossiping, pretending to be Michael Jackson (just for a second), and stuffing our faces with some truly excellent food.
The photos tell the story, I suppose. Except they can’t illuminate the sporadic nature of the DJ, who changed songs every 35 seconds and spun such wedding classics as “Baby Got Back” and messed up the names of the wedding party at least 3 times, by my count. So aside from that the day was rather smooth.
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Easy, Charlie, don’t take her arm off …
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Can’t see my feet, ’cause they move so fast …
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Let them eat cake …
Following a five-year romance, my best friend Jay and his love Stephanie have performed the necessary rituals, and paperwork, to become husband and wife. The ceremony was held at The Manor, is West Orange, providing a scenic old-world backdrop for the occasion. Because the whole affair started at 11:00 am, it seemed more of a breakfast party than anything else, with a welcome reception of coffee and danishes before we took our seats.
Luckily, the wedding ceremony itself was short and tidy, removing most of the flowery religious language and all the sitting and standing that sometimes accompanies ancient rites. Considering it was all held in the August midday sun, perhaps that was a good idea. We all nearly melted, but held it together long enough to se them say “I do.”
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“James, you may now kiss your bride.”
Jay being the first of my really close friends to be married, this was the first time I attended a wedding as a peer, free of family, and also the first time I can recall attending a non-Puerto Rican wedding. Turns out I’m a rubbish Catholic, missing all the cues during the ceremony. Once again, the PRs prove themselves the masters of casual, even among other Catholics.
I suffered through a sort of oddness in anticipation. It sounded strange to me to say the words “Jay is getting married” and to hear him use the word Fiancée, but those feelings quickly wore off and the day felt like any other. And I don’t mind getting all dressed up once in a while, it keeps us slobs honest, because otherwise we’d be wearing OR scrubs or knackered old cargo pants from 1997.
Nothing says Independence like an entire pig roasting over hot coals.
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Or maybe it just has to more to do with spending a lovely afternoon with good friends, eating good food, and enjoying the outdoor simpleness of suburban New Jersey. These days, it is much rarer that we assemble at Joaquin’s house, and fittingly we commemorated the 27th anniversary of Joaquin’s birth along with the 233rd anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Red, White, and Blue cake eventually showed itself. As did rice and beans.
So to Messers Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Hancock, Bartlet, et al., here’s to you.
After two years of official and unofficial campaigning, we awake this morning to an America that looks forward to it’s first black President. More than that, we look forward to the change and progress so desperately needed after four years of … well, tyranny, under Bush 43.
I feel as though a huge burden is finally lifted from my shoulders. The weight of the world now falls on Obama, although he’s got a lot of supporters to share the load. With wide-eyed optimism we face the future. The spectre of the past 8 years is all but exorcised. We have a renewed sense of pride.
America is back. And I am, at least for a little while, at peace.
Photos from my voting experience, and the post-announcement celebration at the Cotler house. Charlie was in attendance, as was Johanna and my parents, and many other parents of classmates and other from my +1 generation.