Years ago, when my senses were still intact, I had the honor of being the mistress of ceremonies for one of South Side High School’s reunions of the Class of 1954. It was probably our 10th because I could still remember our school song and everyone’s name; plus the stomach of the star basketball player didn’t hang over his belt yet.
One of my duties that night was to recognize and reward former classmates for certain dubious achievements since graduation. Some of the scintillating awards that evening:
All right now, who has traveled the farthest to attend tonight? (I won that award since I had come from Colorado. Looking back on that, it was kind of tacky of me.)
Who has the most children? (In those days, a Catholic was a shoo- in for this “award.” Sure enough, Mary Murphy, who had later graduated from Immaculate Conception Girls’ School, shouted out, “Ten!” and then, to thunderous applause and eight months pregnant, Mary waddled up and took home two free movie passes.)
Has anyone had twins? (One of the gals from my homeroom won that one, and she looked surprisingly perky despite the confusion we all knew was probably occurring at her home every morning. She was probably in shock.)
How many are attending their first reunion? (Quite a few hands shot up at that.)
Well, you get the drift. But I’ve been thinking lately, what if I’m asked to emcee again? Our 60th (good grief) is fast approaching, so these are the awards I’ve been considering:
How many of you have had a hip replaced? Stand if you can.
Any of you have new knees? Your right one? Your left one? Raise your canes!
Any of you still have grown children living at home? (I anticipate a sympathetic clucking of tongues filling the air.)
Who has the most grandchildren? Shout it out! (I can hear it now: Seven! Ten! Four! Thirty-three! A collective gasp is heard. All heads turn to the shouter, and sure enough, there is Mary Murphy again. Thirty- three. She wins hands down and sprints to the dais as her husband slugs down another beer. Why does she look so good?)
How many of you have had a facelift? (All eyes turn to Ruth Smith who, back then, was the only one in our class with pierced ears and a tattoo. She looks suspiciously wonderful with bloated lips, no crow’s feet, and when she smiles, her skin cracks.)
There you have my thoughts on being the mistress of ceremonies at my 60th reunion. If you’re worried that I might insult a few people, don’t worry — we’ll have everyone check their hearing aids at the door.