and reminisce with dear old friends. Mr. kenju and I attended his 50th reunion at Georgetown University this past weekend. We had not gone to the last reunion five years ago, so seeing all the people after a ten year absence was special.
Our younger daughter agreed to drive us to Arlington and be our chauffeur all weekend. She lived in that area for over ten years, and knows the roads like the back of her hand. I think we were the envy of all out-of-town attendees, to have her at our beck and call.
I met some of his friends when we were first married, and others at the 20th reunion. Over the years, we have stayed in touch with several of them, and the original "terrible six" got together as often as possible, although they are scattered over the whole US. One of the terrible six passed away since the last reunion, so the five of them, and three spouses gathered as often as possible this weekend. One guy is unattached and one is a priest.
We drove up on Wednesday, since our first event was Thursday at 6pm and we didn't want to have to rush that day. The cocktail party was at the Ritz Carlton overlooking the Potomac in Georgetown. I didn't take any photos that first night; there were too many people crammed into a smallish ballroom. Most of them had to peer closely at name tags, since many 70-71 year- old people don't quite look like they did at graduation - or even at the last reunion. Unfortunately, the name tag "stickum" would not stay stuck to our fabrics, and the name tags ended up on the wood floors, stuck down, or on the soles of our shoes. That doesn't make it easy to find someone!
The second night's event took place at The Library of Congress, which I can wholeheartedly recommend as a reception and dinner venue. I will post some photos later, or tomorrow. The building is steeped in history, and much of it reminded me of the Vatican museum, especially the ceilings of the balconies upstairs. It is really a beautiful building, inside and out.
We were first seated in the large room on the first floor, where they presented all 50 year grads with a medallion to signify their Magis status (that's what they call their "golden oldies".)
Mr. kenju has a number of distinguished classmates, one of whom is Paul Pelosi (yes, that Pelosi) and his wife was present on Friday night. I met her ten years ago, just as she was becoming well-known, but we didn't speak this time. Another classmate is a former commissioner of the NFL, Paul Tagliabue, and he and his wife were present also. Talk about a nice, nice man! And his wife is so gracious. There are others who probably deserve mention, but too many to list here. Paul T. was on the basketball team with Mr. Kenju, and they have remained friends over the years.
After the medal ceremonies, every grad got his photo taken with the current president of the university, and then we were sent upstairs to dine. The ambiance could hardly be beaten; it is stately and beautiful, the acoustics upstairs are good, and the catering was really superb! I didn't find out what company did it, but if I lived in DC, VA or MD, I would definitely want to know. The service was impeccable, the meal was divine - and we all agreed on that! (photos later.)
After the dinner, most out-of-towners gathered at their hotels or lounges to talk of old memories and cap off the evening, but mr. kenju was not up to the late-night stuff, so we retired to our hotel room and as he went to bed, I tried to catch up on email and FB.
Lunch times were spent with our oldest friends, at J.Paul's, on M Street, a good place. Coincidentally, there was a food fair in Georgetown on Saturday, and there was a constant stream of humanity (also canines and baby strollers) walking up and down M Street, as there were also a constant stream of bumper to bumper cars clogging the street. It reminded me of NYC at rush hour.
The third night's event was held at The Leavey Esplanade, on the Georgetown campus. The huge tent held large round tables of eight, which filled up quickly. The dinner was really good (although not quite up to the standards of the event at the Library), and the weather and temperature were perfect for an outdoor event. The highlight of the evening for most was the band, called Sound Connection. They were the best I have heard in years! I made it a point to get their business card. Check out the link and see what they do and who hires them! Of the hundred or so who attended that night, at least 50-60 of them were on the dance floor for every dance - and they looked good doing it. Since I had the misfortune to marry a man who hated to dance, I was very impressed at the numbers of guys there who not only did it, but appeared to be enjoying it very much! I only did the conga line....lol. At the end of the evening, we rode in a golf cart to the place where our daughter was picking us up, and the driver, a young black Georgetown student, complimented us. He said, "I have to say how impressed I am that people who graduated 50 years ago are up dancing so much and doing it well. You guys really know how to party!!" He sounded very sincere, so Justin, we thank you for that vote of confidence and hope that you will do as well when you attend your 50th reunion!
This morning, we joined our six friends in their hotel at breakfast; saying one last round of goodbyes. It seems logical that some of them (or us) might not be around for the next reunion, and the thought of that makes us sad. Too much time and distance separates us, and although we attempt to get together between reunions, it isn't always possible, especially now that mr. kenju has limited mobility.
The best advice I can give you - no matter what age you are - is to attend your reunions, strengthen those bonds of friendship as often as possible, since they will be invaluable to you as you age, when your memories are so very important.