Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wobbly Axis Steadied At Reunion

"Overwhelmed" best defines last weekend. While the earth spins off its axis, I bravely cruised up the Sunset Strip to West Hollywood, entered a fantasy hotel (The Sunset Tower) and kick-started 48-hours of my own wobbly axis rotation.

I walked into a world where I was the 17-year-old waif, Char Haley. These people never met Char Munds and later Charmaine Coimbra.

So began a weekend of perspectives, renewals, and confessions of long-ago buddies and friends from Alemany High School's Class of 1966. Twenty-three girls sat in the warm sun at The Terrace Restaurant in the Sunset Tower Hotel, where chef daughter, Dakota and her staff showed us hospitality and fabulous food. From Alaska, Tennessee, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico and all points south and north in California, the changes of age were visible, but the commonality remained the same. Amazing.

About midway through my senior year I mentally and emotionally left Alemany. There were new "outside" people in my life. Alemany--the establishment--began to represent a culmination of personal strife and frustration. But that never discounted my fellow classmates. I had some of the best friends ever. It was simply a structural representation of what I sought to escape.

Anyway, the reunion odyssey continued Saturday night. About 150 students showed. Entering a room stuffed with people I should instantly know zapped the air from my lungs. I wasn't the only victim of the whoa-syndrome. Uttered words around me were like a haiku: anticipation, emotional, first time, remember, forgot, and who. But quickly, hugs, kisses, and laughter changed the early haiku's tone. Groups moved like ocean tides and suddenly we may as well been back on the high school quad in those maroon and grey uniforms, but with much more wisdom, compassion and life experience.

Forty years ago I escaped into my autobiography with a preface I never thought would bring me back, or held relevance. Life has slapped me silly, made me hit the floor laughing, brought me such pain and gladness that I'm stunned at my own sobriety.

Still, I fear the world may spin off its axis. But for the discovered camaraderie of a this reunion, my wavering axis found its starting point and has stabilized.

1 comment:

DPM said...

Dear Charmaine, Mother Blogger Extraordinaire,

What a beautiful essay on our 40th reunion. Thank you. You never cease to amaze me.

Thanks for all your contributions as we prepared for the reunion. Your own blog was the inspiration for the blog we set up for our class.

Love,
Danny McMahon