It was thirty-three years ago that my high school class had its graduation ceremonies. Every year, the debate went on as to where the ceremonies would be held. Outdoors, or indoors?
My class voted for indoors, which was good because June 22nd, 1984 was a very hot day for us.
I remember so much from that day, from the morning all through to when I went to bed. I remember having no idea how I would get to school for rehearsal and being relieved when my friend Anita offered me a ride there and back. I remember my father, may he rest in peace, being upset at how long the ceremonies took. I remember three of my tickets disappearing from my dresser drawer. That was explained when I saw my mother (from whom I was estranged at the time), my grandfather, and my Aunt Jane in the audience.
It remains, to the best of my knowledge, the only time my brother ever went into my bedroom without asking for permission first.
I remember my friend Sherri coming to see me graduate, even though that meant having to stand the whole time at the back of the gymnasium. That meant a lot to me.
I remember asking my guidance counselor, Mr. Defeo, to go into the teacher's lounge and get me a Coke from the machine in the lounge.
Some of my classmates are people I'm still in touch with. Some of them I haven't seen since that night thirty-three years ago. Some are no longer with us, including a friend who was killed by a drunk driver six months after we graduated.
Some of us, like myself, have had several different jobs and kinds of careers. Some, like my friend Jim, knew exactly what they wanted to do and are still at it. Jim always wanted to serve on an aircraft carrier, He's been doing just that all these years.
That summer night so many years ago, I had no idea of the things that would happen to me. Everything was fresh and new and filled with possibilities.