Monday, November 20, 2006

Berkeley High, class of 1976

Okay, this weekend I attended the 30 year reunion of BHS graduates in the year 1976. Technically, I am in the class of 1977, because I was born in 1959 and started Kindergarten in 1964, but I decided to graduate early in '76.

That last year of school was a toughie, because, due to a long teachers' strike, I did not begin fall semester until well into October. I struggled with Algebra 3, quit attending the classroom sessions, but neglected to drop the course formally. Thus, I earned a "D" and pushed out my chances of getting into the University of California.

I WAS more timely in those matters such as getting my graduating picture into the yearbook, though. So, there sits my image in the 1976 tome, as if I'd always belonged to the cool class of Tom Schaaf, Timothy Hutton, Tom Levinson, Sabrina Stemley, Oriane Stender, Mordecai Duckler, and Liz MacDonough. Fooled everyone as usual and showed up at the clubhouse at Golden Gate Fields in time for no-host bar, caloric buffet, and a roomfull of people who needed reading glasses to peruse each others' name tags.

First contact was Margaret Leventhal, who looks the same but appears a good bit less butch than she used to, there in Mr. Panesanko's Advanced Biology class. She's a mom, now, too (got started twenty years later than I did), and she has a nice husband. Next, I ran into Bonnie Sand (that's Doctor Sand to you and me) and she linked me over to her ever-best-friend, Leslie Ross. Holy cow, Leslie went to Cooper Union! And she's working at Gulassa & Co in Seattle! Small world! Avram Siegal was there, too (the guy with the banjo), and he's managed to do the amazing: make money as a musician! Thanks for the glass of wine, Avram.

Utterly incredible to see John Stenmark, who seemed merely tall (not gigantic, as he appeared in high school). He's been living 20 years in Barcelona, of all places.

Renata Dowdakin said hello, but just to tell me that her brother wound up at the American Academy in Rome, at the time under my dad's directorship. She was one of at least a dozen women there who were remarkably well-preserved, fit, and beautiful. Winning the handsomest guy award was Don Teeter, trumpeter with the venerable BHS jazz band. Kind of fun to see one stoner guy who will go unnamed; he's a total "suit" now, strutting in with young eye candy on his arm. High tech jobs topped the career tally, including the principal's uber jock son, Eric Parker. I guess he lived in Singapore for a while, around the time I was in Honkers.

I missed the raucous display of dances, but I couldn't miss hearing "Don't Rock the Boat" and other disco disasters being broadcast at 100 dB. I think everyone was hoarse the next day, for we all had to shout to be heard. Finished up at midnight, chuckled all the way home. Sorry that quite a number of cool kids did not show up, but I can see that the $80 ticket price was an automatic filter.

In all, a fun reunion. Thanks especially to Bonnie and Leslie for showing up.


Anonymous said...

I blush, but thanks. I was thinking of posting too, but probably I won't get to it. As I walked alone to my car, I felt as if I'd just woken from a strange but pleasant little dream. One thing suddenly started bothering me, and that was that in the place there was more or less a black inner ring and a white outer ring, and they didnt much mix. Of course that's only a reflection of who we knew and who we didn't. But I don't intend to leave a negative memory. You looked ma-a-ahvelous, blessed with both an outer beauty and an inner peace, something you evidently share with your husband.

Michelle King said...


I was doing a search for a relative and her name came up on your blog: Sabrina Stemley.

Do you still keep in contact with her? If so, Please email me.

Michelle King Thanks!