Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Parents, Not Kids, Need Reunions

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Parents, Not Kids, Need Reunions

Article excerpt

Somebody is looking for me. Several people, actually. That was the ominous message I received last week from Classmates.com, an Internet service that helps - for a fee - old classmates get in touch with each other.

Frankly, I don't believe anybody is looking for me. I went to a large public high school in Chicago. I was not the most popular kid in the class, but I had friends, and I am in sporadic touch with a couple of old classmates who are still in Chicago.

So it would not take an Internet service to find me.

But I wasn't the sort of kid that most people would want to find. I didn't stand out. I was not a kid of whom people would later muse: "I wonder how he turned out?"

I was on the school paper, and if people remembered me at all, they'd probably say, "He's probably working on a newspaper."

The paper was called the Titan Torch - we were the Fenger Titans - and I still have the final edition from my senior year. In that edition, we published the results of the election for Best of this and that. Best eyes. Best hair. Best smile. Smartest. Most mysterious. Most Likely to Succeed. And so on and so forth.

I am listed as "Most fun to be with."

Perhaps you are thinking, "If you weren't very popular, how were you selected for an honor like that?"

Actually, I selected myself. What happened was this: A kid named John Seaman won almost everything. Most handsome. Best eyes. Best hair. Most mysterious. Most fun to be with. Most likely to succeed. And so on.

I was in charge of counting the votes, and I thought, "John Seaman wins everything? Is this fair?"

In Chicago, election results are not always taken literally. They are more like guidelines.

When the results were published, Seaman won more categories than anybody else, but he didn't win everything. My friends and I did surprisingly well.

I say surprisingly well because I was not in the A crowd. In a large high school like Fenger, the A crowd was easy to define. Most of the guys were major athletes. Most of the girls were cheerleaders or Titanettes, members of the dancing troupe that performed at football games.

I was a minor athlete. I swam the 400-yard freestyle and was often lapped. Even today, the smell of chlorine calls forth feelings of humiliation. …

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