Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Andover


At my 10-year high-school reunion, back in '97, Grosse Pointe Blank had just come out. Understandably, I think, I thought "Professional Killer" whenever some vaguely-remembered classmate asked me what I'd been doing since high school. For the 20-year -- wow it hurts to write that, since I was 17 when I graduated and thought I knew just about everything there was to know at the time -- there was no such shared cultural meme to either dull or distract from the inevitable smalltalk sessions.

Still, I wanted to go, and also knew that I had to drag Wendy with me; she wasn't necessarily enthusiastic, but almost always had a good attitude about the whole thing. [ She'd gone to the 15-year, and we weren't even married then; I couldn't let her get out of this one.]

Besides, Andover (or more properly, Phillips Academy) was worth visiting again regardless of who showed up or how the 2 days of the reunion were spent. It's a beautiful campus, matched or exceeded by few high schools or even colleges anywhere else in the country. And it gave us the excuse of hitting Boston first and taking a few days in Newport afterwards.

We lucked out in terms of weather, most of the time. We splurged a bit and rented a Mustang convertible in Boston, then drove north to campus on Friday afternoon. That evening was a large gathering of all the classes (each 5-year-increment was there ('02, '97, '92, '87, '82, '77, '72, etc., back to a few surviving alums from the early part of the 1900s). We were grouped by class for a fairly-bad meal, the split off for individual class gatherings/drinks later. Strangely -- or maybe not -- the people I most-enjoy seeing at these things are those who I usually knew only in passing while actually in school, but with whom I've found I get along a great deal in the intervening years. Still, the inevitable hours of small talk took their toll, and we didn't end up staying especially late.
We woke up Saturday to gray skies and a persistent rain. Since most of the Saturday activities consisted of outdoor gatherings, including a picnic and a class picture, we suddenly had a lot of time to kill. That did give us ample time to attend a presentation at the Addison, our campus art gallery (which also happens to be in the top tier of American-art galleries anywhere). They were having a William Wegman exhibit (Funny/Strange), which was primarily unique because it focused on his work that wasn't Weimeraners, but more interesting to both of us was the tour that the curator gave of the painting-storage facilities below ground level. It was just amazing what they have stashed away, and neither Wendy nor I had ever seen how museums kept their off-display work.

Not much else to tell. We had another class dinner and drink get-together Saturday evening, managed to miss breakfast the next day, and headed down the fortunately-more-dry road towards Newport, Rhode Island.