Five Year

The Top Five Strangest Things that Happened at My Five Year High School Reunion

Most of these events happened towards the end of the evening, at which point I was extremely intoxicated. They are being recalled to the best of my ability, but I could easily be leaving things out because I don’t remember and/or embellishing them because it all seemed so much bigger in my mind at the time. If you find any of these stories untrue or are upset by them, you can message me via whatever and I will take down whatever has offended you.

1. A boy I went on a couple dates with during the second semester of my senior year came up to me and apologized. “This is the reason I came here tonight,” he said. “I wanted to say I’m sorry for being so awkward with that whole thing senior year. I really gave it my all, I put too much thought into it. I still think about it sometimes, and I just wanted to tell you in person.” This was a nice boy, a cute boy, a boy who paid for my round trip ticket on the R5 and walked me down South Street, a boy who shared a plate of fries with me at Minella’s after my very last Inkwell and drove me home and pulled into my driveway, a boy who never kissed me. The reason it didn’t work out was because I had my heart set on someone else, which I wished I just told him in 2006 and should have told him that night instead of making him wonder.

2. A girl I’ve known since the second grade told me that she thought I was really cool. We were friends at New Eagle Elementary, but didn’t talk that much throughout the rest of our time as students in the same school. She told me, again, with a glass of wine in her hand, that she thought I was really cool. “I follow everything you do on the Internet!” she said. I was extremely flattered but at the same time did not know what to say. Luckily I had about nine drinks in me and simply thanked her, trying to wave it off. “My parents just moved to your neighborhood,” she said. “No way!” I said. “We should hang out when you’re in the city!” “No,” she declined immediately. “I couldn’t. You’re too cool.” This justified my silly dream to become an Internet personality. I told her to stop it, and that wasn’t true, and we exchanged phone numbers. Her good friend was standing next to her, and I said, “Hey, I remember your first day as the new girl at Valley Forge Middle School. Your locker was next to mine, and you were wearing a tye-dyed t-shirt.” She told me I was the first kid who was genuinely nice to her.

3. A boy who I never spoke to in high school but had an English class or two with at Penn State sought me out almost as soon as I got there. He is responsible for my first broken wine glass (there was another later in the evening). The first thing he asked me was “are you still writing?” Which I answered with a shrug. He told me that I had to, and that the nonfiction piece I wrote about Matt Wanetik that was published in Penn State’s litmag was one of his favorite pieces he read as that year’s nonfiction editor. We talked about having non-writer boyfriends and girlfriends, and agreed that they are important to have for a sense of balance, among other reasons.

4. I’m not sure when I started crying or how long it lasted for, but I started thinking about how badly I wished Matt Wanetik was there. Over Thanksgiving, I had broken out the home videos and watched a few clips from my 14th birthday party. Two of the girls who were at that party, who I don’t keep in touch with anymore but are two of the nicest girls I’ve ever known, came up to me immediately and asked me what was wrong. I told them I was crying about Matt, and asked one if she remembered 5th grade and our imaginary boyfriends and the notes we used to pass back and forth in Mrs. Hewittit’s class and how I hated how “Mrs. Allison Wanetik” sounded but if I really wanted to, I could keep me own last name. She remembered. I found Matt’s best friends and hugged them tightly, cried into their shoulders. They told me Matt wouldn’t want me to cry, he’d want me to be having fun. I drunkenly agreed and I think this is where I broke my second wine glass. The next morning I sent both of them Facebook messages and apologized, hoping I didn’t bring them down.

5. Two friends had slept over. In the morning, we gathered in my bed and passed around the bottle of Advil and giggled for about two hours, recalling the weirdest moments, the highlights, the bizarre interactions. We couldn’t believe who was in law school, who was engaged, who looked better than ever (bravo!). However, we did not know where one of our friends ended up. We called and called, no answer. I wrote on the event wall asking if anyone knew where she was, which had us laughing so hard my abs hurt. We met up with a few more friends for brunch. “Did you see our Missing Friend making out with That Boy by the bar?” one asked. Um, no. “Yeah, they left the Field House together after like, twenty minutes.” We found her safe and sound.


I was wondering where the following people were: Evan Wattles, Michaeleen Colgan, Shirley Pan, Reggie Pierce, Julia Ries, Julie Watson and Brittany Lee, Scott McCallum, Kristin Toler, Wesley Dunkel, and our resident Stoga celebrity, Mark Herzlich, who has yet to respond to any of my tweets.

I was happiest to see: Robyn Liebman, Natalie Zucchino, Asa Curry, Perry Wang, Sarah Edelson, Adam Blitzer, Jen Satzman.

There was one person I saw but could not remember the name of. That person, I later found out, was Greg Nestle. There was also one high school crush confession. The person is now following his dreams as a rapper. I couldn’t stop smiling about any of it.

One more thing. There is someone who has been jokingly stalking me online since 2005-ish. They have followed me from virgostarr to amsterdam_n to hydeparkblvd. We have had one email interaction and the only clue ever given was that they sat behind me in Mr. Smith’s 10th grade American Literature class. This person goes by the name of “The Giraffe” and writes me hilariously weird comments on my blogs from time to time. This is your time to come forward, Giraffe. Who the hell are you?


11 thoughts on “Five Year

  1. I feel like I can visualize our entire 10th grade lit class, except for who sat behind us. Bummer. I remember telling a sub that you had a way with words. And I remember Mr. Smith saying Gilmore Girls was the best written show on television and that was when I decided he was the best ever. And I remember when we did those song presentations (Remy Zero, “Save Me”) Mr. Smith called Lauren Brandli DJ Pound since her initials were Lb and I thought it was the coolest thing ever and I hated my parents for not naming me something more conducive to DJ stardom.

    The end.

    1. Dude, so true about Gilmore Girls. DJ Pound! That’s too good. I did Ben Folds Five, “Kate.” And here’s the thing- I remember exactly who sat behind us in American Lit. Nate Schmieg (sp?) and Tim Tuveson. I never saw Nate after that class and we are not Internet friends in any form. I confronted Tim via Facebook and he denied his identity as the giraffe. Somebody’s fucking with me and I WANNA KNOW WHO.

    2. Oh my god, I completely forgot that was my nickname! Allison, your song was the only one I remember from that class because my sister’s name is Kate. I think I did a White Stripes song….Emma Lord did a Creedence song, I remember that now!

      1. Lauren, I remember seeing you for a second at the reunion but we didn’t chat at all. Next time…

        Our back-to-back Lit/Bio classes were so special, weren’t they?!

  2. I’m sorry I hug-attacked you… except not really.

    The next day, I told my mom I saw you and she was asking where you lived. I told her I didn’t really get any details since I was just showering you with hugs and niceties you the whole time. (She had been particuarly curious because there is a quartet of Penn State girls next door and she thought initially one may be you.. but they’re all like engineers or something ridiculous.) I wish I was of the mind to have a coherent conversation with you.

    Your blog is def going to become one of my go-tos for taking a break from that ol’ day job.

    1. Who doesn’t love to be hug-attacked? That is too funny. I live on 3rd and Catharine and I wasn’t kidding- we should hang out and have coherent conversations. I have you in my phone as ElizBeth…the A must have gotten lost in my glass of wine. Not sure if you got mine, but hit me up via phone or Facebook when you’re in the neighborhood!

  3. I was at the home our fellow Conestoga Alum family, the Greeleys. It was a party, free to attend, with no drinking and a bunch of close friends. There was a moment of debate on which to spend my time at, the Greeleys’ or the reunion, but I inevitably sided with the Greeleys’ as there were far more many people there that I wanted to see and catch up with. I would have liked to see you, Allison, as well as Mario Solomon, James Connors, Zach White, Brandon Winters, and a few others who I can’t think of right now, but the people who opted for the other party have become my new family in the last few years. Living in Brooklyn indefinitely, it’s rare that I see these guys, and it’s never in the same place for a prolonged period of time, so this was too good to pass up.

    We should catch up though. Emails/facebook chats welcomed.

  4. I won’t bother trying to justify how I ended up here. It started with a #stoga Twitter search, but it sounds like you know how these things go. But I can’t resist piping in with a picture that might help your “giraffe” problem. I’ve been going through old school photos for this little art installation I’ve got in the works in my classroom. Perhaps it will help you solve the mystery. It was great to see you at the Milkboy opening and greater still to read your great writing. (Three “greats.”) Hope you’re doing well. Does this help?

    1. Mr. Smith, congrats. You’ve posted the 100th comment on this thing! I’m glad you enjoyed the read- and thanks for the photo. I’m starting to think “the giraffe” is actually female (would you look at that ratio?) It was great to see you too, I’m sure we’ll run into each other again.

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