In 1998 I turned 50. I was residing in California – keenly aware of (still) being very single, even though I’d certainly had my share of fun over the years.  A classmate called regarding a multi-class reunion brewing in New Jersey. It was to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Morris Catholic High School, organized by the first 5 graduating classes, 1961-1965.  Pat begged our Class of 1966 in by volunteering my services to design the reunion booklet.

I opened the Class of 1963 envelope one day, and happened upon the dossier submitted by “Geri Ryan Robbins – Gardiner, Maine – Realtor – 3 (grown) children – ran my first marathon at age 50!”  She’d checked the $25 box, indicating one attendee. Conspicuously missing was “Name of Spouse”  Hmmm …

“Geri Ryan” loomed large in my freshman year.  Alas, she was a senior.  Her boyfriends had cars. I had acne.  But I did manage to introduce myself and we wrote little notes, exchanging them in the hallway.  That’s about as far I got (but by God – I was a writer!)

The reunion was Saturday, Nov. 27, – in the afterglow of Thanksgiving.   We met, shared a drink, a dance (I tipped the DJ for Sinatra’s “The Second Time Around”) exchanged stories and email addresses.  Once again, we began exchanging notes.

A client in Atlanta summoned me back to the East Coast in January.  Subsequently, I enjoyed a wintery (but warm) visit in Gardiner.  In February, invited her out to California for a break from her Maine winter. The Sunday before, Deirdre O’Donohue, host of KLSX’s Breakfast with the Beatles, asked listeners to send in requests for her Valentine’s Day show.  Why not … I sent one – with a brief note about this budding reunion retro-romance.

The following Sunday, while driving down Ocean Boulevard to the Queen Mary’s Valentine Brunch we heard:

Deirdre: “This one’s perfect – for Geri Ryan Robbins visiting us from Gardiner, Maine – from Buddy Doyle in Long Beach …”

The Beatles: “If I fell in love with you, would you promise to be true …”

In March, we met in Boston for a Celtics game – on St. Patrick’s Day!  Next day, we drove down to New Jersey to visit with friends.  We stopped at the high school “for old time’s sake.” In the hallway, I passed her a little note that simply read: “Will you marry me?”  She took out a pen, clicked it, and wrote “Yes!”  I’d (optimistically) arranged for a (current) freshman lad and a senior lassie to present her with the ring and the flowers (because by God – I was a romantic!)

I highly endorse reunions of any stripe. Thanks to that one, I now reside in Maine – keenly aware of being very, very happy.

— Special to Meetinghouse

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