Wednesday, July 23, 2008


On Seeing My High School Friend Get Married

High School Friend on Right Ocean got married earlier this month, and it was a glorious day.

He and I have seen each other through some challenging times. In high school, we were the guys the girls always thought of as “like my brother.” We soldiered through as best we could, but at sixteen, patience isn't easy.

Over the decades, we both made our share of perplexing choices. That's all I'll say about that.

HSFRO was one of my groomsmen when I married TW. He knew me well enough to know that I had married up, and that while I had occasionally (cough) exhibited a gift for messing up, this one was just too important. He has seen TB and TG grow up, and seen us try to find our land legs as parents.

I've known his younger sister since she was in the fourth grade. Although his younger brother is a veterinarian and a certified grownup, I still think of him as the wiry kid with the guinea pigs. My Mom and his parents have remained in constant touch over the years, even to the point of my Mom attending his siblings' weddings. She has been known to refer to HSFRO as “my other son.”

It was my first Jewish wedding, and I'm thinking the rest of us can take lessons. It was festive, festive, festive, as well it should be. All the trappings were there – fast circle dancing, hoisting the couple up on chairs, breaking the glass – and I even got my first yamulke. (It hides the bald spot really well. Suddenly, I get it.)

Another reformed nerd from our high school clique was there, and it was wonderful to see him, too. He's married, living in San Francisco, and generally enjoying life. We lost touch sometime in the 90's, so it was fun to reconnect. His wife and mine hit it off immediately. I'm thinking “Spouses of Nerds” could be a support group.

(Interestingly, though all three of us had targeted college faculty positions at various times, two of us have left that world, and the third is leaving in the next year or so. The habitat we had assumed would be welcoming just wasn't. Three doctorates, no professors. Our extended clique in high school generated at least six doctorates I can name off the top of my head, though I'm probably missing a few. Heaven only knows how many M.D.'s. Not bad for a public high school in Northern Town.)

TB and TG were on their good behavior, and I was struck at how grown-up TB looked in a tie. He's growing at what seems like an inch a day, and seeing him dressed up really completed the effect. HSFRO's younger brother has kids almost exactly TB and TG's ages, so the kids were in their glory. In a fit of genius, the folks with kids were seated outside on the balcony, so the kids could run on the lawn. This was a Very Good Idea. Much squealing ensued, and we discovered once again that a clever seven-year-old can fashion a laser blaster out of almost anything.

Characteristically, the kids were most excited about staying in a hotel. I remember being fascinated by hotels too, at that age. Don't know why.

Good luck, HSFRO. You took the long way, but you've found a great place to be.

Hopefully, we don't blow your cover!! :)
A couple of points:

1. Ah weddings....what a fabulous party.

2. On who is in and out of the professoriate. I suspect my own path is too idiosyncratic to be replicated.

a. Graduate of perhaps one of the poorest public HS's in the US. And the local private schools were fundemenatlist academies, and the scholarly quality was far, far worse.

b. Scholarship brat, but in music. Eventually, that money runs out and the career options as a professional flutsit are pretty darned slim. However, I held teacher certification and I found myself working as an ed prof (adjunct work).

c. Go off to Big 10 State (think monster football program), and get a terrific preparation for a sub-field of education that experiences CHRONIC shortages of faculty.

d. Perhaps a Lesson: If you really want to become a prof, pick a professional school that has chronic faculty shortages (we're talking 20-30 years worth, and it's only getting worse). Granted, this sub-field is not as "cool" as any in the liberal arts, but I had my pick of positions. And I get to make a difference in an area that I care deeply about.

Food for thought....
I'm not sure who was more surprised that I was finally getting married: myself or DD (or my parents, for that matter).

It was great that DD, TW, TB, and TG could be there. I was very happy that TB, TB, and my nephews/nieces got along well.

The ceremony and reception were great, and now has begun the most exciting part: learning what it's like to live a happily married life. Already I can see potential stresses of a mixed mairrage (professor and non-professor, though non-prof is an educator at lower levels).

Thanks for the good wishes! DD, we look forward to seeing you and your family often in the future.
just discoverd the blog. also a dean but non-academic. lots of issues there let me just say.

kids love the pools. that's what mine looks forward to most. peace and thanks for the insights. KT
It is an honor to have played an essential part in inspiring this particular entry. Thank you for what you wrote, DD, especially the last sentence.

I agree.

p.s. the balcony idea was mine.
There must of been a very emotional moment, for all of you. It's hard to believe and accept how much things change after high school.
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