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.