A Forty-Year High School Reunion


There’s been a song running through my head these past several weeks that was popular in 1972 titled “Garden Party,” by singer/songwriter Ricky Nelson (1). The lyrics are:

I went to a garden party to reminisce with my old friends
A chance to share old memories and play our songs again
When I got to the garden party they all knew my name
But no one recognized me I didn’t look the same
But it’s all right now
I learned my lesson well
You see you can’t please ev’ryone so
You got to please yourself
People came for miles around everyone was there
Yoko brought her walrus there was magic in the air
And over in the corner much to my surprise
Mr. Hughes hid in Dylan’s shoes wearing his disguise
I played them all the old songs I thought that’s why they came
No one heard the music we didn’t look the same
I said hello to Mary Lou she belongs to me
When I sang a song about a honky-tonk it was time to leave
Someone opened up a closet door and out stepped Johnny B. Goode
Playing guitar like a ring an’ a bell and lookin’ like he should
If you gotta play at garden parties I wish you a lot a’ luck
But if memories were all I sang I’d rather drive a truck

I don’t care to be driving trucks and I don’t want to live in my memories.  I’m glad I went to this reunion, but I don’t expect to attend any more in the future. It was nice to again see some of the people I graduated with, and I feel happy that my former classmates had done well for themselves. But, I could feel there was nothing for me to go back to. The people I met displayed a sense of community which I wasn’t part of.

I still consider myself a “Native New Yorker,” but I don’t belong there anymore. After the many moves I’ve made, I don’t feel that I’m part of the community I presently live in. While I don’t regret my chosen life for the sights I’ve seen and the things I’ve done; I miss not having a sense of place. I miss that I’ve never been able to establish myself in any one place and become part of a community.

I often wonder what direction life would have taken me if I had stayed in Farmingdale through my high school graduation.

Lyrics Copyright: Matragun Music Inc.


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