Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Johnny Bench


In early grade school, at the time I received the "Back-To-The-Future" nickname ALKIE, the guys all played baseball during recess. I was a 'country bumpkin', the local yokel, so to speak. Right off the farm, carrying a violin case, and I was what you might say, untrained (bungling, inept, clumsy) in sports.

So when it was time to "play ball", we first-graders would all line up, and the two 'captains' would start picking their players. Naturally, the best ones were chosen early, and the worst--me--would be standing after all others were being assigned their positions.

Then, the argument began (every day!) as to who would be saddled with Alkie, the guy who consistently struck out, overthrew home plate, missed fly balls, ran the wrong way, etc. Eventually, I was told, while at bat, just to stand there, "don't swing". And mercifully, they let me 'walk' every time, so at least I would get on base. This was real 'charity'.

One day I said to myself, "To hell with it, I'm gonna SWING." And I hit the ball so far, I could have run the bases twice! Thereafter, I was accepted as a possible outfielder, batting cleanup--fourth in the lineup.

But I would NEVER forget the feeling of being left out, being put down, being 'less than', being the clodhopper farmer, who couldn't "swing it."

Eleven years later I was a violinist in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. But that grade school crap long lingered. My self esteem had been injured beyond repair, except it went away when I drank, which by then was most of the time.

In early 2008, I had been informed that my grade school chums, of the class of (OMG!) 1947, would be holding a reunion in Cincinnati in late September 2008, (several weeks ago). I became so excited to see these people, see how they'd aged and I had NOT -GRINNNN- that I accepted immediately their invitation. Through the summer I thought carefully about going back to my home town/home school at this time. I've been there often enough, but did I wish to go THIS time?
I have to admit...if this class reunion would've happened in Gatlinburg TN, or in NC Blue Ridge Mountains, I'd have BEEN there without hesitation.

Rightly or wrongly, I considered that if we made the' pilgrimage', I'd miss Blogging, the daily two or three meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, the 'comforts' of home, the wonderful, happy motor scooter rides, and playing at the Sunday masses one weekend.

So I did not pack up and make the reunion. I was missed. I've been sent pictures, notes, and stories, none of which really excited me.

Ya know what excites me? Your blogs and your comments on all the other blogs, and the sharing (never used to like that word) and real caring that goes on here. The side Emails which support us, the occasional phone conversation which ring tones of love, and daily communicating, all--for me--put together a family like which I've never known.

SO....even though my old classmates probably would have still called me "ALKIE", I would have made sure that they knew I am now ANOTHER SOBER ALCOHOLIC. Maybe that would have been reason enough to attend. Hmmmmm?

Thanks for reading--if anyone DID! -grin-



indistinct said...

And it's always fun to come visit here. and the bonus, I get to learn something.

Keep on sharing!!

Shadow said...

what a lovely post. i feel the same about my blog pals, lemme tell you!

there's a school re-union coming up in december, and i'm bouncing between going and not. but i'm leaning towards the not. it was such a icky time of my life, i'm not sure i want to rehash, remember, go there again. what you think, is this hiding and avoiding? i really am confused about this...

A Girl said...

I was never very sporty and I was always picked next to last or last back in grade school. I remember so well that 'less than', outsider feeling. I still have problems with that and I'm sure it's all in my head most of the time.
I see that you play the violin. I used to play the cello in my school years. I still have my cello but it's collecting dust in my apartment. I haven't had the urge to play in a long time.


I was a "misfit" through all my school years. At least, I never felt as though I fit in - measured up.

Those types of feelings have (Thank God) pretty much passed with the days that have gone by and the program I have found.

But, would I want to stir them all up again?


Mary Christine said...

I was going to go to my 30th high school reunion until I thought about it. I realized that if I had wanted to stay in touch with those people I would have... but I didn't want to. The only reason I would have gone would have been to show them a thing or two... bad motivation.

J-Online said...

I passed on my 10 year reunion. I figure why go and pretend to enjoy people I don't. I wasn't interested in the gossip fest. I know that's really taky but it's how I felt. the people I want in my life are in it. I like it that way!

~Tyra~ said...

Well, I am personally glad you stayed home. I love coming by everyday!

dAAve said...

You'll never strike out amongst friends.

Akannie said...

Isn't it funny hpow we all felt as though we "didn't fit in" ... even at such an early age! And it dogged me throughout me drinking...always on the outside of the circle, never part of the team.

My 35th class reunion was in 2006 and they found me, even tho I had done several "geographics" so they couldn't. lol

No way did I go. (And I had even moved back here!!)

Lou said...

You should have crashed it with your Blong-O-Roni self. And taken One Hot Prayer Girl with you.

Syd said...

I haven't gone to any of mine either. I just don't have any desire to go. I bet you would have been cool though riding up on the motorcycle with Mama Roni on the back.

Anonymous said...

I opted out of going to my 20 year high school reunion this year. I justified not going by saying "it's in california,it's too expensive too travel, blah blah blah." The reality is that I simply didn't want to go.

I'm glad you stuck around. You would have been missed.

Cat said...

I am always amazed at how many of us expierenced similar feelings even back that young.