Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Another Reunion

Seven years ago this past Sunday, I attended my law school reunion. So as I anticipate attending my high school class reunion this Saturday, I thought it would be appropriate to look back at what occurred seven years ago when I attended my very first reunion.

Ready to go to the Hall of Fame
My law school reunion experience in 2012 was just fabulous.

For those of you out of the loop, on Saturday evening, I attended my law school reunion at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Getting ready yesterday afternoon, I cut myself badly using a new blade in my razor. It was a deep cut just under my left nostril and it took forever to stop bleeding. As a result, it took me longer to do my makeup, initially working around the cut, then waiting for the bleeding to stop. Luckily, I started doing my makeup early enough so that any technical difficulties would not affect my arrival time at the Hall of Fame.

I was dressed and out the door (after snapping a few photos) at 4:45 PM to make the 50-mile trip by 6 PM when the cocktail hour began. On the way, the traffic message boards on the interstate informed me that the exit I had to take to switch from I-84 to I-91 was closed and it recommended a detour via another highway.

I thought about driving to an exit before the closed exit and trying to work my way to an I-91 entrance, but I was familiar with the recommended detour and figured I would only lose 10 minutes, whereas who knew how much time Plan A would cost me. So I took the detour and lost about 20 minutes instead of 10.

The rest of the trip was smooth-sailing and I arrived at the Hall of Fame at 5:55 PM — perfect timing!

I entered the Hall of Fame complex and quickly found the site of the reunion. I was in error in that I thought that the reunion would be held in the Center Court banquet hall. Instead, it took place in a smaller banquet hall in the complex. It was not as spectacular as I pictured the Center Court, but it was very nice nonetheless.

I checked in and immediately encountered the woman who I had exchanged a few e-mails with concerning the reunion. I introduced myself; she welcomed me and helped me find my name badge.

There were about 20 people already in attendance. I recognized one of my classmates, CR, a woman who I considered an acquaintance, not a long lost friend. I said hello to her and she returned a hello, while looking at my name badge trying to figure out who I was (the badge listed Stana, my real last name, and my class year, 1977).

She was carrying a copy of our class yearbook, so I suggested she look me up in the yearbook to refresh her memory. She did and when she put two-and-two together, she exclaimed, "Oh my god! Stanley, you are beautiful now!"

She gushed over how I had changed and then we chatted a bit trying to catch up on the past 35 years in five minutes. Then she was distracted by another person, who I did not recognize, so I went to the bar and got a glass of white wine.

My classmates and I
I mingled with myself for about five minutes, then CR came around again and pointed me in the direction of a table where other 1977 classmates were gathering, so I headed in that direction. There I found two other female school acquaintances (PM and LF) and one of my best friends (JB) and his wife.

An aside, as it turned out, there were nine people in my class who made it to the reunion. Four women and five men. All the women came solo and all five men came with their wives. I believe that the three other women are unattached.

Both PM and LF welcomed me with open arms as if we were old girlfriends and not just acquaintances (I think CR had informed them of my presence before I found their table, so they were expecting me). I did not recognize JB immediately, but when I realized it was my old friend, I greeted him warmly and gave him a hug. His wife, EB, introduced herself and she was very welcoming, too. We all exchanged our stories about the last 35 years, but the women were more interested in hearing my story rather than telling theirs to me. So as not to disappoint, I obliged and held an impromptu outreach session.

Another friend, MM, showed up and he greeted me like the old friends we were.

The cocktail hour flew by and before I knew it, PM was beckoning me to join her at the 1977 table in the dining room. I sat down next to PM and we chatted forever, mostly about me. She assumed that I was a post-op transsexual and I explained that I was not. Actually, everyone I talked to about being transgender assumed I was post-op and I explained to all of them that I was not.

PM said that I was undoubtedly a woman and that I was more of a woman than she was! She said she never felt like a "woman" and was not sure what it meant to feel like a woman. I basically said we are what we are, but society pigeonholes us as "men" or "women" according to their "standards."

After dinner, which by the way, was excellent, I had a long discussion with EB about being transgender. EB is in the entertainment industry in the City and as a result, she is familiar with  transgenders and knows where I am coming from more or less.

I mentioned to her that her husband, JB, was the person who told me at the law school Halloween party 36 years ago, that he never realized how feminine I was until he saw me in my costume en femme and realized that it was such a good fit for me and my personality, mannerisms, etc.

MM sat down next to me to chat a bit and said that I was very brave to do what I did. And I replied with my standard comeback to the bravery comment, that is, I don't consider it brave to be yourself… to be what who you are. But he said I was too modest and that if he was in the same situation, he doubted if he could do what I did. Maybe, maybe not, but it was very nice of MM to say what he did. In fact, I received nothing but support and positive words from all my classmates.

I did not mix much with the other attendees; there was not much time to do so. But early on, one woman from the class of 2006 introduced herself and we had a short chat about what we had in common, that is, the mispronunciation of our first names. Her name is Zoe and people call her Zo or Zo-ee.  About half the people pronounced my name correctly (rhymes with Donna) and the other half got it wrong, but I don't mind.

The only other non-classmate I recall speaking with was a professor who dined at our table and sat right next to me. He began teaching at the school the year after I graduated, so he did not know me from the school, but I asked him about what happened to some of the people I worked with way back when (I worked in the library while attending law school) and he tried to fill me in on what he remembered (not much as it turned out).

The evening ended much too quickly and I was on my way home at 10:30 PM.

I had a wonderful time to put it mildly!

I hope my high school reunion on Saturday is just as wonderful!




Source: Moda Operandi
Wearing Saloni Lodha (Source: Moda Operandi)






Pavel Arambula femulates Thalia on Mexican television.

4 comments:

  1. How wonderful that you had so much fun and encountered a welcoming attitude.

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  2. Glad to hear you had such a good time and such a positive experience too.

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  3. Amazing how time and attitudes have changed over the years. Trans people are much more readily accepted in scociety these day than even a few years ago. Just goes to show that if we be about we really are and don't try to beat others over the head, we will get more respect. My Mom always said that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

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  4. Stana,

    Here's my two cents. I think you should go for a number of reasons! First, people do in fact change! You can't tel me you are the same now as you were in HS. I know I'm not! I grew up during the Vietnam war, and I was outspoken and confrontational about it, now I lean towards the military and support decisions to firm or go to war with countries like Iran and N. Korea.

    I say I'm conservative, but I don't like the label, because I support people like you. People hear conservative and think of closed minds, I am not that at all!

    Second, you said you had a lot of close friends in HS, and that could be great. I imagine your friends standing with you, and maybe even pushing back on your tormentors? You might be surprised how many people will support you? Remember the world has changed! When I was in high school in the late 60's there were a lot of protests to support African Americans, but at the same time a lot of those same people didn't want black people living in their neighborhood. While we still have a way to go, is there a street in America that doesn't have an African American family? One of my sons closets friends was African American, and I was close to the father. I'm not saying the world is perfect, but it is years ahead of where we were in the 60's.

    Third, and again I'm not being confrontational on this, but why should you have to hide because other people can't accept you? If you continue to hide, things will continue to be the same. Maybe your tormentors NOW, want to understand you? Maybe you can open their minds?

    I am not close to you, or your life, and so my comments are from the 35,000 view. Only you know what is the right thing to do!

    Joe D. Footsniffer

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