June 4, 1998

A Reunion for the Ages

Filed under: Life Stories — schroder @ 12:00 pm

And I thought I was bad about the mail that comes to my house. I’m pretty good about keeping up with mail at work, but when I get home at the end of a day, I grab the pile out of my mailbox and toss it in a corner, where it molds nicely for 30 to 60 days. Then, when I think it’s nice and ripe I will turn on a Braves game and spend a couple of hours going through it. I’ve missed out on some parties and been late on a few bills, but I generally get by okay.

This month, I’m going to my ¬–gulp – 20th college reunion at the University of Virginia. My alumni association has been sending me magazines, postcards, magnets, e-mails, etc., for about eight months now. That aggressive of a campaign is enough to eventually get my attention. So I called some college buddies, each of whom is, unlike me, an upstanding, successful, and well-organized lawyer, doctor, architect or investment banker.

Their reaction? “What reunion?” They never look at their home mail. In fact, a couple of them were not happy with me for pushing them to the brink of a most unwelcome thought: that we are 20 years out of college. Eeek!

So even though we may be sleeping on the sofa of some fraternity house (just like old times), I’ve excited most of them into going back for another weekend.

All of this reminded me of an idea I’ve been nurturing for the past few years. It’s based on the fantasy baseball camp idea – you know, those guys in their 40s or 50s who pay thousands of dollars to put on a baseball uniform and go out and swing the bat with real Braves players in Florida for a weekend. I think colleges could have a huge fundraising fad on their hands if they began – you got it, fantasy college weekends.

We’d all arrive on Friday night, check into the dorms, meet our roommates, register to take a few classes on Saturday and Sunday, pull on the old jeans, grab a quick bite at a burger joint, run over to fraternity and sorority row and bounce from party to party until 3 or 4 am. Bands, beer, dancing, (and lots of coffee in concession to our age). All the usual chit-chat: Where are you from, what dorm are you staying in, do you have a date (spouse), what’s your major (career)? We could make out with strangers in the corners and then all stumble down to the all-night diner and eat bacon-cheeseburgers and double orders of fries and then find our way to the dorms (no driving!) and sleep in late.

We’d skip the 8 a.m. class, wander into the 11 a.m. lecture, go to brunch, head to the football game, go check in at the dorms, call home for more money, go out and start all over again.

I’ve been thinking about this idea for a couple of years. Who knows? Maybe I should patent the idea and make money. I was promoting the idea a year ago to a buddy of mine who’s married. He got all excited and slyly urged me to ensure its fantasy-like quality and guarantee that no one could take their spouses. I was mulling that one over when his wife walked up and I told her of the camp idea. She loved it. Her first reaction was to urge me to guarantee that no one could take their spouses. Suddenly, her husband looked a little uncomfortable.

“On second thought,” he said before wandering off, “I don’t think it’s a good idea at all.”
Oh well. Maybe I’ll just mail them an invitation and see who opens it first.

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