The Wonder Years : Revisting the Past for one night that will be remembered forever

Hello All,

This post is dedicated to my friends, classmates and teachers from Ridgefield Park Class of 1994

Ridgefield Park Class 0f 1994, Scarlets, High School Reunion

For those of you who don’t know, I write a weekly blog post about life and stories as musician with some music facts. I usually start with a paragraph like the next one you’re about to read(unless you find this one too corny and say “Fuck this” lol) You are welcome to continue to read on and share with anyone you like. And feel free to read my Inaugural post .I’m sure by now we are all back to our routines and this past weekend is yet another great moment in time we can look back on fondly. However, for myself personally I found it to be a really enriching experience that helped me look at my present life with more perspective.

A lot has been going on lately, and I don’t just mean my ability to keep this updated on a consistent basis. After last week It’s safe to say, I’ve covered the topics of when to speak and when to listen. But I should point out for those who don’t know already there’s a reason why we were born with two ears and one mouth.

I’m really glad I kept this in mind, or I would’ve foolishly missed out on not only one of the most fun nights I’ve had in ages, but also something I really needed without even realizing it. This past weekend I attended my 30 year high school reunion. I usually don’t outright reveal my age, on here or other social media. But unless you can’t count, you’ll probably figure it out. I admit I was reluctant at just the mere thought of attending. It was on the back of my mind even before this year I was dead set on not going. Mostly due to life not meeting up to my expectations, dreading having to answer certain questions about my personal life, (which I am still not comfortable talking to most people about) and my inability to not remember any good things, only bad. Which is more commonly known these days as Irish Alzheimer’s. But lots of research has been done that shows people commonly remember much more bad than good (unlike other groups, we Irish don’t complain about stereotypes and act like we are under constant scrutiny. Too busy proving other stereotypes true, like hard work, happiness and “sometimes” drinking)
And as far as expectations go, Someone did teach me that “Expectations are pre-resentments”. And that someone is none other than Lynn Haze. Who for those of you don’t know, is a very good friend and former member of Imbolg that left us too soon. Truthfully, before I even became a teenager, I expected high school will be a combination of all of the John Hughes movies and Grease. So I found it disheartening that my friends and I didn’t, as one of my old teachers Mr. Canale put it “break out into a song at the drop of a hat” (which kinda ruined musicals for me, thanks Mr. C). Or when I didn’t fall through the ceiling at a Saturday dentention(but I assure you that I did attend my share of them & made some friends) and most of all, that I didn’t find a High School sweat heart, it was a huge let down. This is due to my slightly unhealthy obsession with TV and movies, hence the title of this entry.

This entry was the hardest entries to come up with a name for. I wanted to pick something that would really stand out. A name that connects to everybody and helps them be reminded of how precious that time was. And more importantly that despite the fact that we all lead separate paths, we can still connect through our experiences. Because we all share this part of growing up and attending school in the same place.

Which is partly why I opted do not go with my usual theme and name a post after a song, but after a TV show that I think most people can relate to The Wonder Years. As I have stated in previous entries, such as “Tell me what You want” this show has many parables to both my life and the lives of my classmates(for those of you have seen the 1st episode and sat with me at lunch Junior year, I did some of that stuff. And I’m literally talking apples and oranges here lol). And most kids growing up in America can relate to it, no matter and what time era. The show was set exactly 20 years prior to when I was growing up. So each year on the show matched the same school year I was in at the time. So many of the themes on the show were things I was experiencing at that moment, while watching Kevin Arnold played by Fred Savage having the same experiences. Going to a new school, playing sports, hanging out with your friends, his first job, first car, and of course, discovering his interest in girls. Heck, I even had my first kiss the same year that the pilot aired. And no, I didn’t end up with my Winnie Cooper. I think the interaction I can most relate to and have the fondest memory of, is Kevin’s crush on Lisa Berlini in the first season It caused him to miss the launch of the Apollo 11 rocket. (I’ll share some clips from the show in case you want to see them, especially since the last clip shows a particular celebration our town is known for). At the start of one episode they even mention Ridgefield Park, I’ll try and find it because they only did that one time.

RPHS, Ridgefield Park High School Yearbook,1994,Idler,Bon Fire,Pep Rally

I’m really glad that one of the people that put together the reunion kind of nudged me and convinced me to go. Maybe part of me knew it was stupid to miss out on this because of how things were back then. Mostly my senior year. But by not attending, I would simply let those bad experiences and those who mistreated win. Especially since none of them were even invited to this. She reminded me that we are basically all the same. Even though we made mistakes back then we were just kids. And she was right, and obviously we are not anymore. I can’t believe I had anxiety about going to a place that I would be accepted more so than almost any other place. It would’ve been hypocritical, since I like to live by the motto that was taught to me “Go where you’re celebrated, not where you’re tolerated”. Before I even got into the building, I saw somebody outside that I’ve known since the first day of kindergarten. And another friend of mine, who I mistook for another classmate because I left my glasses in the car. I opted to use the elevator hoping to make a grand entrance as the doors open to see a room filled with my former classmates, but alas the elevator left me just outside the room. I got greeted immediately by one of the people who helped organize the event and did my best to remind people of funny things most normal people have long forgotten (I keep remembering stuff and by now I’m probably starting freak them out by how much I remember). I was very flattered by the fact that many people are aware of and identify me with my music. The really makes me feel like my work all these years, despite being undervalued, dismissed or mistreated is in fact distinguished. The evening ended at a rooftop bar, when there was a bar right downstairs at the restaurant and next thing I knew I was walking thru a Wendy’s Drive thru on foot with one of my friends. His comment about that part of the evening solidifying that it was a great night had me in tears as I read it. Truthfully I’ve found myself welling up quite a few times since that night. It felt like I was a kid again. Until the next morning when I woke up on my Mother’s couch of course.

So again to everyone from the Class of ‘94 and to everyone who helped organize this and convinced me to go attend I am eternally grateful. This made me the happiest I’ve been in a long time and has inspired me to write a new song(I’ll let you know it’s done). Maybe this feeling is because of nostalgia and a much needed break from our usual “adult” routines. But I think it’s because we all share that close bond. The type of bond I was hoping to form with my bandmates all these years but really haven’t been able to do so. This is a bond forged by all of us growing up in that 2 1/2 square miles of land right near each other in houses that are very similiar or, in some cases identical to each other. But like they said at end of that first episode of the Wonder Years : “Because we know that inside each one of those identical boxes, with it’s Dodge parked out front and it’s white bread on the table and it’s TV set glowing blue in the falling dusk, there were people with stories. There were families bound together in the pain and the struggle of love. There were moments that made us cry with laughter. And there were moments, like that one, of sorrow and wonder.”
Even though our towns are considered very small compared to the rest of the world, for us it was once our entire world and a piece of it will always be close to our hearts. No matter how far we travel or how much time has passed. This past weekend proved that. Because after all : “Time is limited but, love is infinite.”

Thanks for reading everyone, be well

Nate, xoxo

And because nobody uploaded the full ending, here’s the rest of it
And of course, I had to include that iconic theme song :

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