Silliness edged with nostalgia equates to a lovely, quirky mini reunion

I had a most enjoyable impromptu get-together with two of my high school classmates last week. Three golden girls reminiscing about our youth’s golden years. It couldn’t have been more fun, or even more nostalgic. After 50+ years with Leonora (Nora) Badong Sumangil, and 9+ years with Iluminada (Luming) Gaerlan, time couldn’t have been kinder.  I quickly recognized them; they seemed to look as young.  I just hope they think the same of me (Nora did say on our group chat that I had the “same cute dimples and signature hairdo; and Luming had the same sweet smile”). I’m happy with that report. Silly, isn’t it?

More silliness – Luming triumphantly quipped that she still is taller than Nora, recalling that in high school, we routinely formed a line starting with the shortest in front, to the tallest at the back. Nora stood in front of her.  No disagreement there.  [Casual Addendum – message received from Nora all the way from Florida soon after this blog was posted – she strongly disagrees: she’s a tad taller than Luming, she insists.]

Because of this, I am so hyped up to attend our high school batch reunion at the University of Santa Isabel in Naga, Philippines come February next year. There’ll be more of this kind of banter, and more sentimental flashbacks as well.

And more endearing silliness from golden girls, maybe.

So grateful to Luming for facilitating our spontaneous mini-mini reunion in Palo Alto. Nora and her husband Ito traveled to California from Florida. She contacted Luming from Pittsburg, CA, who, as usual, generously provided transportation to visit places and friends.  Luming is the go-to when friends come from afar. Quickly and selflessly, she facilitates connections with her willingness to drive.

What did we do in four hours of enjoying one another’s company? Compact updating on each other’s health, comparing activities, reminiscing old times, jokes and both funny and frustrating moments of forcing our memories for names of “old teachers and classmates”.  A lot of laughter. A lot of silliness. A lot of quirky observations. Seniors, just having rich fun (the way high school kids do, perhaps).

We went to dinner at Terun in Palo Alto, a highly patronized restaurant obviously, since on a Monday night, with no reservation, we almost did not get any seating. The outdoor area was fully reserved. Inside was packed, and the facility’s patio was crowded.  We wondered if Monday night was popular due to the entertainment, but it could get packed on no-entertainment nights as well, we were told.  So it must be the food, we concluded.

We were right – the food was tops! We tried each other’s chosen dish. Mine was ravioli with braised beef inside and moistened with a delicate, creamy sauce. Nora’s was Branzino — fish on top of mixed thin sliced vegetables and capers or what looked like puffed corn. Luming’s was crunchy pizza dough that held thin slices of meat and a generous mound of soft cheese (tasted more like spiced thick plain yogurt). Ito’s was a spread of chicken meat in tomato sauce and atop a generous layer of cooked spinach. We shared desserts of tiramisu and a fragile  scoop of lemon panna cotta drizzled with lightly sweetened sauce and surrounded with black berries and raspberries. Oh heavenly!

I surprised Nora and Luming with my spontaneous, silly kink of checking out neighboring diners’ food on their plates, asking the waiter what the dish is and pronouncing a rush judgement of the cuisine by the presentation and the way the diners gobble their food. Funny and embarrassing maybe – that one of my two classmates, while laughing, kindly snapped (if snapping can be kind) – Linda, stop it! I stopped it, but did it once again at that dinner, just surreptitiously.

Of course, to add gusto to the lovely evening, we sang Elvis Presley’s hit “Can’t help falling in love” along with the entertainer crooning to the accompaniment of his guitar. I think we livened up the scene – as we ignored curious and appreciative stares. Seniors? Yes – but we were young again!

And to boot – Nora and Ito couldn’t resist the infectious beat of the music.  They bravely danced some swing and boogie steps on the street at the edge of the outdoor dining area.  If we stayed some minutes more, we could have moved the diners to rise from their seats and shimmy up.

Totally a fun spontaneous mini reunion.  Just a fabulous foretaste of the grand meet-up in February.

Linda P. Jacob