FLHS Class of 1977 30th Reunion - Experiences of the Day
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Holiday Inn in Mt Kisco, NY
My friend Nancie was waiting for me at the Mt Kisco train station at 12:50pm. It was good to see her. We drove to her parent’s home and immediately sat down to a nice luncheon. Also there was Nancie’s husband Tim, who is such a delightful person. During lunch we reminisced about past reunions while noshing on a light repast. Afterwards it was time to finalize reunion plans, wrap up the raffle prizes and discuss the layout of the Reunion Souvenir Booklet. I had contributed to the raffle prizes with purchase of two CDs of 1970s hit songs, plus assorted sizes of red bags for the prizes. Fox Lane’s school colors are red and white. Tim and I got into an artistic discussion regarding the layout of the booklet, which once it’s done will look very spiffy.
While this is going on I experienced a minor Asthma attack. Not sure if it was brought on by the weather, excitement or what I ate at lunch. All were concerned as I rested for abit and told them I really need to see my lung specialist again. Having some issues, need to make an appointment, plus probably need new meds. After that passed it was going on 3pm and we needed to tend to errands connected with reunion. Nancie, Tim and I jumped into their mini van and sped off to Party World for the 36 red/white balloons. While there we also purchased 8 plastic champagne flutes that would be utilized in displays on all 8 tables. Sadly, between the party store and the hotel we lost 2 balloons. Then it was off to the Holiday Inn for final consultation with Loretta Brooks [Catering Director], depositing the balloons in the small ballroom and in my case, checking into the hotel. Ran into Diane B, a classmate I haven’t seen since our 10th reunion in 1987. We chatted for abit before I went with Loretta to discuss particulars in the ballroom.
Then it was time for me to head up to my hotel room [#207] to settle in and relax before heading back to ballroom at 5:15pm. Very nice hotel room and I now wish I’d listened to my first instinct, which was to relax and do some reading by the window. Instead, I went into the bathroom to play around with my hair and maybe give it abit more curl. I’m no hairdresser and I envy those that can do a nice French braid or an elegant Chignon. Big sigh!
What happened next turned into a 2-hour emergency and gave me such a weepy anxiety attack. The round brush I’d been using got stuck in my hair while attempting to curl a portion of it. Yes, that’s right, stuck in my hair and I couldn’t uncoil it. OMG! OMG!! OMG!!!
Heart pounding, my nerves started to twang and tears welled in my eyes as I tried to get the hair unraveled. In between cursing, wailing and asking the dear lord for help the situation became worse. At this point rational thought kinda sorta went out the window. I thought maybe if it got it wet it’ll come undone. Flung off the clothes and jumped into the shower. Nope, no such luck. At this point I’m in tears and trying to think of a plan of action. Not easy to do when in the middle of an anxiety attack. I really didn’t want my long hair sheared off. No way! Walked briskly to the hotel phone next to the bed and without my reading glasses on finally found the button for front desk. So glad the gal at the front desk understood my gibberish and she sent Loretta Brooks up to my room a few minutes later. Managed to get on my bathrobe and make some attempt to clean my face, as the makeup was messed up and I looked like Alice Cooper.
Loretta showed up and I pleaded for help. She admitted to never tackling something like this in the hotel business, but was ready to give it the ole college try. Loretta sat me in a chair and through my tears explained to her what happened, while she assessed the “brush” situation and started working on it. She left briefly and went to get some assistance. She brought back MaryAnn who is a bartender and had some experience in this type of situation. They worked on my hair for 10 minutes; all the while keeping up a flow of conversation with me and making sure I was comfy. At one point I said to them, “I really could use a drink to try and calm my nerves”.
Courtesy of Holiday Inn, MaryAnn went and made up a Cosmopolitan for me.[BTW … this whole story is much more interesting and amusing when I relate it in person. I usually have friends laughing after a minute or so. As Loretta said later on to me, it was definitely a “unique” situation. Yep, it sure was, and my Mom very much agreed when I told her the next day between giggles.]
While MaryAnn went to get me a drink, Loretta called up an employee who was on her day off. Loretta told me that Antoinette usually works the front desk and her “other” job is hairdresser. On advice from Antoinette; the necessary tools in dealing with the situation was olive oil, hair conditioner, combs and wooden or metal skewers. MaryAnn came back with the drink and Loretta went out to get the “necessary tools”. Through all this we’re talking about numerous topics, trying to think positively and not burst into tears. With many towels on me and the floor, MaryAnn and Loretta start pouring the olive oil on the tangled hair around the brush. Every so often I’d check the clock and realize I won’t make it to the Reunion Party room by 5:15pm. That’s when Nancie, Tim and I were to start decorating the tables. MaryAnn and Loretta were making slow progress with the situation and every so often I’d put my hand on my scalp, as the tugging on hair was causing soreness.
Then all of a sudden my vision gets abit blurry in left eye. I make whimpering sounds of “oh oh oh”
, which caused the two ladies to stop and inquire. We realize that the olive oil is sliding to the front of my head and down my face into my eyes. Abit unsettling to say the least and I’m feeling like a tossed salad. I’m brought a damp cloth to rectify the situation and I can see again. Loretta tells me that Antoinette will be stopping by to further assist with the “unique situation”. At this point MaryAnn has to leave, as she’s the bartender for our reunion party and needs to “set up”. It’s now going on 5pm and the slow process of uncoiling my hair has been progressing for an hour. Antoinette shows up and takes over the situation, which leaves Loretta free to help out Nancie and Tim with decorating. I pull myself together and calmly tell her how the tables are to look with the balloons, glitter, candy, etc. As well as to briefly tell Nancie and Tim the situation, plus hope to join everyone at some point during the cocktail hour.Throughout all this my nervous system is like a roller coaster ride. Sometimes up and sometimes down, plus the weeping is happening less and less. Did the drink help or not? Good question and not sure of the answer. Anyhow, later that evening and next day I realize I was suffering some mild trauma or shock. By Sunday afternoon I felt tired and drained … I felt fully recovered by Tuesday morning.
As the minutes pass, Antoinette assures me that all will work out. She’s handled this type of situation before at the hair salon. We talk about different topics, actually have a few laughs, while she works on my hair. At this point I’ve got my hands on my scalp to try to lessen the tugging and soreness. The olive oil and hair conditioner are working and Antoinette tells me my hair is getting one heck of a conditioning. The only drawback is I cannot “wash” it for 12 to 24 hours. Ugh! And finally the words I’ve been longing to hear ... “I’ve got the brush out of your hair”. Hurray! Yahoo! Yippee!
We walk to the bathroom, dragging towels with us, where I promptly put head into sink for final phase. Antoinette uses more conditioner and a comb to workout the tangles. At this point my hair looks like an Exxon oil spill, which is upsetting, but at least the friggin brush is out of my hair. Amen![I am so very thankful to Loretta, MaryAnn and Antoinette for their kindness, compassion, professionalism, thoughtfulness and generosity during this situation. They are the heroines of the day and quite an asset to Holiday Inn. The lord heard my pleas and sent these ladies.]
Antoinette gave me “hair instructions”, plus said she’d give me a proper round brush tomorrow morning to utilize. A suitable round brush for women with long, thick hair. Then she left around 5:50pm to head off to a birthday party with her husband. I looked at the clock and gave myself less than an hour to get down to the reunion party, which officially starts at 6pm with cocktail hour. At this point my nervous system started to kick into overdrive. Jumped into the shower to bathe and try to get some of the oil slick out of my hair. One of the things I dislike about most hotel showers is that the water pressure isn’t strong. So annoying! After 7 minutes or so I gave up trying to rinse my hair. Put on fresh makeup, attempted to dry/style my hair and at least my bangles looked normal. When all that was complete I dressed in my new outfit, shoes and jewelry finished up the look. [see photo below]
No amount of fussing will make the hair any better and realized I just had to deal with it.
Before heading to the festivities, I stopped by the front desk to briefly chat with and thank the gal who answered my distress call. Got to the festivities at 6:50pm and ready to party with my classmates. Saw Nancie and Tim first and briefly explained what happened. [Throughout the evening it felt like I was telling the story (just to a select few) in the “third person” mindset, as well as in a humorous fashion. This kept me from tearing up again.] At entrance to small ballroom, Nancie’s parents were helping out with registration, name tags, etc. They are such wonderful folk and so helpful.
From 7pm to 11pm it was non-stop socializing with my classmates. Some I hadn’t seen since the 20th reunion and others since the late 1970s. Shortly after joining the party, MaryAnn [bartender] came over and handed me a Cosmopolitan. Inquired how I was feeling, said I looked great and wouldn’t take any payment for the drink. So very sweet and thoughtful of MaryAnn. [To show my gratitude to those three ladies; I made up 3 pairs each of my bead style earrings, plus a “thank you” card and sent by Fed Ex. I also emailed Loretta two days after the event to convey my gratitude.]
I also took some time to personally thank a fellow classmate and reunion committee member [Ed C]. He came onboard with the committee back in April and was a big help with planning, as well as financial aid. Nancie and Tim shouldn’t have to foot the whole bill and sadly I had little funds to contribute. Ed is such a nice gent and so tall too. Gosh, he’s got to be at least 6’ 4”.[Reunion Committee – Ed, Nancie & I]
I spent that first hour chatting with many classmates and meeting their spouses. Around 7:30pm the buffet was open for all to partake. I continued chatting away with folk and wasn’t at all hungry. Most likely my nerves acting as a suppressant to any hunger pains. While chatting with Eric [whom I hadn’t seen since Scotts Corners Market in 1979] Nancie and then Diane B stopped by urging me to eat something. Smiling at them I said charmingly “yes Mom, I’ll eat soon”. Finally Eric persuaded me to get something, as it appears everyone else had partaken of the good food. Giving him my best smile, I said charmingly, “yes Dad, I’ll eat soon, just want to say hello to one more classmate”. I popped over to the next table and had a brief conversation with Julie and her hubby Keith. Julie showed me pix of her handsome children [age 25 down to 7], all six of them. Wow!
Then I went up to the buffet to grab some salmon and a few veggies. Took my plate and sat down with Nancie, Tim, Diane and her husband Bill. Salmon was very tasty, though with my nerves aflutter I didn’t feel like eating all that much. Then it was time for a bathroom break before Nancie and I did the raffle for fun 1970s style prizes. I headed up to my hotel room and inserted the card key. Door wouldn’t open, so I tried again. Nothing! I’m staying in room 207 and was puzzled why the darn card key wouldn’t work. So back downstairs to the front desk and they had to re-program the darn card key. As soon as I walked into the bathroom, I noticed that all the dirty towels were gone and lots of fresh, new towels were neatly in place. Amen! Freshened up abit and went to lie down for a five minutes with my eyes closed.
Back down at the party we got ready for the Reunion Raffle. I was to pick the names out of a medium size bag and call out to that individual on a microphone. Good thing I was abit tipsy, as I’m not keen on “speaking in front of people”. After getting everyone’s attention, Nancie made announcement about the raffle and also a special “thanks” to Tim for all his hard work. I picked the first name and had a wee bit of a tough time reading the name, as I left my reading glasses in my hotel room. Oops! Giggling! Over the microphone I asked if any ladies had reading glasses I could borrow. There was much chuckling around the room and especially from me. Robin L brought up her spectacles [black with a multi color design on them]. I thanked Robin and complimented her on style of specs. As I called out the names of the winners, Eric took pix of them posing with Nancie and holding the gift. The best raffle prizes were saved for last. They included two Fox Lane mugs and a $77 gift certificate to Borders bookstore. Then it was time to set up for the class reunion group photo. Which was a lot of fun and all of us [ie: classmates] got into the spirit of it all. I’m standing in the middle next to Arthur and Robin. Eric set up his camera on a tripod with a timer and then jumped into the shot. I gave Tim my cheapo camera to take the photo below.
After that the rest of the evening was spent socializing with classmates [ie: many different topics of discussion], exchanging business cards, taking pictures and genuinely having a really good time.
[Note – Fox Lane Ladies Rule!!]
Throughout the whole party the background music was organized by Nancie’s hubby Tim using his ipod and two large speakers. In the days leading up to the party Tim and I worked on a 4 to 5 hour setlist of songs from the 1970s. As 11pm approached, everyone started leaving and saying “goodbyes”. All that was left was the hotel staff, Nancie, Tim, Diane, her hubby Bill and I. As we started cleaning up and dividing the remaining candies, I started feeling hungry. I conveyed this to Nancie and Tim. We drove to a nearby A&P [open till midnight] were I purchased some cough drops and half a turkey hoagie sandwich. They dropped me off back at the hotel and I headed to my room. Ate my sandwich while I washed up and got ready for bed. Really wasn’t tired and my nervous system was still tingling. Read till 12:30am then tried to relax and sleep.Last time I looked at the clock it was 2:30am and then next thing I know the hotel clock alarm goes off at 6:30am. Bloody hell! Geez! Found the OFF button and threw the darn clock against the wall. Attempted to snooze until 8:45am and then got up.
Got everything organized and headed downstairs to meet with Nancie, Diane and Bill for brunch at 10am. We had a nice, tasty, but pricey meal in the hotel restaurant and chat for two hours. Afterwards, Nancie dropped me off at the train station around 12:30pm and I hauled my tired butt back to NYC.