• Best Buddies and Long Lines: Diary of a Reunion Chair

    Tuesday, July 11, 2006
    News Type

Four years at Dartmouth, four years of medical school, eight years of surgical training, and a practice that has included a lot of trauma have prepared me to be Reunion chair. Here's the inside story of the Class of 1981 Reunion, June 14 - 18, 2006.

Rick Silverman ‘81

Friday, June 16, 2006

6:24 am

Two Aleve down the hatch. Okay, there's a pattern here. Of course, yesterday it had to do with packing and loading boxes, whereas today I think it has more to do with beer.

Amazingly, classmates continued to send emails, saying they wanted to come to Reunion and asking about registration and housing. I'm not sure what they were doing when our mailings went out over the past year, but they clearly never looked at the Class of 1981 Web site that GregClow '81 spent hours refining and updating.

I bet some people thought they'd skip Reunion, and then woke up yesterday morning to gorgeous weather and thought, why not drive to Hanover for the weekend? As a dear friend of mine often says, “Proper prior planning prevents piss-poor performance” (note to self: good thing to say at final banquet, when I thank everyone).

7:28 am
Went to the beautiful new Fitness Center in Alumni Gym for a workout. They were letting alumni in at no charge during Reunion week—a very smart idea if they hope to bag a million and name something.

10:17 am
Breakfast at Thayer Dining Hall provided more food than anyone could possibly need, but I hoped that everyone would eat a lot, so we'd get the most for our breakfast money. From there, the need to put out fires and check on things took me to the tennis courts—the water requested earlier hadn't yet arrived, but the feisty '81s were battling nonetheless.

11:35 am
Sat in on our panel, “Looking at Today's Dartmouth through the Eyes of Today's Students,” where four of our legacies discussed their experiences at Dartmouth. The students were articulate and funny. And candid. Maybe we should have invited an administrator or two . . . but I suspect the administrators are aware of most of what students are saying. Students seem more than willing to express their minds. Were we so vocal?

1 pm
Hundreds of people gathered at lunch tables on the grounds of the Dartmouth Outing Club House. I arrived to find Lynne panicking over a missing clown, who showed up shortly, relieving her worry. I finally had a few minutes to chat with a couple of classmates and get beyond pleasantries.

Enjoying a leisurely walk back to the tent, I was drawn to a patch of grass by Thel and, to my astonishment, found a four-leaf clover at my feet. This surely meant good weather for the Field of Dreams. Phew!

3:30 pm
We set up for our wine tasting at Brace Commons. As I eyed the crowd arriving, I hoped we had enough wine and cups. Even if we didn't, I told myself, everyone will enjoy it. After all, I had a four-leaf clover.

6:30 pm
WE JUST HAD THE EVENT OF EVENTS. Our wine tasting was spectacular. Around a hundred people showed up, and it was fun, informative, and tasty! Steve Pignatiello '81 ran it, pouring five wines from the Burgundy region that only he imports to the United States. His stories focused on the winemakers; he let the wines speak for themselves.

I'm certain that every class having a Reunion for the rest of Dartmouth history will be envious of this event. (Not mentioning any names, '80s!)

I'm running on empty now, but I've done this before. Four years at Dartmouth, four years of medical school, eight years of surgical training, and a practice that has included a lot of trauma have prepared me to be Reunion chair. Though I'd love a power nap, I've gabbed way too long to leave myself ten minutes for that.

Down to the river for the lobster bake.

10:42 pm
Chairing a Reunion is like throwing a party for 600 people at minimal personal expense. Not bad! I get to hang out with so many wonderful friends.

All evening, everyone seemed to have such a great time, talking and eating, draped in bibs dotted with pieces of lobster meat and shells. People continued to arrive, and George kept telling me he'd seen a person—no, a couple people—no, several people—who had not registered. Indeed, after guaranteeing lobster for 410 people, we'd fed 454 people. But he knew who they were, and he'd find them!

We also discovered that we'd arranged for a bus for transportation, which made many people happy, since they didn't have to walk back up the hill.

1:44 am
Electrical problems at the registration table, where power was needed for the laptop and lighting. So registration after dinner was limited. There may have been some frustration on the part of the attendees, but probably more on George's part, since we were a bit anxious about our numbers and the unregistered people at dinner. Someone was looking for a power cord, but nothing surfaced. My laptop was running down ...