An invitation came for my 20-year high school reunion. After checking the current date, referring to an old yearbook, doing some math and crying a little, I realized the invitation had, indeed, arrived at the correct address.
This July I will join my classmates in catching up with each other as we reminisce about both the thrilling celebrations and the grief-laden tragedies that bound us together forever.
There will be talk of state championships and school plays; that one kid who swallowed a mouse on a (very profitable) dare. But my favorite legendary tale will always be the Pre-Prom Prank of 1990 …
I attended a Catholic high school that, as Catholic schools tend to do, strongly emphasized abstinence until marriage. Very strongly.
It was with this particular virtue in mind that a few seniors drafted and mailed a letter to the parents of junior girls on school letterhead, complete with a pasted-in copy of the principal’s signature, the week before prom.
This letter, carefully crafted by these unlikely suspects, read something to the effect of the following:
“We understand prom season is a time when many teens choose to become sexually active.
“As the Junior-Senior Prom approaches, we are doing everything we can to prevent STDs and teen pregnancy and have invited Planned Parenthood to distribute condoms at our prom as well as answer any questions students have about sex …”
In spite of the fact that the letter, upon close inspection, resembled a taped-together ransom note with misspelled words and hand-addressed envelopes, nearly every parent who received it 100 percent believed this conservative Catholic high school had decided to go all Sharon Stone on them and offer sex ed at the prom.
As you might imagine, this did not sit well with said parents. Exactly 36 hours after these letters were dropped in the mail, the switchboard lit up like the Fourth of July.
“Good morning, how may I help you?” the secretary did her best to keep up as the eight lines blinked mercilessly at her, “… letter? ... Planned Parenthood? ... No, we didn’t … Can you hold please?”
The halls were abuzz with speculation and doubled-over laughter, but no one ever knew who the masterminds were behind the operation, a secret that was tightly held for an entire decade until the friends finally came forward at our 10-year reunion.
They even brought copies of the letter, which they read during the dinner that night, for us to keep. And we laughed all over again, just like we did in high school.
Knowing I can go back in time and unapologetically laugh like a teenager over the most sophomoric of drivel for one night is exactly why I did not hesitate to RSVP.
We may have traded in juvenile sex jokes for more mature stories of carpooling and wrinkle cream, but in the end it just doesn’t matter. Class of ’90? I will see you in July.