We also had psychic wars to win. At the reunion, one effusive fellow approached each of us and announced fervently, "I remember you!" We stared blankly at his rounded features and thinning hair. Then the light dawned. It was Crazy Carl, who used to wander the campus like an emaciated and weeping Oscar Wilde, crying on our shoulders in existential angst. When asked about the weeping, he smiled wryly and said, "I got over it."
For those who loved their days at Reed, the reunion was a joyful journey home. But for those whose relationship to the institution was more ambiguous, there was a healing of old wounds. We came to campus and faced old ghosts. We found our bogeymen had shrunk to proper proportions, and, like Crazy Carl, we got over it.
The reunion culminated in an all-class dance hosted by the class of ’68. Our own Laura and the Vipers dredged up their loosely arranged rock'n'roll while a sixties light show swirled on the wall behind them. Laura Fisher, wearing head-to-toe red, white, and blue sequins and sounding, as she always did, like the voice of Betty Boop on methamphetamines, belted out tunes like "Mustang Sally," "Respect," and "Walking the Dog."
Members of reunion classes spanning six decades danced in couples, in groups, and by themselves. They snake danced and circle danced. Dogs wandered through. Jim Webb wandered through. It was a real Reed dance.
The band began to play a foot-stomping version of "May the Circle Be Unbroken." Some dancers held hands and formed a line. Others joined. The line swerved into a circle. More joined. The line broke, and we spontaneously formed two concentric circles. The inner circle pressed forward. The outer circle surrounded it. Everyone packed together in the middle of the dance floor, holding hands and swaying arms overhead. With nobody to choreograph this, we combined our energy into one central spot. We pulled together like the matter in the universe just before the big bang. We were joyous. We were together. We were hot. We were the notorious class of ’68.
Constance Crooker is an attorney and writer in Portland. This is her first article for Reed.