...and a strange thing started happening during that week. After putting that idea that I was turning "14" out into the universe...I found a number of old friends from high school and junior high on Facebook.
One of those friends is Geno Bisconte. Geno and his brother, Peter, were friends I'd met back when I was in 7th grade. Technically, I'd met them three years earlier, very briefly, because their mother was my English teacher. Though she taught at a public school, her boys attended private school. She would bring them into school with her when they had off from school for Catholic holidays. Peter was in my grade, Geno was one grade behind.
When we got to 7th grade, my best friends' mother sent them to private school. Jorge was in 7th grade, Robert was still just in 6th grade but she didn't want to split them to two different schools so along he went. Peter was in Jorge's class. Geno was in Robert's class.
In the beginning, the boys mostly hung out with the equivalent brother in the same grade. After we all hung out more, though, personalities started to gravitate more and outrank age...Geno would tend to hang out more with Jorge and I, Peter with Robert.
When Jorge and Robert moved to Miami (at the end of my tenth grade year) we all still stayed in contact (even though I was in public school and Peter and Geno were still in private school). In my senior year, I flew to Miami to visit for Christmas. Peter, Geno and their parents drove down for the same holiday week.
It was awesome. We went to a bunch of movies, an NFL football game (Dolphins vs. Seahawks...an especially fun game since Peter's favorite team was the Seahawks. It was always fun watching all their sports rivalries play out).
Anyway, I'd stumbled across Geno's facebook recently (thanks to the ability to search by high school). We'd been chatting here and there online. He is mostly based in NYC, since he is a stand-up comedian now (you can buy his CD at: Geno Bisconte - This Isn't What I Do For Fun. I would give a warning that Geno's material won't be for everybody. It tends to be in the Howard Stern/South Park politically incorrect-range. He also can lean towards the Don Rickles insult the audience members side. If this offends you, don't even click please. The same holds for This youtube video of a set he did at Caroline's).
Yesterday morning, he'd posted on his MYSPACE that he was going to be doing a gig in Wilmington, De. This was only going to be an hour's drive away. Meanwhile, the 29th was his 40th birthday. How could I resist going out to the show?
I'll admit my inner shy kid at first was a little nervous about going to the show, but when I walked into the place, it was wonderful. This bar, Gallucios was very much like my old haunt, Fat Jack's, where I used to host karaoke with Big Al. The people were all fairly congenial, it seemed like the kind of place where eventually "everybody knows your name"...
Geno got there only a few minutes after I did and it was great to be able to feel like we were just picking up a conversation right where we left off...especially considering that would have been 24 years ago. In fact, though we spoke on the phone and have recently been e-mailing through Facebook, yesterday was EXACTLY 24 years since we both left the Miami trip and was the very last time before now that we'd seen each other. He told me that Peter had planned to come, but couldn't because he ride bailed on him (a shame, 'cause I'd really have liked to have seen Peter, too).
The show started quickly after Geno's arrival (shortly after he went through and worked the crowd a bit). He and his partner, Dan, handed out little "golf" pencils and answer sheets throughout the bar and started the trivia quiz. There was a nice balance between sports, entertainment and general trivia knowledge (a lot of it based on recent events...one question was to name Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol, and Bristols' new baby, Tripp, for example).
I had a great time. There was a lot of comedy from both Dan and Geno between the questions. I also made a new pair of friends. A brother and sister who were sitting next to me. We started sharing answers, 'cause for us it wasn't about the contest so much as just knowing the answers and having a good time. The brother, Adam, just friended me on Facebook, too, so I'm hoping I'll see them again when I return to see Geno's "Quizzo" show in the future (though likely not until early February at the least, since we've got way too much on our plates with "The Idiot Box" and our upcoming trip to Walt Disney World in January!
All in all, a great night. It was so nice to reconnect with an old friend. What a great way to end the year on a high note!