Public or Private, They Were Shenanigans Just the Same

Reliving high school with an Episcopal Academy grad who partied with the ‘Stoga kids.

I confess to being a bit of an opportunist in high school—not that I had much choice. 

Episcopal Academy’s old City Line Avenue campus was a 40-minute drive from my Paoli neighborhood (on a good day), and many of my classmates weren’t much closer. Aside from my carpool mate in the hinterland of Chester Springs, I had the longest commute to school.

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There was no Blue Route in the ’80s, so getting to parties and other extracurricular functions could be a major drag. Fairly quickly, out of sheer necessity, I began piecing together a social network close to home, based mostly around a handful of Conestoga High School kids from my summer swim team.

By the fall of junior year, my weekends and vacations were quite the hodgepodge of high-end/low-end shenanigans. On the EA side of the spectrum, there were pool parties in Gladwyne and Merion, a weekend jaunt to New York City with a pal and his newly single dad, and an Easter Break stay at a buddy’s private estate in the Bahamas, with personal maid service, golf carts and a motorboat. 

’Stoga outings were typically smaller and involved a lot more beer. They unfolded, somewhat recklessly, in such impromptu locations as new home sites, golf courses, national parks (guess which one), and basements with a pool table and AstroTurf carpeting. With this crew, good times were more inventive and unpredictable. 

Though it might seem like the best of both worlds, in hindsight, it was a bit disorienting to flit between the two extremes, never feeling completely comfortable with either. To this day, people still think I went to Conestoga. But the truth is, I formed my most lasting friendships at Episcopal. In fact, I’m tighter with a few of them now than I was back then.

This past May, EA’s Class of ’84 had its 30th reunion, and the turnout was quite impressive. The night before Saturday’s events on the Newtown Square campus, almost 30 of us piled into Bill Giles’ suite at Citizens Bank Park (thanks to his son, Chris, who was my classmate). The place was rocking; friendships were renewed. Unusually close, we were the school’s first coed experiment. Sure, there were cliques and the occasional exclusionary tactics, but it’s funny how that all recedes with time—especially when you were a class of a little over 90. 

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As we partied away, the Phils’ abysmal bullpen lost yet another game in the late innings. No one seemed to notice.

Here’s to high school.

(left) Hobart’s yearbook page. (far right) Reunion time for EA’s Class of ’84. 

Our Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs Party is July 25!