Sunday, September 21, 2008

Forget the Butterfly Effect...

You've probably all heard of the Butterfly Effect--where something as small as the beating of butterfly wings can set off a series of events that change the course of history.

I think it should be changed to the Lunch Table effect. I realized today that the thing that has played the most pivotal role in the course of my life events has been the table at which I sat for lunch in school.

Let's start with the first day of middle school. The Powers That Be at Fairfield Woods Middle School decided that for the first several weeks of the school year, we would be seated alphabetically at lunch.

My maiden name is Murray. It should come as no surprise, then, that some of my best friends back then were named Moore, Maguire, Mahoney and Molloy. As the year went on, non M names became part of the circle, and an M or two drifted away to more alphabetically diverse lunch tables. But two of my oldest and dearest friends are M's that I was forced to sit with at lunch.

What if my last name had been Smith? I'd have been at a totally different table with totally different kids. I could have ended up a stoner or a metal head or a popular girl. My whole life could have taken a drastically different direction just because of where I sat!

The M's, a C and an S at my wedding reception

Halfway through my junior year, my parents decided to move to Wyoming. I was a chubby, shy kid, and I was going through some serious culture shock, so I sat by myself at lunch writing interminable letters to the M's back in civilization.

After a week or so of this, Celeste, who sat next to me in Algebra, came over and invited me to sit with her and her friends.

Guess what? Those table-mates ended up being my closest companions on the journey from adolescence to adulthood.

J, Me & A

W & R

A & W

I even married one of them...

What if Celeste hadn't invited me to sit with them? I'd probably be a lonely, crazy cat lady or something equally horrible by now. Or maybe I would have stayed at my debutante college in Virginia, married a rich boy from one of the equally pretentious male schools in the area and would now be a kept woman, spending my husband's old money, living in a Southern mansion where I'd lunch with ladies and drink mint juleps and pop valium all day...Darn you, Celeste! Why didn't you mind your own business and leave me to my fate?

I kid, I kid...sort of...

Anyway, this is the real reason I wrote this post. I needed an excuse to post my all time favorite picture ever.

My furure husband and Celeste at the Junior prom.
If she'd have just kept her mouth shut she could have had him all to herself... :)


  1. That's a very funny picture and a sweet story.

    I'm still waiting to be a kept woman.

  2. I love your excuse to post cheesy school pictures. It's so fun, isn't it?

  3. Great post! I totally do not remember the alphabetical lunch table thing at FWMS...are you sure it just didn't end up that way by chance? I reallllly do not remember that, but that is not saying much, lol. I am sitting here trying to think of who I would have had to sit with, being a "C". And by all means, post more pics, esp if you have any from the Ffld days :)

    Great pic from your reception, by the way...we all look SO :)

  4. I totally don't even remember that photo. I remember that day, but I don't remember any photos. I don't have a lot of photos actually - just the annual flag photo. Oh and I have the photo from Boston. I do still have that outfit though. Maybe I'll wear it tomorrow if it still fits. :)

    Love the trip down memory lane!

  5. Dan, I promise we had to sit alphabetically. It was by team, though. In 6th grade I had to sit with April and Ryan and Sarah Molloy and a couple others I don't remember. Adriana moved in later in the year.

    Anyway, I remember because on the first day of seventh grade I said something to April about sitting with her at lunch and she said I couldn't. I spent all morning thinking I'd done something to make her mad, and then finally remembered that we'd be in our alphabetical seat assignments and she was on a different team.

    I remember minute details of inconsequential stuff, but forget the important stuff. :)

  6. Ooooo! That is blackmailing! Where is Celeste?? I want you to post pictures of Brandi then let us know where to find them! :)

  7. Brandi you crack me up. That was great. Your wedding pic is super cute too. Oh my gosh you guys look so young.


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