Forty years later after high school

Last weekend, I attended my 40th high school reunion. We have been holding them religiously every five years, with a 55th birthday celebration thrown in. I have attended five of the reunions over the years. Let me give credit to Karen and Tanya as our stellar reunion coordinators, who have made it all happen.

At the Saturday dinner and dance, the alumni wore tags with our senior picture and names. The married females who changed their names had maiden names highlighted for our memory banks. The guy in my picture had far more and darker hair and a thinner face. The unseen torso was thinner as well.

Frank and Glenn, two of my three best friends, were there and made it more special. John is not a reunion afficionado. Yet, seeing other good friends, acquaintances and classmates was fun. We learned of children, grandchildren, illnesses and recoveries, and some who are struggling. There are several of us who can trace our histories back to the same elementary school, which adds more seasoning to our collective stew.

The music was vintage 1970s with a little 1980s thrown in. We graduated in the disco age, which may not be the greatest lyrical music, but does lend itself to dancing. Even us oldies can move if the inspiration is supplied. That inspiration  would include The Commodores, The Spinners, KC and the Sunshine Band, Earth Wind and Fire, Donna Summer and The Bee Gees to name a few.

The stories were plentiful. Here are a few remembrances from years past:

  • Cheryl  could never keep a rear view mirror on her car, as it kept breaking off as she and her friend kept shifting it to put on lipstick and make-up.
  • Jimmy could shoot a basketball from such long-range, he once made one from downtown, but the referee waived it off because he stepped out of bounds.
  • Randy would be seen running when we went to the beach and we would see him still running when we came back.
  • Our biology teacher called everyone Professor, so we would refer to each other in the halls and in class in that manner.
  • Returning from a baseball games still in uniform, we came up to a toll bridge. We realized our money was in the trunk, so a quick run was needed to get the quarter (yes, a quarter).
  • We used to wear these ugly leisure suits with wide collared floral patterns. The first time I wore mine, my girlfriend burned a hole in it with her cigarette while dancing.
  • Our German teacher looked like Mr. Clean. When we perplexed him, he would pull at his bushy eyebrows. Alternatively, he would rub his eyes with the palms of his hands.
  • My best basketball game was when I had to borrow Frank’s shoes. Frank, of course, attributes my new scoring touch with his shoes.
  • The older bully who tormented our class is now a high school principal. Our class life of the party is now a minister. You just never know where your journey will take you.
  • Becky, one of our talented gymnastics and dancers, just retired from teaching arts and dance.
  • Frank became the sports reporter he planned to be and now has a sports talk show. Sherri, Glenn’s wife, laughs and teases Frank about being paid to talk the way he always talks.
  • Speaking of Glenn and Sherri, they met at our high school and remain married to this day. Jimmy and Rhonda are as well. That is unusual in this day and age.

I could go on, but suffice it to say, it is nice to have this foundation of people and memories. I hope we will continue.

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16 thoughts on “Forty years later after high school

  1. My high school was HUGE and I never kept in touch with my friends from that era. As the years passed the memories faded. They were not good times for me: we had little money and I worked after school to help out and had few opportunities to socialize with my friends (who were, on the whole, much wealthier than we were!). You seem to have find memories and I am pleased for you.

    • Thanks Hugh. I think everyone’s experience varies. Our class had 493 graduates, yet the reunion has about 120 alumni in attendance, leaving over 370 who did not attend. It is probably not the same 120 each time. But, many choose not to come, like my friend John.

      I know many successful folks like you who did not relish high school. As you note, you had other priorities. For some, they did not find their path until later or did not merchandise their path for others, as they did not really care for what others may have thought. There is a lot of superficial behavior much of which is not healthy.

      Thanks for your thoughts and perspective. Keith

    • Persia, the music brought back memories. In high school, all the girls had a crush on KC, while the guys were singing “Brick…house” to The Commodores. Keith

  2. Note to Readers: Two favorite memories from high school are we were highly competitive in basketball and baseball. I was fortunate to be on both teams, but played a supporting role to our better players. In basketball, we won 18 games and lost in the city semi-finals. In baseball, we won 19 games and lost in the state regional finals to the eventual state champion. Being a part of a team where you work hard is very important. It could be a band or choir or it could be a debate team or some other sport. The key is working together toward a common goal.

  3. I played basketball one year. I was, in a word, TERRIBLE. My best friend and I were bench warmers. My friend wasn’t terrible, but she and I giggled and messed around so much, she didn’t take the game seriously. I hardly ever got any playing time, even though we were the Bad News Bears of basketball and always lost, often by many points. Once I got put in the game in the last minute or so. A teammate very unexpectedly passed me the ball. Since I was NEVER passed the ball, I didn’t even look for it. It hit me square in the face. The whole crowd laughed. I looked up to see my parents’ reaction. My mother was crying tears…of laughter. This story is a metaphor for my entire grade school experience. I may have blogged about some of these stories a few years ago. It’s funny now…

    • Amaya, that is so funny. I am glad your parents could laugh with you. Playing a city league game after college, I forgot my contacts. Someone through me a pass that whizzed by my head. Fortunately, it did not hit me.

      Some of the funniest things happen in sports, so a sense a humor helps immensely. Thanks for sharing your Bad News Bears story. Keith

  4. Note to Readers: One of the funniest events in high school is the annual Mr. Ugly contest where senior guys dress up like girls and lip-synch to songs. Alcohol may have been consumed beforehand. Our opening number was “I’m Getting Married in the Morning,” from My Fair Lady. As we turned sideways en masse, we revealed that we were all pregnant.

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