Saturday, August 08, 2009

Thoughts on my 20th OHS Class Reunion

We got together last night in East Lansing as part of my 20 year high school reunion. We met up at a bar as part one of whole 20th festivities. I met over at Matt's house and we went over with a few other guys to the event. Matt is one of the few people I've really kept in touch with from my childhood. He grew up across the street from me as a kid, and as different as we are, we have this bond that's lasted through elementary, middle school, high school and college. Matt is a conduit to just about everyone else in our class. He has this amazing memory of things that happened 20 and 30 years ago and he kept me rolling on the ground as he'd bring up stories of dumb things we'd done. It was funny how once we piled in the car we reverted back to the same roles and stupid stuff we'd do then.

It seemed like there were a ton of people at the event, but in hindsight of going through the yearbook, I'd guess 25% of the class. Throughout the event, I'd basically wander from person, catch up for a while and after a few minutes move on to the next group of people and talk. Everyone seemed genuinely happy to be there (except maybe the spouses) and interested in knowing what was happening with everyone. I was amazed at some of the distances people traveled to be there, including Alaska. It seemed like there were five basic questions:
  1. Where do you live now?
  2. Are you married?
  3. Any kids?
  4. What are you doing these days?
  5. Who do you stay in touch with from school?
Some random thoughts
  • It was interesting seeing how people are essentially the same after 20 years, yet different. My friend Erik went from being a heavy metal head banger to a doctor, yet he still tells a story exactly the same way, using the exact same gestures. We laughed as i told him my son now listened to some of the same iron maiden songs we'd listened to growing up. He remembered an autographed Ronnie James Dio album I'd given him about 20 years ago, which I'd totally forgotten.
  • Everyone seemed genuinely interested, kind and excited to be there, hanging out with each other and catching up. The spouses -not so much.
  • I talked to one couple who'd been married longer than Cathie and I @ 18 years.
  • The two most memorable stories involved one guy who's a state trooper and was lead the team assigned to Tom Izzo throughout the final four. The other great story is from a classmate whose the director of entertainment at the Hard Rock Casino in Vegas. He had some great stories about Axl Rose and other artists who play there.
  • One classmate had six kids under 6, two sets of twins in that.
  • I hadn't cracked my yearbook in 20 years. We opened it up over at Lisa Sadao's house and went through laughing at the pictures and the things they let us write in there.
  • I love stories, and it was fascinating to me to hear all of the stories of where people have come and how they'd changed. I heard of people who weren't there whose lives and are in shambles, and others who are great and happy.
  • I was amazed at how many people live near me that i had no idea about.
  • As I looked around, I tried to figure out where I fit in back in high school. There were all sorts of pockets of people that I would hang out with, but no real specific clique. I'd hang with the stoners, the brains, the art kids and even some of the jocks. One person I talked to last night described me as being "neutral" in high school, going from group to group. Probably about the best way I can think to describe it.
After we closed out the bar, we all headed over to Lisa Sadao's parents house in Okemos and hung out until about 4am. We hung out by the fire, caught up more, laughed about the yearbook and talked some more. Some people walked home, and others piled 10+ people deep into a mini-van and were bussed home that way - some in worse shape than others. I was planning on staying at Will's, but figured I was close enough and wide awake enough to just head home and crash in my own bed, which after being gone for 3 days felt good.

I got home about 5Am and all of the doors were locked. I'd been up about 25 hours at this point and was seriously considering just sitting in my car and going to sleep rather than wake up Cath, the kids and Jon's kids who are staying with us. From the garage, I found a screwdriver and was able to open and climb in through a window to make it home.

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