The West Liberty High School class of 1984 just had a super-fantastic reunion at the Riverside Casino. A small, but fun group of us got together for good food, good times, good music, and cold beer.
The organizers only got one thing wrong: The reunion year.
According to them, this was our 30 year reunion. Assuming the average person is 17- or 18-years-old when they graduate from high school, that would mean that we are damn near 50.
That can't be right.
I've done the math and I'm pretty sure I'm only damn near 40. Ish. (But some mornings I do feel damn near 50 for those first two or twenty minutes right after I get out of bed.) Of course I did drop calculus after only two days my final semester of high school, and went on to become an English major in college, so I could be wrong.
There were a few minutes right after I arrived at the reunion that I thought maybe the organizers were right. Maybe we really were damn near 50. Or, more accurately, somehow my classmates were damn near 50. When I walked in to the casino, I was taken aback by how... well, to be blunt, how old everyone else looked!
My God! It looked like my classmates had really gone down hill fast. Grey hair, no hair, thick eyeglasses, walkers, motorized scooters (OK, I was jealous of those) ear trumpets... and all that polyester held up with suspenders! I didn't recognize a soul!
I tried to introduce myself and chat up a few of the better-preserved classmates I saw standing around the bar (a familiar sight). I wasn't real sure of their names, but I thought one of them started with a “B,” or maybe a “K.” On the other hand, they had absolutely no recollection of me at all! Not that I was Miss Popularity or anything, but there were only 80-some in our graduating class. Poor dears must need even thicker glasses, I thought. But they're already nearing Hubble telescope proportions.
I started to worry that maybe those old-age symptoms were contagious, because I was developing a loud bell-like ringing in my ears. That gave me an idea – they may not remember me, but they couldn't forget our high school mascots.
“Did you realize they've changed the girls' teams from the Belles to the Comets?” I asked, hoping this would spark some of that old school spirit. They looked at each other. Finally! I'm getting through, I thought. Then they started to edge away. I was about to tell the bartender to cut them off when I heard someone call my name.
“Joanne?” It was my friend Tammy and her husband. And they both looked young! “What are you doing out here in the casino? Why aren't you in the ballroom at the reunion?” she asked.
Ohhhh, I see. This is the... and the reunion is in the.... Well, that explained a lot.
They guided me across the casino floor, through the doors and out to the designated ballroom. As we stood in the hallway signing the reunion guest book I scanned the crowd. Ahh, this was a much younger-looking group of people.
All in all, a good-looking, young-looking, fine group of people. Much too young-looking to be damn near 50. And much too young-acting to be damn near 50. We still like our music loud, our beer cold, and our laughter raucous. The memories flowed freely, although I suspect some of the details may have been embellished or diminished over time. I recall being much more hip, cool and physically coordinated than some of the stories indicated.
And quite frankly, some stories just seemed a little too tabloid to be true. As I point out frequently to my children, I never did anything wrong when I was in high school. I recall weekends spent helping shut-ins and the less fortunate, volunteering at soup kitchens and rolling bandages to support our boys in the trenches. That is, when I wasn't studying or reading scripture to the blind.
I've missed the last couple of reunions, so I did notice a few changes from, say, our first reunion. There was a lot more talk about kids (and some grandkids!) and memories of classmates and parents who were no longer with us.
Picture taking was a lot easier at this reunion, too! Everyone could whip out their cell phone to take a selfie or groupie, provided they could hold the phone far enough away to see the icons without their biofocals. Of course it would have been easier if our kids were there to show us how to turn the flash on.
Judging from how many of us stayed until damn near midnight (well past our bedtimes) I think we all had a wonderful time. The organizers did such a good job several of us suggested they could plan the next one as well.
Although I might volunteer to help a little.
I want to make sure they get the year right next time.