Saturday, September 17, 2016

High School Reunion

This summer was my 40th high school reunion. It is difficult to describe my feelings towards this reunion. I decided a few years ago that I would go to this one and I'm not sure why. I think as I get older I'm getting a lot more sentimental. I did go to my tenth year reunion and it was fun, but as this reunion approached my feelings have been very different.

I'm sure no one who knows me would be surprised to learn that I was not very popular in high school. I was the classic nerd, but even for a nerd I was socially inept. I had Lester and my two close friends that I did everything with, but outside of them most people hardly knew that I existed.

I never really thought about it at the time, but thinking back, it is obvious to me now that having a lot of friends was just not important to me. A few people teased me, but most people were simply indifferent, and I think that is mainly because I was indifferent to them. I am sure that if I put myself out there at all I would have had plenty of friends, but I was way too shy to do that and quite content to live my own life and do my own thing.

So as my reunion approached I was filled with no small amount of trepidation. Would anyone even remember me? Would I remember any of them? I have to admit I was nervous. One thing that helped me is the fact that Larry Hartley, (the class president), lives up in Orange County, and he reached out to me years ago on Facebook. He kept promoting this reunion and encouraged me to go. Without that it might not have happened. Pam Hunter also reached out to me several years ago, and we've become friends. I thought it would be great to see her again as well.

The first big reunion event was a golf tournament, but I am no golfer so I skipped that and planned on dinner that evening (Aug 5). I was pleasantly surprised. The instant I walked in the door, Alan Schideler said "Hi Fred". I did not recognize him but he remembered me. I think our graduating class had about 120 people in it and I bet more than half of them showed up. Together with spouses there were over a hundred people there. If not for the name tags I don't think I would have recognized more than three or four of them. I was happy to see that once I read their name tags however, there were only three or four people that I didn't remember. I guess that tells me that I wasn't totally out of it as a teenager. I was also pleasantly surprised that pretty much everyone remembered me as well. Many of them didn't even need to read my name tag, but I have changed a lot so I can't fault anyone who didn't recognize me.

I enjoyed the way the evening was planned. Mostly people took turns telling stories that they remembered. Of course I wasn't involved in any of them, but I guess if I never attended a single football game, and no more than two or three basketball games, I'm probably not going to be in too many stories. I still enjoyed listening to the stories of the things that were going on while I was in my own little shell. As I listened to everyone talk though, a strange feeling came over me. It was kind of a melancholy feeling, but at the same time comforting. While I wasn't invited to any of the parties, and I didn't participate in any of the activities, I realized that these people were still a huge part of my life. All of my formative years were spent in their company. I went to the same classes that they did and studied along side of them, and while I've always thought that I was a complete outsider, I now realize that they are a big part of who I am. I am from Cardston, I was born and raised there. I am who I am because of the class of 1976. What a great reunion. And to top it all off, dinner was roast beef, potatoes and gravy. My favorite.

Saturday morning the class of 76 was invited to ride on a float in the Heritage Days Parade. As long as I can remember, I've always hated the floats that had all of the old people waving to everyone. Now I was one of the old people waving to everyone. I didn't care, it was fun anyway. Kira and Sarah were able to come down with Kira's kids to watch the parade. I threw a generous portion of the allotted candy their way. They recorded a video as we went by. I apologize that it is sideways. I can't figure out how to rotate it.

After the parade was a picnic held at Shane Phillips home. He lives almost directly across the street from the house I grew up in. It was strange to see my old house again. We brought Kira and Sarah and the grandkids to the picnic wit us. I spent the entire time visiting with as many people as I could. I'm sure I spoke with more people at that reunion than I did in all three years of high school. It was fun.


We spent the afternoon with cousins in Glenwood and then Kira and Sarah took the kids back to Calgary. Lisa and I stayed for a fireside given by Jack Stone Sunday evening. Jack was a wonderful seminary teacher for the released time seminary classes. I mostly attended early morning seminary, but I did take a few classes from him. I didn't realize at the time that we were the first seminary class he taught, and as soon as we graduated he was transferred to other positions. Based on the fireside he shared with us he apparently only got better. It was great to see him.

In addition to the classmates I was able to see at the reunion events I also came across Debbie Jones, Claire Henn and Pam Garner.

I'm really glad I made the effort to attend this reunion. It was good for me.

Thank you class of '76 and everyone who made this happen.

~ 1st Row: Natalie Ackroyd, Serena Broadhead, Terrie Olsen, Lori May, Darlyn Boyson, Ruth Stanford, Shirley Watson, Dawna Folsom, Teresa Parker, Jeannie Yip. 
~ 2nd ROW: Shane Phillips, Allan Shideler, Frank Daniels, Ginny Lowry, Cyndi Cameron, Susan Shaw, Dianne Orr, Connie Smith, Lorie Carlson, Marina Russell, Jim Redford, Cory Bevans, Patti Reeves, Larry Hartley, Shane Lacousta.
~ 3rd ROW: Rick Williams, Ken Sommerfeldt, Nardene Broadhead, David Lowry, Ed Mackenziei, Carolyn Vare, Loni Sheen, Bob Tagg, Paula Gallup, Kathy Cahoon, Pat Yuill, Mark Isfeld, Jim Redford, Wendell Shaw, Brian Eakett, Colin Nelson, Todd Bevans.
~ BACK ROW: Todd Wolsey, Sterling Martin, Walter Armsworthy, Fred Leavitt, Lance Bevans, Kelly Wood, David Johnson, Hal Sloan, Merlin Bevans, John Gibb.
~ Also Made Appearance’s: Cheryl Orr, Fred Holland, Dianne Olsen, Trudy Pitcher. From the Float we saw: Jon Remington, Dienna Quinton. Chance Encounter: Stanley Big Sorrel Horse.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I didn't even go to school with you and I had a blast at your reunion. I'm so glad we went!