I’m Never Going Back–July 27, 2009 at 12:42 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
Yeah, the reunion was this past weekend. Yeah. Good stuff.
There was a casual meet-and-greet at the golf course clubhouse in town Friday, but I couldn’t get off for work for that one. Saturday was the dinner and what have you at the Legion Hall, and Sunday morning was a brunch at the Original Springs Hotel. The golf course is on the edge of town and the Legion hall is in the middle, yet the town is small enough that if you are in the right place, you can see all three of these places at the same time.
We rolled into town a little early because I wasn’t sure exactly where the Legion Hall was, although I was fairly certain that if I drove around a bit, I would stumble upon it–hey! There it is! We were a bit early; the first ones there, actually. Another couple strode in right behind us: Paul and his wife. Paul was our valedictorian, and I don’t think he has appeared at any previous reunions. His wife was Tanya, and she was nice as well–her and Detroit hit it off and chatted. Paul seemed…different. Better. He looked the same. However, his whole demeanor was that of a relaxed, well-adjusted adult. In high school, he was one strung-out, stressed-out kid. His dad had been the principal of the grade school and then became the superintendent of the school district. All of his older brothers had been star athletes. There was alot of pressure on him, I’m sure, to perform both academically and on the ball court. I remember seeing his pens and pencils always chewed up.
Other people started to arrive after our first round of drinks. Melinda, who had been one of the organizers, and her husband Kevin. Both had been in our class. Different cliques: Melinda was a prep, and Kevin was a farmer. On 90210 and other shows about high school, they try to show all the cliques but they never show the farmers. Kevin was bald, and Melinda had spread in the ass.
I don’t remember when everyone had arrived, so let’s just take them as I remember them.
Norbert looked completely different. He was a short, chunky kid. Now he was a short, thin guy. His wife was chunky. I could see in her the potential to be a controlling bitch, but maybe I’m just giving her the benefit of the doubt. I did ask her if Norby was the same as he was in high school. "How so?"
"We shared a common bond. We were both horn-dogs." She laughed and rolled her eyes, and said there had been no change.
Carl had been a skinny red head, and now he was built like a weight-lifter. With thin hair. I did not recognize one Todd at all, but both Todd’s had hot wives. Todd 1 married Trina, a girl that had been a year or two behind us. I remember her and all of her sisters had just been smokin hot in hot school, destined to become strippers. Todd 2 had a wife that was new to us. She was pretty made up, almost plasticine. I wondered how a pig farmer rated a chick like that. Maybe without all of it she looked like Michael Jackson?
Keith was there without his wife. He lives in Texas now. Keith and Paul were the ones who got this one started, I think. They both seemed so mature and non-judgmental, which is kind of the opposite of how they were in school. I mean, they were both jocks and brains, kings of the school looking down on us lesser mortals. They still looked down on us, since Paul is six-five and Keith looked to be six-seven.
Chuck was there with his wife, Sarah. Sarah had been a year behind us, I think. They have been together since high school. While Chuck had been an outsider and new to us our senior year, Sarah came from an established family. I wonder what kind of deal had been struck to approve that marriage.
Kathy was there, and this time she had a husband. I don’t think she was married at the last one. I always liked her. I swear, if I had known better, she would have been the one I would have had the crush on instead of these other chicks. But hell–I liked them all.
Mary Kay was there with her husband. She looked much the same. She is just sweet and wholesome and cute. All-American girl. I imagine she is a freak in the–never mind.
Pam showed up with her husband. When I saw Pam–not to mention Chuck and also another Paul, but especially Pam–I thought of the line Joan Cusack said in "Gross Point Blank." She said of her own reunion, "It was just as though everyone had swollen."
Pam had been the queen of the popular crowd, and went out with Dean for much of high school. Dean was not her husband, this big guy that looked like–remember that Austin Powers movie, the first one? The big Korean wrestler dude? Pam’s husband looked like my cousin Kevin, after he had eaten the big Korean wrestler. However, Pam *had* been married to Dean after high school, and they were married for ten years, and had two kids. Where was Dean?
Dean showed up. Maybe there had been bad blood before, but they got along okay this night. No bloodshed, anyway. In high school Dean had most resembled Archie, from the comic books. Pam had most resembled Veronica, but more spread in the ass. Now, of course, Pam was more spread, all over, and looked like she had been in a fight in the spray-on tan booth with the guy that ate her husband.
Dean was now balding, but had a ponytail. He also had the kind of beard that says "homeless-drifter-potential-sociopath." I wish I could pull off that look. Dawn was there with her husband. Imagine Tina Turner. Imagine Tina Turner drunk and having a good time, and looking for an excuse to flash her boobs at somebody. That’s Dawn. Her husband or boyfriend or whatever looked alot like the actor John C Riley. In other words, not handsome.
Many of these people still live in the town, and many more of them live within 30 minutes in one direction or another. Many that lived in town should have been there and weren’t but lived really close. Two of my crushes, for one: Paula and Debbie.
Laurie showed to this one. She was the same, but now I realize that she wasn’t nearly as interesting as she had seemed in high school. Tits made her interesting. Plus, she had always smelled good. Her last name generally placed her right in front of me as well. In class she always talked to me. She needed a shoulder to cry on most of the time because of her boyfriend, Clint.
Clint was in our grade, but we didn’t seem him much. A delinquent and then a drop out, he was mysterious and cool. James Dean with a little Sean Penn. I had known him since we were young. After high school, his dad had died in a car accident. Driving drunk–common in this rural area–he wrapped his car around a tree. It was on the single lane gravel road half a mile from their house, and Clint was the one to find him.
About a year later, Clint died the same way.
Laurie soon hooked up with Jimmmy. He had actually made it through school, although just barely. Him and his clan–bad seeds, the lot of them–I had never liked that much. But at the reunion, Jimmy was quiet, just smiling and drinking his beer, dressed in a cowboy hat and boots, and looking 20 years older than the rest of us. Seriously, if Willie Nelson got a haircut today, that’s Jimmy. And how old is Willie? I noticed he walked with a limp. The phrase "peaked too early" comes to mind.
I talked with Diane and Tammy. Diane and her husband retired together from the military, and now worked for his family restaurant in Ohio. Tammy was a nurse, but off work for almost a year after a series of misfortunes, starting with back surgery and including a fall from a retaining wall leading to a subderal hematoma. I’m not casting aspersions, I’m just saying that Tammy’s aura screamed Bull Dyke. But we had a nice chat.
There was a guy named Ricky there. I remember him. I didn’t like him, and he didn’t like me. He was a weasely little kid. Now he was a weasely little adult with beady eyes. Kept looking at me out of the corner of his eye, too, like he didn’t trust me. To summarize, I still don’t like him.
Andy showed up, that was good. We swapped a few stories. He didn’t remember the fist fight we got into in 7th grade. It was over in a matter of minutes, and we were okay after that. Maybe that’s why he drew a blank. But a warrior remembers all confrontations.
Duane was there, with his wife. She kept looking at me. I think she wanted me. I don’t think I’m wrong about that.
Karl showed up, the guy I had emailed a few times and we were going to try to make a get-together last year. He looks much the same. He walks the same, I know that. He walks on his toes, leaning forward. I could show you. And I got to see Karla, his twin sister. We had never liked each other, for some reason. I think she was just the bitter kind who didn’t like anyone, and someone who is engaging and naturally charming like be must have especially grated on her nerves. That’s my theory. She actually reminds me a bit of my sister, but I’m not sure why. Karl’s sister may or may not be as loopy as mine.
But we did talk and get along this day. She married Chad, who had been a few years back behind us–probably freshman or 8th grade when we were seniors. Chad came from one of the good families in town, but he had had some substance abuse problems and so forth. He did seem a little ate up when I talked to him. However, Karla fixed him and helped him, got him on the right track, blah blah blah. Saved his life.I guess as part of his Chinese obligation he then felt he had to marry her. Good for them.
Chad had an older brother who was a year behind us, who I would have sworn was a candidate for Cocksmokers International. However, Chad said his brother was a sound engineer for a large and famous Mega-church which I shall not name. He could still be flaming. Their dad had been one of my teachers. Coach Bob taught woodshop and drafting and other industrial arts, and also coached the girls softball and volleyball. That sounds like a good gig, if you ask me.
Let’s see, have I missed anybody? Probably. Melinda works at the high school, so she had keys and got permission to take us on a tour of the school. That was great. It was the one thing I definitely wanted to do. About 15 of us, I think, took the tour. Some things were the same, obviously, and some things–even more obviously, perhaps–were different. We went from room to room and waxed nostalgic until the floors were slick, and then moved on. Almost done with tour, Melinda took a question and informed us all that yes, most of this would be demolished after a whole new school would be built on the other side of the gym. They would keep the gym, and rebuild the rest. So the new part of the school, which was probably built in the fifties–that was going. But the old part, the old, historic part that was probably built in the early 1900s was going to be demolished as well. So timing is everything, I suppose. We got our one last chance to see it all again. And smell it all, too. For some reason, it smelled so familiar, even though everything looked smaller.
The next morning, only a few showed up for breakfast. That’s okay; I’d had enough of most of them anyway. The good thing about many of them is that at least they *know* they aren’t interesting. "How ya been, whatcha been doin, whatcha up to, tell me-tell me." And they would respond, "Working, raising kids, that’s about it." Well you must just be one fucking exciting roll in the hay, sweetheart. I mean, I don’t have much going on, but I had plenty to say and I tried to be entertaining about it. I did tell a few that I had done some standup (in the past.) They offered to give the mike and a few minutes.
I had thought about this beforehand, so I was prepared. "It’s not a good idea. Most of my material is completely inappropriate. You don’t want me to do it, trust me." Just in casual conversation, we were talking about coffee, and I said, I like my coffee like I like my women–" and before I could finish, Detroit, God Bless Her, put her hand over my mouth to stop me. That was probably funnier than any line I could come up with.
But back to that morning. Uh, quiet. Karl, Karla, Chad, Andy, Kathy, and then Paul and his family. I noticed a popular theme, that all of these people were good, honest, church-goin folk. Even in from out of town, they made time to go to their old hometown church. As we sat on the wrap around porch of the old hotel, a teenager on the sidewalk said, "Excuse me, did one of you drop a money clip?"
I quickly patted my pocket. I said, "Pabst Blue Ribbon?" because that was the logo on mine. He returned it, full of what money was left from last night’s drinking at the Legion Hall.
Tell me, just tell me–and do it with a straight face–that that would have happened in the city.