Sunday, October 16, 2011
I finally got my picture taken with one of the cheerleaders... it only took 30 years.
Class reunions can bring about some strange and happy incidents and revelations, and now that a certain fan of my blog has promoted this blog to everyone at the Milford Class of '81 Reunion, the pressure is on for me to write about it. This is treacherous territory. In the pre-Facebook era a person could write things about former classmates without fear of the classmate actually reading it. Pen names protected our identities. (No one will ever know I'm really Mike Holden. Get it? I'm a radio jock named Mike Holden. Gads, I'm genius!) Oops! Not anymore. Facebook blows my cover. It also immortalizes really bad pictures. So, here is my gentle observations about our reunion with appropriate editing and censorship where necessary.
Yeah, that's right. We're a clique. Fear us.
First, let me set the record straight for anyone reading this who may be of a younger generation, particularly my wife. At the class reunion...
A. We did not dance or reminisce about Disco. We lived through the real thing, and that was enough.
B. We did not imbibe in Mary Jane. At my age, I have enough trouble remembering where I put my car keys. Grass is the last thing I need, thank you very much.
C. We did not get our reading glasses mixed up.
D. We did not subject each other to endless displays of photos of grand kids. That's what Facebook is for.
The event was held in a sports bar in that area between Milford and Loveland that we natives refer to as that area between Milford and Loveland. Nice place. Great band. But a word of caution for my friends from the Lima area reading this: I know you find this hard to believe, but this sports bar provides hard evidence of the fact that nobody south of the Dayton city limits gives a (vulgarity for a rodent's hindquarters) about the Buckeyes. There was no Ohio State regailia anywhere to be found. No talk about among any of us about that day's Buckeyes' upset victory over Illinois. Call out "O-H!" and you'll get deer in headlights eyes. Nobody in these parts knows the Ohio State fight song, and people here think Carmen Ohio is a local production of an opera by Bizet. This is my world. Welcome to it.
One thing became very apparent within the first hour: you ladies certainly have a lot more energy than we guys. The men stood around holding our bottles of beer and talking, while the gals whooped it up. Eventually, the ladies drug us out on the dance floor, which caused a good deal of gasping, heaving, and groaning... some of it from the people watching us. But you ladies... Wow. I never imagined a woman of [censored] years of age could dance the way you did. Things sure have changed over the years. When my mother was [censored] the only time she moved like that was the time she found a mouse in the dryer vent. Damn! You looked good. I've been trying to figure out why the ladies were full of energy while the guys were out of breath after the first chorus of "Mony, Mony." I think the kind of stories we tell might hold a vital clue to this mystery:
Women our age tend to tell stories that end with sentences like, "...and that's how I met Oprah." Men our age tend to end our stories with sentences like, "...and that's how I ended up in the ER."
One former classmate is involved in agri-business. Now since I have a connection with agri-business as well, it was easy to strike up a conversation on the subject. Actually, it's not really hard to get ag people talking. My father-in-law taught me well the simple starter phases for farm talk:
"Get any rain at your place?"
"Beans do any good this year?"
And then there was the phone call to [censored] to make her feel like a part of the festivities in spite of being a long, long way from Milford. Somebody handed me the phone and told me to make her guess who I was.
"Hey. Remember me?"
"I played trombone in band."
"Remember when you filed the restraining order?"
"Steve! Ohmygod! How are you?"
And there were the old photos, the old yearbook, the stories, and the memories. I ended up driving home with the classic rock channel on the satellite radio. A soundtrack for a fun evening.
A lot of people, once they leave high school, say goodbye, amen, and leave that world as far behind as possible. I can't say that I blame them. High school can a difficult time filled with insecurities, embarrassment, regrets over things said, and deeper regrets over things left unsaid. Many of us don't have the best of a home life, and once we move out to college we never look back. When we get word of a reunion, we may find even after all these years the idea of looking back too painful, and choose to stay home. Or maybe our jobs, family commitments, the distance is just too much. It happens. It's life. It's not always kind.
By our guess, there were about 300 people in the Milford class of '81. Since then, it seems like the world keeps finding new ways of tearing people apart. I'm not one of you, and you're definitely not one of us, and if you're not one of us, then to hell with you. Ohio is the Rust Belt; get out while you can. There's a lot that pulls us away. The fact that about 20 of us could get together and swap stories and compare hairlines is actually pretty impressive. You might even say magical.
After all, who would've guessed I... me... would dance with and get my picture taken with one of the cheerleaders. Wait'll I show my...