Friday, September 24, 2010

That 50th High School Reunion

Yet, that's this weekend. Our last gathering was 1996, when our high school held an all-year reunion to celebrate its 75th birthday. My dad even went to high school in this building, graduating about 1939.

This reunion will be a much smaller group than that 1996 event, only 28 or so counting the half dozen spouses who are probably being dragged to the event against their will.

The planners (including me) have spent almost two years working on this, mostly just trying to find people. My other task was preparing the name tags, which have the senior yearbook photos on them. They turned out pretty well, considering I didn't know what I was doing. A little trial and error and a couple of frustrating glitches later, and I have a fairly decent set of tags.

We're keeping it pretty simple. Whoever is available this evening and wants to head out for pizza and beer will do that. Tomorrow noon we get a conducted tour of the high school and eat a box lunch there. And tomorrow evening we gather for dinner at a nice steakhouse where we'll have a private room. That's pretty much it. No big speeches, no formal program, just the chance to get reacquainted and mark the occasion.

I dropped by the building on a school day in 2009. There were some noticeable changes. For one thing, there's a security lock on the outside doors. I had to be buzzed inside by someone in the office.

In addition, all locker doors stood open at all times. No locks, no secrets.

This photo is aimed down the first floor hall. That hallway seemed a lot longer when I was fourteen and trying to find my way to classrooms for the first time.

The other big change (from an old student's point of view) was in the student lounge. First of all, the room had shrunk drastically. (As a matter of fact, the whole school seemed smaller.)

Most shocking, however, was the wall decoration. During my high school years, a talented artist in my class painted a mural that covered at least this end wall and maybe extended around the side walls. All that was painted over, and now the walls are covered with hand prints.

I'll admit it's colorful, even striking, but I missed the old mural. It was so....us.

The hand prints go all around the room. I can't wait for my old classmates to see that lounge and get their reactions.

Did I really expect that old mural to be there after all these years? No, I guess not. But I feel sad I don't I have a photo of the way it looked then.

The building has changed, at least inside.

The people will have done most of their changing on the outside. This should be very interesting.

10 comments:

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Have fun at your Reunion, Patricia. I think the walls look reallly cool, but I know I would be disappointed if "my" mural had been painted over.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patricia - I hope you have a wonderful time at your reunion! Thanks for sharing those 'photos, too (although I would have liked to see the mural, too!).

Ann Best said...

I do hope you enjoy the reunion, Pat!! You have put a lot of work into it.

I've never been back to one of my reunions. The building in Salt Lake City is now the Community College. Once before I moved back here to Virginia I went over to see it. It's totally renovated inside; I mean totally. Only the outside remains exactly as it was in the Fifties, an impressive structure.

My people, like yours, would have changed on the inside. Unlike your building, though, mine hasn't changed on the outside. Isn't it so interesting how we perceived things when we were fourteen, like the long hallway that seemed longer to you? It is so strange when you get to be our age to metaphorically speaking look down those long hallways.
Ann

Karen Walker said...

I haven't been back to my HS since 1966, the year I graduated. I've driven by the building, which is humongous, an entire city-block long. I hope you enjoy reminiscing with your friends, Patricia. Even though things may have changed, you still have your memories.
Karen

Amy Kathleen Ryan said...

Have a great time, Pat. There's nothing like getting together with old friends.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Do have a great time Paticia , catch up on all the news . Above all have FUN.

Yvonne.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

My next one will be 30 - wonder what changes I'll see in my high school? It was brand new when I attended. Probably not so much anymore!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's your high school? Wow!!

Glynis said...

Have a wonderful time.

Kaye Barley said...

I can't wait to hear all about it! Have a ball! There is a wonderful piece that you can access from Facebook right now that I think you'd enjoy. Harlan Coben wrote about recent reunion experiences, thoughts and feelings. It's quite moving.