Doesn’t it seem like you can go for weeks or even months with nothing specific to have to do, and then’ve got several places to be in at the same time.  So it was this weekend!  I didn’t really want to leave town anyway, because we were about to leave for a week and a half on a trip to San Francisco and I had preparations to make.  But it was the weekend of my nephew’s 13th birthday and also my 25-year class reunion…both in Wisconsin, but not in the same spot.  After talking to my Mom and uncle, who happened to run into a classmate of mine, I decided maybe I would try to go.  After all, this was the quarter-century reunion, and I hadn’t been to one since the 10-year.

I talked to Jeff about it.  It was nice of him to offer to go along, but I knew he’d be pretty miserable at the reunion, so we agreed I should just zip off on the trip alone.  I was able to take Friday afternoon off and drive from work around 1:00, putting me in Brookfield right around 6:30.  It turned out to be a pretty easy drive, thanks to my Sirius Satellite Radio and the Big 80’s channel :)  After all, it’s almost all interstate, and I was heading south on a Friday afternoon.

I arrived to find my nephews playing outside with friends that were over to celebrate Russell’s birthday.  They played for a while while I caught up with Ken and Ellen.  Later in the evening I made a trip to Best Buy in hopes of finding a present for Russell (procrastinate much???).  No luck there, but I did find a wireless router as a belated birthday present for Ken.  We got that set up so he now has wireless, and even managed to get the Nintendo Wii hooked up to the Internet.  Now maybe I can try playing online with them.  I brought my Wii-mote along, so Ken and I enjoyed playing games for a good chunk of the evening.  We had a fun time (and the vodka didn’t hurt either).

 Saturday was a long day!  I got to sleep in a little bit, then got up and visited a while and did some shopping with Ken and Russell before getting cleaned up to make the trip up to the Fox Valley for the reunion.  The family party for Russell was actually Saturday evening, so Mom and Dad were already at Ken’s before I had to leave for the Valley.

It had been a very long time since I had driven the stretch of road between Milwaukee and the Fox Valley.  As I drove it and listened again to the Big 80’s channel, it really was like driving down memory lane (except at highway speeds).  I behaved well in the known speed-traps, and maneuvered the construction around Oshkosh without incident, to arrive at my reunion a little later than I had planned, but still early enough.

As I drove up and parked in the lot of Tanner’s, I started to get nervous.  What was it going to be like?  Who was going to be there?  What would they look like?  There were good and bad parts of my high school experience…so what was this going to be?  I had called Chris G and asked her to come, but would there be anyone else there to talk to???  I was about to find out.

Mary VE and II walked in and picked up a name tag and started to wander around.  Chris wasn’t there yet.  But one of the first people I ran into was Mary V.E. of my fellow Tenor Sax players in school.  She ran right up to me and had a hug and a warm welcome.  She introduced me to her husband and we chatted for quite a while.  I enjoyed seeing her after all of these years and it was good to catch up some.  She, like so many of my classmates have kids well into (or even out of) high school…a thought that is incomprehensible for me!

Chris GAfter my chat with Mary, I started to wander around and say hello to other classmates.  I ran into several I remembered well and hadn’t seen since at least the 10-year reunion.  I had some topical conversations with several classmates, but until Chris G showed up, none of my other close friends from school were there.  Sure, several acquaintences, but nobody else I was really close to in school.  I guess I had expected that.  I really wasn’t close with that many people in my own class anyway.  Most were a year older or younger…brought together by extra-curriculars like band and theater.  But it was good to see Chris there, and it turns out she had a good time visiting with her friend Chris J.

KHS Allumni BandSeveral of my classmates formed a little band for the party.  Although they only rehearsed a few times, they managed to put together about a 90-minute set of songs from the late 70’s and early 80’s.  And I have to say they did a bang-up job!  Maybe they’ll play again at the 30-year!

I was a little surprised to see how well in general my classmates had held up.  I think I had more grey hair than any of the guys there…and less hair in geneal!

At around 10:30, I was ready to head out.  I made plans with Chris to have breakfast the next morning and decided to take advantage of the rare opportunity to be back in the old hometown without my family being home:  I headed out to Rascals!  I had really expected to run into someone I knew there, but was surprised to find the place nearly empty on a Saturday night.  But since I was there, I decided to at least sit down and order a drink.  Shortly after, I noticed someone I recognized and said hello.  It was Gordon, who has directed and costumed many a community theater production in the Valley, and had directed me in a production of Carousel the summer before I left to move out of state.  Wouldn’t you know it, but Gordon did remember that show, and remember me, and how after another actor sprained an ankle, I came in to learn his dances, which I performed for the rest of the run.  Gordon was happy to tell stories and relive old times, as well as catching up with what I had been up to.  The next thing I knew, it was bar time…and in Wisconsin, that means about 2:15!  So I drove back to Mom and Dad’s for what would be a short night’s sleep.

The next morning, I got up and out of the house by 10:00.  I had to stop by Tom and Trish’s to drop off some pictures from Betsy’s Wedding (see earlier post) on my way out of town.  I had a nice, but brief visit and got a chance to see their recent remodeling before heading out to meet Chris for breakfast.  At breakfast, we were able to have a conversation about more personal stuff than we could have had at the reunion.  It was good to catch up in person on each other’s family.

The drive back home was much more familiar.  And although I was a little tired and didn’t have Jeff to keep me company, I was able to keep myself occupied listening to pre-recorded Derek & Romaine shows for most of the way home.  If ever there was someone who could write longer (and I’m sure more interesting) blog entries than this one, it is Derek.  So in that way we’re kindred spirits and listening to his show always makes the time go faster.