So, this weekend, Denise went to Houston. She comes home tonight! I will be there at the airport with a rose and a kiss to welcome her home.
This weekend, I spent my time working to pass the time. However, I did go to my thirty year high school reunion. It was actually a pretty anxiety riddled day leading up to the event. For obvious reasons, I missed the 20 year...so I was going because I have some very supportive friends who agreed to be my security blanket.
My friends, Doug and Jamie Smith (she was Jamie Coatney in school, and I still call her that when I am not thinking about it) were there to be close in case I got too wound up and had to go. So, here is the thing...Doug and Jamie have been together since high school. They are happily married all these years later and have three amazing kids who have yet to hear the stories of their mom that she keeps locked away. (Wait until they turn 21! That is when she said it would be okay to tell them...it is gonna be fun!) Doug is what I would call, Mr. America. Not the super hero type...the REAL type. He is that hard working, middle class guy who does not shirk duty or responsibility.; always has a list of chores to do around the house on weekends, and stands as guardian over his family. But how to describe Jamie...okay, if pressed to give her a label as unique as she is...I would say Conservative Hippie, (I would have used "right-wing" but that has become such a loaded word.) Jamie and Doug are proof that people can make young love turn into lasting love.
One of my highlights from high school was when I was cast as Heathcliff in our production of Wuthering Heights. Our director/teacher, Carol Coburn cast the roles without auditions. This was the first time I had to share a kiss on stage. My Catherine was my friend Tricia Maio. Tricia and I had worked on The World According to Snoopy. She was given her shot at stage choreography during Snoopy...I was Snoopy and so Tricia and I, who had always gotten along fine, became better acquainted as friends during that production (Ms. Coburn ran one of the best drama departments ever.) The first time I had to kiss her was the first and only time I ever experienced anything close to stage fright.
I was a bit of a party boy back then, but I had one friend who was about as sweet and innocent as they came. She was never in trouble, and there was more than one occasion when she would steer me clear of the administration if the lingering scent of alcohol could be detected on my person. She was that kind of friend where people from the outside were probably confused. The only time she ever got in trouble was when some horseplay got out of hand and I put her in a garbage can. She was called to the principal's office. As soon as I heard, I dropped everything and ran down there, busted in and said, "Beth didn't do anything...I put her there." The principal looked up at me, glanced at my pal Beth Maffitt, and said, "Oh...I should have known. You are free to go, Miss Maffitt."
Lance Harris was the guy in school that NOBODY screwed with...ever. He sort of towered over everybody and said very little. He was not a bully...but could have been the greatest terror of the school had he chosen to go that route. But the thing about Lance was that, if he walked past and you said 'hello' to him, he would say "hi" in return and knew your name. Most of the time, Lance and I crossed paths at the various concerts that came through town.
Ian Jennings was one of my fellow KISS fans. Our music tastes were parallel...Priest, Scorpions, KISS, Iron Maiden. When he heard what I do for a living, he was not in the least bit surprised. Ian and I shared a lot of memories and alcohol in those few years.
I crossed paths with a few others, but I noticed that the old cliques formed up fast and the room became pockets--large and small--of the same people who hung together back then. Being totally sober, it was an interesting thing to observe. One of the most entertaining moments came at one point when I was just standing with Lance and talking. One of the former cheerleaders sort of stumbled up to us. She tried to read our name tags, but lance had taken his off and mine did not have my picture since I did not have one in the yearbook my senior year. It went something like this:
Her: Do you know me?
Me: I remember you, but we were not in the same circles.
Her: But maybe I knew you?
Me: I doubt it. You didn't hang out down by the theater and choir wing much.
Her: I might have gone down there! (heavy slurring of words)
Me: Nope...you didn't. Trust me.
And away she staggered.
Lance: ...so anyways, yeah, I don't play computer games. I spend all day working on them and just have no interest.
Me: Excellent. Hey, have you seen Coatney?
Lance: No. Is she here?
Me: Yeah. C'mon, her and Doug are over here.
There were a few people I was hoping to see but didn't. Maybe the 40th...who knows.