Yes, It Really Has Been 20 Years

3 September, 2007 Ken Everyday Life

This weekend was my St. Mary’s High School (Class of ’87) 20-year reunion.  It was a wonderful time, almost like everyone was reincarnated into new lives and we just happened to remember our previous ones.  Any awkwardness or clinging memories of who didn’t get along with whom seemed to slip away if it was even still there at all after all these years.  It was just great to see so many of them doing alright, living life, and being able to see them again.  I think I even got to hug people I didn’t ever hug in high school.

It was in the works for a while but nobody knew about it until the last month or so.  I volunteered to help earlier this year with no response, but when I get the mailing from a the classmates handling it, I got in touch with them and helped hunt down people they didn’t have phone numbers for.  That was the main reason I bought a 24-hour subscription to PrivateEye.com (see previous post), and with limited time, I still have a stack of possible phone numbers and addresses to go through.

Name Bage (retro photo)

The reunion events began Friday night with a “Happy Hour” at the Hidden Shamrock Pub in Depew.  I recognized many, others I needed the name for it to register, though I snuck a look at some of the badges that only some of them actually wore.  Others shared a similar experience, and I wasn’t the only one who brushed up using the yearbook and didn’t find it helped.  The food was great and Merry waved at people mostly, being shy and from the school of thought that people graduate to get away from the people they were in school with.

I went to the tailgate party at the school’s football game against Alden the next afternoon.  The school changed a bit, especially with the new “Woj Dome” athletic center, weight and exercise machine are and all.  It’s huge — very comparable in size and structure with the International Agri-Center at the Hamburg Fairgrounds.

I mentioned to one of my classmates I might wear my Chinese wedding outfit later that night on the Miss Buffalo cruise — who encourage me to do so for full effect of my well-known individuality — but decided to go more casual to match my wife.  When I said I didn’t want people to think I sold out to “the man” he roared laughter, saying that no one would ever believe I could do such a thing.

The cruise was a wonderful time, hitting the side of the canal lock (and brief screams from the top deck where most people stayed the whole time) notwithstanding.  Stories were shared and many photos were taken, mostly by me with cards handed out so I could email them to people.

After seeing someone bring their photo album from years ago at the tailgate party, I remembered I had taken many photos.  In fact, more than I thought — three albums full, even with captions in one of them.  I may even have more sitting around someplace.  One old classmate was amazed, saying no one else has pictures from many of the events I captured with my cheap analog camera of the time.  There was even a couple of people from our class who got married and one of the first photos they saw was one of them together over 20 years ago.  I took a shot of them for comparison and posterity.

A number of people went to Shanghai Red’s afterward, but Marry and I decided to head home and let the dogs out.  I promised to all that I would create some sort of website for our class to help everyone keep in touch, post pictures, etc..  And I will continue to hunt old classmates to clean up the list that the school apparently hadn’t maintained.

There are a few people I would have liked to see that weren’t there, and many I didn’t specifically hope to see but glad I did.  It brought back a lot of memories and I hope to snatch a few new ones over the years with them again.


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