A wonderful five days in the northland. Bemidji High School hosts an All School Reunion every five years, and pulls out all of the stops. There are specific class get-togethers, tours of the new high school, a Golf Tournament, a 5K run, a fry bread taco lunch complete with Native American dancers, and new this year, book readings and signings with local authors. On Sunday there is a parade, complete with floats from those classes ambitious enough to put something together. Something for everyone!
Friday night is set aside for individual classes to hold their reunions, this year it was my THIRTIETH. I honestly don't know how that happened. It was my parent's FIFTIETH (they graduated together).
The parties range from organized events complete with slide shows, decorated halls, and cheerleading squads showing their stuff, to casual drinks on a lakeside patio. That's where Mike's class congregated on Friday night (he is the class of 79), and my friends and I headed there first. The first photo of the night, I had yet to perfect the chin tilt to prevent showing two of them:
Even though I graduated in 1980, I have spent far more time with Mike's classmates than my own, and it was great fun to catch up.
John works at the capitol in St. Paul, and Janet is an actress in New York City. People travel from afar to join in the fun!
My class held theirs at The Corner Bar, conveniently located in Nymore, always known as a suburb of Bemidji (although how a town with 15,000 people can have a suburb is beyond me....). We congregated in the parking lot and drank beer as the sun set and the band geared up to be so loud we had to shout to be heard all night.
"Oh my gosh! I haven't seen you since high school! Where do you live? Do you have any kids? How old are they? What are you doing? Do you remember when Miss Galloway....." and off to the next person.
I got to see my dear friend Mary, she lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan now, so our visits are few and far between. She is taking a new position with the Girl Scouts of America. I was happy to see that she could still play a tune on a beer bottle (a metal one, no less!) I don't think there's a merit badge for that, but I could be wrong....
I was delighted to run into Rob Grillo, our parents were friends when we were very young, and we fondly remembered sneaking down the hallway to watch "The Birds", while we were supposed to be elsewhere in the house, since it was far too disturbing for young children. He is a scout for professional hockey players (having been one himself for a while) and also runs a hockey camp each summer near Brainerd.
Paul Maus was there, I literally hadn't seen him since high school, and we quickly caught up. He works with the forestry division in Colorado to do terrain mapping, and has his own business. He was sure I had become a writer, remembering my days as editor of The Ax (our school paper). I laughed as I told him I ended up a bookkeeper! (albeit business owner as well, I doubt anyone could have predicted I would end up in flight simulation...). I had a major crush on him, and had held up high hopes he would ask me to senior prom. Clearly, I was still nervous to be next to his handsomeness...
The organizer of the party, hamming it up with a classmate-Marti is a scream and was voted Class Flirt back in the day.
Nick sat by me in drama class, and teased me about my legs. He lives in Alaska now.
Mike with Kyle Young. Back before I knew him, I always used to get these two mixed up in the hallways. Later on in the evening, after an altercation, Kyle performed CPR on the guy who had been knocked unconscious. Just another night at the bar....
Others heard of the fun, and joined in the party. At one point there were at least 1000 people standing on the pavement, ranging in age from 20's to 50's. It was the place to be. My brother and his wife showed up, and I even convinced my sister to head out for a bit.
Tired and losing our voices, we headed home to rest up, for Saturday night was another night of fun!