Sunday, September 29, 2013

Packers Still Rule, 25 Years Later

Twenty-five years ago, I graduated high school. It’s hard to believe that much time has passed--it feels like a lifetime ago. I had the opportunity to help organize our event last night, to put all these amazing people in the same space together after a quarter of a century. And you know what I discovered? We are a damn good looking group of 43 year olds! Seriously--maybe the BC Packers plant down the road was emitting something else other than the overwhelming stench of rotting fish, but whatever it was, we turned out to be an awesome bunch, us Steveston Packers.

*Just a small disclaimer: I am going to write this in a way that “protects the innocent” if you other words, I am not going to put names to any of my stories. That way, even though I have nothing but positive things to say, I can speak freely about the night without making people feel awkward or embarrassed. For those who were there, it might turn into a fun game to see how many people’s names you can guess based on the stories and descriptions. All I ask is that if you comment, please be respectful and follow my lead sans names. If it’s you, and you feel comfortable, feel free to LOL.*

High school is always the Breakfast Club--when you are in school that is. Everyone is trying to figure out who they are and how they fit in. What an awkward and weird period in one’s life. When you get out of school and head into the real world, those roles dissipate over time and you become your own person, hopefully building and evolving on your passions and discovering what makes you happy. In anticipation of this reunion, it gave way to some thought about who I was then and who I have become.

I was VERY different in high school--quiet, somewhat shy, not terribly outspoken at all, and a little naive too. I did a lot of activities outside of school, so I almost dis-engaged myself to some degree. I’m ok with that. To the untrained eye, I’ve changed quite dramatically, but in actual fact, my vivacious and gregarious personality has always been present, it’s just become more visible, evolving as I get older. Evolution of persona is going to be different for everyone, and it isn’t always displayed in an outward way like mine. I noticed some people last night who more the observers to all the goings on--and that’s awesome--we need more people in this world who can sit back and not feel they need to be the centre of attention. I’ve somehow slighted myself in that comment, so I’ll simply say that I truly enjoy talking to people and have a genuine interest in them, I just happen to do it in a very extroverted way.

I had a roomie for the weekend that came in for the reunion (and our little elementary school one beforehand). She is someone who has gone to school with me right from Grade 1 to Grade 12, and while I don’t happen to see her for years at a time (she lives in Vernon), we are able to pick up right where we left off, and it’s wonderful. After lounging in front of the fire at my place, we finally got our asses off the sofa, put our party clothes on (incase some of you were wondering, my circa 1970’s look last night was a Betsey Johnson runway piece, which has probably burned a hole into your retinas by now given it was quite colourful to say the least) and headed to the Buck and Ear in Steveston. Here’s some event planning for you: no planning needed, except setting it up on Facebook (thanks Jen!), a venue and labels. Let’s face it, everyone is just so busy these days, that planning a formal event is extremely time consuming (memories from the 20th are coming back), so we went with a local spot and voila.

For someone with a photographic memory, I am terrible at remembering names--faces yes, names no, so labels came in handy (except mine, which just pulled my hair out). And after talking to quite a few people last night, it’s not just our memories that seem to be failing at this age--apparently my waning eyesight and my new habit of having to hold out tiny printing away from my face seems to be common place these days. It’s hard for me to live in denial now thanks to the obvious answer from last night: get some glasses.

One of my classmates was just like me back in school when it came to being a bit quieter. I haven’t seen him since school and holy moly, he was now very boisterous--we talked about that and it was really interesting. It was almost as if he was a different person so it gave me a chance to understand why people say that about me. He did insist however, that I was someone else, saying he remembers me at his birthday party, etc. So please, let me clarify...

For the record, I am not the sister of the fellow who shares my last name (which is actually my ex-husband’s last name, who incidentally also when to Steveston two years ahead of our class). My pseudo-brother is really a neat guy--didn’t chat with him much last night, but has a ridiculous amount of style, is extremely witty from the looks of his Facebook comments, and owns and manages a successful business. I would like him to bring his actual sister to one of these things just so we can get a photo showing that we are NOT the same person.

A highlight of the night was connecting with a girlfriend I hadn’t seen since we graduated. She looks fantastic and married to THE nicest guy who graciously came with her. We had a good laugh remembering skipping out of Algebra class, hopping in her car and going for lunch at Chi Chi’s and then doing a little shopping at the Mall. Interestingly enough, we both passed Algebra though! She and her husband tried to sell me on their single guy friend who has moderate to severe anger issues...yes folks, this is the pot of available men that we single women have to choose from now.

Through school, I had many crushes. There was a core group of fellows that hung around together that at one time or another, I had a thing for. One of these guys was always in my art classes--he usually astounded his fellow classmates and teachers alike with his stunning artwork. The cool thing about him now, is that he actually followed his talent, whereby his artwork has been on coin sets and stamps. Another one of the fellows in this group used to play the guitar (and I think still does)--every time I see him at one of these reunions, I think of the Rolling Stones immediately. He posted a picture of his daughter in a music store on Facebook recently, holding a neat is that to see his talent passed on to his child (I can only hope that she has an aptitude for music other than the Stones). And the musical talent continues with another fellow who followed in his father’s footsteps and is a famous percussionist in a band that plays all over the world, and, to prove how small this world is, happens to be dating my good friend’s friend. To round out the 4 man crush thing, I remember in one of my drama classes doing a lip-sync to Def Leppard (don’t ask), and I borrowed this guy’s cardboard guitar at the last minute. He had put a lot of effort into making it very realistic looking, and in one fatal swoop during my drama act, I completely destroyed it...we laughed about it last night, but I remember seeing the look of horror on his face when I lopped off the buttons by mistake on stage. He lives in Seattle now--a city that I absolutely love, and looks exactly as he did in school.

Then there was my BIG crush....from Grade 8 all the way through high school to Grade 12. I was just too shy to ever say more than just a few nervous words to him in school, and although I don’t live with regrets in my life typically, I do wish I had been a little more forward. I’ll never forget in Grade 8 when I was being bullied by one of the “tough” girls, he came over and used the water fountain that was next to me to check in to see if I was ok, or at least that was my perception anyway. He is still the gorgeous man I always thought he was, just way taller now, and married with kids of course. I was wearing flats last night (I NEVER wear flats usually) although I feel I would have been better off in my ballet toe shoes just to get a little height when talking to him. It was nice to have an actual conversation where that shyness and anxiety was minimized...but interestingly enough, still slightly present. Do I feel badly that I hugged him repeatedly at the end of night to the point where I feel that I was borderline molesting him--absolutely not <enter wicked grin>.

And to prove that finding love exists over forty, one of my close guy friends brought his new love...and she turned out to be just as wonderful as he said. She named me the closet hippie...I’m slowly coming out of that closet though, with all my herbs and essential oils in tow. He is so in love, and it’s so cool to see. It gives me hope that I will find my true love some day, just like the story on the tapestry I brought back from Dover Castle, with a knight, et al. Another one of my classmates just fell in love as well...they looked amazing together and so happy. He told me the old adage that everyone is telling me: it will happen when you least expect it. I would like that please.

It was so much fun getting to know everyone on a more personal level last night and moreover, hearing how diverse our careers and lives are. One of the girls could have been a model--just gorgeous, and she follows her passion of training horses. Another classmate does some very unique cooking along with a plethora of other interests to keep himself busy. I could simply immerse myself in this one person’s hair (it’s gorgeous), and usually do at these reunions--she also shares my birthday of October 1st (crazy Libra). Any absence of male affection is quickly forgotten next to one of my female friends who I just adore. I got to chat with another friend I went to school with from Grade 2 onward who also brought her younger sister that I hadn’t seen since she was a kid, who is now married with her own baby. Another friend and I talked about how nice it would be to see one of our classmates who now lives in Japan, and who posts THE weirdest and most bizarre pictures of insects AND their descript stories that you could ever imagine.

Eventually the night came to a close, and even though I woke up this morning tired, with a storm going on outside, and hardly any voice, I was truly happy to have experienced what I did last night. Time is out to charm you (thanks Axel Rose), if you let it, that is. And that’s exactly what I saw last night...we’re no longer just the athlete, the brain, the criminal, the princess or the basket case, rather, we are simply amazing (and don’t forget good-looking) individuals now. Oh, there’s just one last thing: Packers rule baby.

1 comment:

  1. a brilliant piece as always, I've lived on the Coast longer than I did in Winnipeg and I have often thought of what any of the Reunions I missed may have been like...this was truly a gift thanks for this Denise, I always look forward to your writings with fond anticipation...