Reasons 7-30

OK, so obviously I haven’t done a great job of regularly posting reasons to attend our reunion, which is now…TOMORROW!

So, no great pictures, no compelling stories. Just a few straight-out reasons (23 of them):

7. It’s cheap. You can get in and out of this event for $5. (And you know you’ve got friends who’ll buy you drinks.)

8. It’s easy to find. Burien isn’t very big, and Bison Creek hasn’t moved.

9. You’re thin enough. (You’ve always been thin enough.)

10. You’ve got enough hair. (Even if you don’t have any.)

11. You don’t have too many wrinkles. (And we all need glasses that we won’t be wearing to see them now anyway.)

12. You don’t have to buy new clothes. It’s a pizza place. It’s summer. Jeans. T-shirts. You know?

13. There are going to be quite a few of us there. You’re sure to know someone. And even if none of your best buds are there, whoever is there will be glad to see you.

14. Some opportunities don’t come twice–and this might be one of them. I know, this is much like reason #5, but it bears repeating.

15. We’ve got really interesting, fun, cool people in our class. Maybe they weren’t that way in high school–or you couldn’t see it in high school–but we really do.

16. Reminiscing focuses on the good stuff. OK, so you might get teased about some embarrassing stuff–but after 30 years, even you can laugh at that, right?

17. There’ll be pizza. Who doesn’t like pizza?

18. Springsteen didn’t get it quite right in Glory Days. It’s not about recapturing boring old stories. It’s about appreciating them.

19. You can personally invite those you’d really like to see. Yeah, it’s last-minute at this point. So what?

20. Maybe you really aren’t too busy. Yeah, it might be hard to get away, but…

21. Our biggest regrets tend to be about the things we don’t do. Maybe it won’t be that great, but if you don’t come, you might always wonder if it could have been. Maybe it would be if you’re there.

22. Did I mention pizza and cheap and easy? And, you can buy beer legally now (if that’s your beverage of choice). And we’ve probably all learned by now how to drink without completely embarrassing ourselves.

23–30. It will be really great to see _______________ (insert the name of everyone you’d love to see again). (Not sure who’s coming? You can see many of them here–but I’m pretty sure some others will be coming, too.)

Like many of you, I’ve got a lot of stuff going on right now. Getting all the way to Seattle was starting to feel hard. Maybe not worth it. It seemed like others in my family needed me to be home more than I needed to be there.

Then my daughter told me I had to go. And I checked in with some old friends I really want to see. It’s been far too long since I’ve seen all of them. When I got confirmation that they were, in fact, going to attend, I knew I had to make it work.

I spent too much of high school focused on other things that seemed more important. They weren’t unimportant, but I really wish I’d taken more time to just be with many of you. Can’t relive those years (thank God!), but can revisit them.

Hope to see you tomorrow.

Reason #6: It just got a whole lot simpler

30  years ago, we didn’t need fancy tables, fancy clothes, and fancy food to have a good time.

rainier

And we don’t need any of that now, either.

Due to lack of interest, we’ve canceled our Saturday night event at The Garage.

But the gathering at Bison Creek is still on!

Good friends, good pizza, and legal beer–all for a $5 cover charge.

(Want to see who’s coming? Check it out here. And if you’re not on the list, get registered here!)

Reason #5: We don’t always get another chance

When I began this series of posts, I fully intended to come up with 30 great reasons we should all get together this summer.

I was going to write 1-2 a week, all spring long. They were going to be mostly light-hearted.  They were going to build anticipation for a great event. They were going to make you want to buy a ticket–because it would clearly be as fun as this dance was:

dance

It didn’t happen.

I’m sure my life is like all of yours–very busy. We’re in the thick of the so-called sandwich years, when we’re answering to kids (and/or grandkids), aging parents, and jobs that are still demanding. (If we’re lucky.)

And now we’re here, within 2 weeks of the date we have to sell enough tickets or give up on the idea of this reunion, and we’ve sold only 30 tickets.

I get this.

I mean, I only bought my ticket today, and I’m one of the organizers. We’ve all got lots of stuff to do, and sometimes I feel about time the way I did back when I was 18:  Like there’s plenty of it, and I’ll get to a whole bunch of things later.

Problem is, sometimes time runs out while we’re paying attention to other things, and then it’s too late. We’re in danger of that with this chance to see each other this summer–and it could well be that we won’t get another one.

Let’s face it: We haven’t been one of those tight-knit classes that gets together regularly. There have really been only 3 people working on putting this together. (Thank you Christine Corbley, Martha Solseng, and Debbie Carter Walford.) If this reunion falls through, I’m guessing chances are pretty slim that another one is going to materialize.

And not to get too heavy or morbid, but:  This might be our last best chance to do this–to see each other while we’re still able to. 48 isn’t old, but…we’re not exactly young anymore, either. It’s not going to be any easier when we’re 58.

For some of us, it’s already too late.

I would love to see this guy at our reunion:

randy wagner

Randy Wagner was not one of my closest friends, but I considered him a good friend in junior high. He had the driest, drollest sense of humor, and he made me laugh just about every day of 9th grade. That was no mean feat in what was easily one of the most miserable years of my adolescent life (surpassed only by 8th grade on the misery scale).

So even though I wasn’t close to Randy in high school, and I never saw him after we graduated, I would love to see him at our reunion, just to say “hi.” I’d love to hear what happened with his life. I wish I could tell him how much his ability to make me laugh during a year when I rarely did meant to me.

But I can’t, because Randy isn’t with us anymore.

If Randy were still alive, I bet he’d be surprised to know that I’d be looking forward to seeing him at our reunion. He’d probably think that I’d never thought of him since 1983–because we weren’t close then, because we didn’t keep in touch, because our lives went in different directions.

He’d be wrong. I bet there’s quite a few of you who’d be surprised to know that I’m really hoping I get to see you this summer.

For instance, I want to tell this guy that I recognize he tried to keep our friendship going, and that I’m sorry I let it slip away.

randy dixon

I’d love to talk again with Kelly (Miller) Coffman and Kim (Bowman) Smerekanych, who could kept their cool no matter how wacky Mrs. Sullivan got when we were putting out the school newspaper.

kellykim

I want to talk IRL with Vince, who I didn’t know in high school but have come to “know” through Facebook over the past several years.

vince

I want to talk about teaching with Liane Olson Rizzo, who I can remember from as far back as 2nd grade.

liane

And I want to ask fellow now-Oregonian Allan Carr, father of a rodeo queen/engineering student, how he and his wife managed to raise such an obviously kick-ass daughter. (I could use some tips.)

alan carr

There are many, many more of you I hope to see. I’m guessing that most of you don’t know how much I’d appreciate having the chance to share a few hours with them–but I would.

And I’m also guessing that many of you are on someone’s list of “people I’d like to see” and you don’t even know it.

So please, if you’ve been meaning to buy a ticket but you just haven’t yet, click on over to the ticket/registration page right now and get it done.

You never know who might be hoping that you are, and this might be your last chance to find out.

Reason #4: Everyone can wear a crown

There will be no Reunion Royalty.

royalty

There won’t be any kind of Senior Celebrities (which takes on a whole new meaning when we’re mere years away from qualifying for an AARP card, doesn’t it?).

No Best (Remaining) Hair or Most Likely to Retire Well.

senior awards

(Didn’t we all have great (big) hair?)

No popularity contests, whispers about you (real or imagined), or tests of any kind.

studying

Looks like studying to me…

Our reunion is just about getting together and enjoying the company of people you probably haven’t seen in a really long time.

406971_2480264051046_1845970277_n

Like Vince and Alan apparently do at least once a year. Rumor has it that some challenges are being thrown down about who can put who under the table this summer.

Of course, I can’t promise a total absence of snark or judgment, but I’m trusting my parents on this one. They’ve told me that 10 year reunions are a lot about showing everyone how well you’re doing (and seeing how you measure up), but by the time you make it to 30, everyone has grown up enough to realize that high school measures of success are largely a load of crap.

People are just glad to have made it this far and are happy to see each other.

marilyn

There are so many of you I’m hoping to see, but I’m really excited to know that I’m going to get to see Marilyn (Jones) Shefveland, who’s already bought her ticket.

Don’t get me wrong about high school.

I’ve got some great memories of great times with great people, but don’t let the sparkle on that tiara blind or fool you.

SCAN0092

My years as a Pirate were most definitely not the best years of my life–and I’m guessing they weren’t for any of us. That bling’s resting on top of a whole bunch of insecurity.

High school was hard. Our reunion doesn’t have to be.

Come as you are, be who you are, and know that you’ll find a whole lot more acceptance than you might have back when every walk down the hallway could feel like a run through a social gauntlet.

At this party, everyone gets a crown.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you haven’t yet (and that’s most everyone), could you please let us know if you’re coming?

You can register and get your ticket here. There’s no ticket required for Friday’s HHS Alumni Only event, but we’d like to be able to let Bison Creek know how many of us to expect. Registering will help with that.

Reason #3: It’s gonna be way better than any parties we had in high school

Think about it: We don’t have to get all dressed up (unless we want to).

susan

Although, Mike Jaskari and Susan Adams-Provost looked pretty good all decked out.

Our Friday event is at Bison Creek Pizza, and Saturday’s venue (The Garage) is a pretty laid-back place, too. You can feel free to rock whatever kind of attire is your thing these days.

vince

Just like Vince Soto’s doing here.

And, we don’t have to  haul a keg down a path through the woods and freeze our butts off on the beach. (Not that any of us did that kind of thing back then… ;-))

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We’re all gonna be way more at ease with ourselves now than when we were back then, which means this party’s way more likely to be fun.

scott

Of course, Scott Dombrowski was always pretty at ease. Looks like he still is.

Just in case there is some awkwardness–because, let’s face it, we might feel a little shy at first talking to people we haven’t seen in 30 years–our reunion planners have chosen a place for our Saturday event where there’s lots of things we can do while we’re breaking the ice.

Small talk is easier over a pool table than a banquet table, isn’t it?Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 6.04.33 PM So what are you waiting for? Click here to get your ticket and register!

Reason #2: No one cares what you look like

Well, that’s not exactly true.

We do care what you look like. We want to see you, the real you that we can’t get from an iPhone photo someone’s uploaded to Facebook.

What we don’t care about is how good you look (or don’t).

I mean, we can’t all look like Sandi (Olson) Rowden. 🙂

sandi

Go, Sandi! (About to run this year’s Boston Marathon)

And no one expects you to. However you look, however many wrinkles, rolls, gray hairs (or bald patches) you have, no one really cares.

The only thing anyone really wants to see is your smile.

carolyn

Beautiful smiles must run in Carolyn (Colasurdo) Flynn’s family.

Our bodies, they are just suitcases. And we all know that battered luggage is the sign of an experienced traveler and interesting journeys.

suitcases

Ready to come hear (and tell) the stories of lives well traveled?
Click here to sign up and get your reunion ticket.

(Luggage photo by Phineas H via Compfight cc)

Reason #1: Facebook isn’t the same thing

If you’d asked me 4 years ago if I’d attend a high school reunion (much less volunteer to help plan one), I’d have said, “Probably not.”

I’d lost touch with all but two high school friends, and–no offense to all the great people I knew back then–that wasn’t feeling like a tremendous loss.  I had a very full and busy life, and seeing people who were no longer part of it just didn’t seem that important.

Then (like just about everyone else in the world) I discovered Facebook. And I rediscovered many of you. It was great. I loved seeing what had happened to and for people I once saw every day.

wendy

Did you know that Wendy Walsh became a dentist? And she’s neighbors with Bella and Edward!

kristen art

Or that Kristen Bradley Watts is an amazing artist?

jerry

And that Jerry Ruston is still just as funny as he used to be. Only now he’s got cute kids, too.

Great as it was to catch up with people I last saw in 1983, I bet if you’d asked me the reunion question 3 years ago my answer wouldn’t have been any different than in the pre-Facebook days.

Who needs a reunion? I thought.

With Facebook, I get everything I’d get from a reunion, and none of the things I don’t want: travel, expense, possible discomfort of all kinds that might come with seeing people who knew me when I was a much earlier version of myself.

rita

Wasn’t sure how it would feel to hang out with people who knew me when this was the face I presented to the world (because this is so not me any more).

And then I got to meet some old friends in real life, face to face. If you haven’t been able to do this yet, I want you to know:

Facebook’s got nothing on face time.

It’s not the same at all.

When I got together for dinner with a few old friends last year, it felt like our conversation picked up right where it left off. It was as good as our best teenage late-into-the-night talks, only better–because we are older, wiser, and kinder than we were then.

I realized then that true friendship never really dies, especially with friends we made early in our lives.I can’t really explain it, but there’s just something special about being with people who knew you back before you lived most of what you now think of as your story.

Something powerful, and delightful, and comforting. And no amount of photos, status updates, shared links, and stupid jokes can touch it.

(Just in case you’re nodding your head but wondering about all those kinds of possible discomfort I mentioned earlier, don’t worry. I’ll deal with some of those things in my other reasons you might want to attend our reunion. Hope you’ll subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss out on them.)

Have you reconnected with any old classmates in real life? How did it go? Would love to have others share their stories in the comments.

And if you’ve got a great reason that we should all attend the reunion, please feel free to write it down and send it to:  ritaottramstad@yahoo.com.

I might have trouble getting to 30 all by myself!

(Ready to get your tickets? Click here.)