Somewhere they're buying crepe paper and confetti. They're making up lists and printing them out. I'm not on the mailing list, however, so I don't expect an invitation. They won't have to make a name tag for me. My twenty-fifth high school reunion will take place in my absence.
This is interesting to me for the following reason. I have a friend who has told me that it didn't even occur to him that his high school had football games on Friday nights until we attended one together as adults. By stark contrast, I can say that I never missed a game that Boulder High played while I went there. It certainly helped that since I was in the band, I got in for free - and the away games were a matter of a bus ride and playing in the Pep Band. For a deeply cynical band geek, I had a lot of Panther Pride.
Many of the most profound relationships of my life were forged in those years. I return to that era with great affection again and again. I feel fortunate that my wife shared many of those experiences and allows me to (periodically) wallow in them.
I remember where I parked my Chevy Vega most mornings - Bandiland (a geek ghetto of sorts) across the street from the school. I listened to a lot of Styx back then - and AC/DC. I remember bringing home my first DEVO record along with my first Elvis Costello. My girlfriend's shocked reaction: "You're not going to get into that punk rock, are you?" I remember the bus rides to exotic locales like Douglas County and Cherry Creek. During lunch I would hang out in the band room keeping an eye out as we liberated Mountain Dew from the pop machine. My wife likes to tell people that the first time she saw me I was perched on top of the pop machine - acting like a monkey. I wouldn't deny the action, but I think we'd met - however briefly - before that.
Looking back, it all seems hyper-real - full of drama. Everything was the epitome. When we listened to "Stairway to Heaven" in the studio (in the band room - wouldja believe it?) we weren't happy until the sound would actually begin to bow the plexiglass windows when the Zep really started to rock out. I taught a lot of people how to drive stick shift on my poor car. I made a name for myself as a leader among geeks. I lost my virginity. These were heady times. 1980.
Twenty-five years later, I consider going back. I wonder what happened to the gang of mine - "the kids."
But I know - the stuff that matters still does. I don't need a party to remind me.
"And in the darkest
If my memory serves me right
I'll never turn back time
Forgetting you, but not the time"
- Green Day