I got back this evening from a few days up in the good old Bay Area, with my long-time friends, Rob and Reuven, going to our 10-year High School reunion - a decade since our graduation from California High School.
The party itself was held at the Canyon View Dining Hall, overlooking my home town of San Ramon. Tickets were $65 (unless you bought them late - which raised costs an extra $10), and bought ticket-holders entrance, a Chicken Marsala dinner, plus one alcoholic beverage. If you wanted more to drink, it was $7.00! (Good thing I don't drink! Free sodie pop for meee!)
I'd say between 70 and 100 actual graduates showed up, many accompanied with a "non-Grizzly" date or spouse, so it was a pretty good-sized party. But, I gotta admit that the D.J. was a bit of a dolt as he played music from eras far and wide away from our high school years (1994-1998), like Bon Jovi, Vanilla Ice, Lynard Skynard, and - of course - "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot. Was this a Grade School reunion? No! And on top of that, he would mute the record at key lyrics, hoping those on the dance floor would shout out the popular line of the song, but when there are only 5 people on the dance floor, it's pretty unlikely, pal! Then, he made some comment about someone from the class of 2000 - which didn't make any sense - and he told everyone that the "after-party" was going to unofficially take place down the hill at "El Bolazio" - he meant "El Balazo", but I get the feeling he'd never heard of the place, so... whatever.
Other than that, it was good to see a lot of people that I had been friends with (what seems like a lifetime ago), as well as a handful of people I never needed to see again. The Chicken Marsala was decent, the music was okay at times, and hey, it was a party!
But when things moved to El Balazo, I wondered why I had paid $65 to go to the dinner party when I could have gone to a Taqueria/Bar for free and seen all the same people. But that's okay - the music at El Balazo was too loud to converse with anyone, so I guess the initial party was better for that purpose.
I was also saddened to hear that another childhood friend, Chad Straub, died recently. Just a freak medical condition, I heard. It doesn't seem real at all, but I hope his family members - especially his brother and sister - are doing okay; I lost touch with the family years ago. It's these things that make a reunion seem quite surreal.
But it was the day after - the Barbecue party I held at my house on Sunday - which was the real fun. It was more intimate, more of my own friends - even the ones who never came to the reunion - with more and better food! Special thanks to Russ Collinsworth for making the long drive down from Bend, Oregon, and to Brett Robert from Santa Rosa and Emily Welty from Sacramento. Along with Rob, Reuven and myself, they all traveled a long way for one little BBQ! Thanks, guys! The only ones that were really missing were Mark Zabrowski, who is a bit busy with a wife and a few kids down in Palm Springs, CA, and Brad Lytle, who is busy earning a Super-Mega-Ultra-PhD in Chicago, IL. They'll be there for the 25-year reunion, I'm sure. They were missed.
After we ate, we all piled in a couple cars and made a visit to our old high school, which certainly isn't our old high school anymore - they've certainly done a lot of work on the place! Almost all of what we knew is gone. The same can be said for our junior high school down the street - Pine Valley Middle School - which we also visited. Good times!
To everyone involved - especially my dear parents who worked very hard to get the house looking great and feeding everyone, not to mention giving up to 5 extra people a place to sleep last night - thanks for making the entire weekend a huge success! We should have a 10-year High School reunion every year!