Back Forty

July 27, 2014

I must say, I really love reunions. At 11pm last night, I felt very bummed we were getting kicked out. So many people left to talk to and a few more I really just wanted to hang out with longer.

People, even if they didn’t entirely remember you, were so open and friendly… I suppose it’s because everyone’s a little apprehensive about the whole thing. But for all the people I had superficial and/or awkward conversations with, there were many, many more with whom I had genuinely sweet and interesting conversations.


Marnie Hartley remembering we were lab partners in biology and 1) how we used to sing “Hold Your Head Up” (Argent, right?) while trying to lift our heads off our desks, feigning boredom, and laughing our heads off, and 2) getting caught passing a note to one another during class about how everybody around us was cheating on their tests except us and why didn’t the teacher see it. The teacher grabbed the note, read it to himself, passed it back to us and simply said, “acknowledged.” Then walked away. I sort of remember the first, but definitely not the second. But so sweet to hear. (I do remember singing “Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog” when we were dissecting frogs.)

Greatly enjoyed conversations–some long, some short–with (sort of in order of appearance over the course of two days and three events): Sidne Shaw, Cary McCullum, Wendy Cooper, David Lefkowitz, Heather Lewis, Mike Foreman (who accidentally stumbled upon our reunion while dining at Nelson’s with his wife and some friends.. really), Rick Reynolds, Lisa Barnes, Dave Fisher, Alicia Peifer, Jeff Schultz, Mike Duffin, Nancy Roedel, Valerie Tracy, Missy Smith, Cindy Wise, Georgina Pena, Russell Caterson, John Weaver, Neal Barab, Kathy Horn, Janis Dalseme, Becky Bates, Julie Sutter, Robbie Wilson, Amanda Duddleson, Barb FitzMorris, Mr. Kinney, Mike Flood, Edie Rogers, Debbie Bryon, Marnie, Marcia Aylesworth, Donna Bennett, Suzanne Strauss, Kathi Costello, Carter Morgan, Pat Rowe, Peggy Chandler, Chuck Babbitt, Barbara Rayburn. Probably missing a few good ones, and there were so many more just “hi”s in passing.. plus the awkward conversations with people I didn’t really share much of a past with.. oh, and assorted spouses.

But there were so, so many more conversations to have… glad we have the book.

As I felt at past reunions, some of my deepest bonds are with the kids I went through elementary school with. Even if-as is the case with most of these–we weren’t close friends through junior or high school, our history is longer and they’ve come to represent, to me, fonder friendships.  I feel like, as a group, I love these guys for the years we went through. They feel almost siblingesque (right, not a word).  Even though school years were a blip, the years were formative. And everyone endured this formative–awkward, fun, weird–time together, as one big, moving, evolving group. It’s pretty unique, right? No other collection of people in our lives are quite the same, except, I guess, our siblings.

Anyway.. processing that.

There’s also the part about who we were then, who we are now, the forty years between that moved us in one direction or another. Such the socio-anthropological field day you can have absorbing, analyzing all that.

There was only about a quarter of the class there, maybe.  It’s not like I don’t have my hands completely full with my current life and people, but I’d sure like to know what’s going on with the others–the three quarters who weren’t there. Just curious.

Twenty seven, at best count, have died–two of whom were best friends as well as neighbors… Katy and Cindy.  Another was a pretty close teammate on the track team (Cindy Davis). I thought they did a nice job of honoring them at last night’s dinner and in the program book. RIP you guys.

Here are a few more shots to add to the ones I posted earlier:

Walking down to RAT for the second gathering of the weekend:



At the beach:

Me and Kath:



Kath and Janis Dalseme:



Kathy, Jeff Schultz and Mike Duffin:




The dinner was at, of all places, the Malaga Cove Library. I liked that it was close and historic and a total part of my growing up:



Appetizers I never got to, among some nice hanging art:


Dinner was actually really good, though I didn’t eat much. Here’s a before shot of the carrot cake I ate even though I hate carrot cake:


And that’s about it.  If I see some others’ photos and think they’d add to the reunion story, I’ll post them here, later.

One closing thought: Jim attended with me. I was so glad to have him there  1) to get a glimpse of part of my past, 2) to have a clear reference point for future conversations, and  3) so people could see the smart, nice, squared away guy I ended up with.  He was even okay with my disappearing more than a few times as I got drawn to conversations that then lead to other conversations and next thing I knew an hour had gone by. Thanks, Jim.






2 Responses to “Back Forty”

  1. That’s really cool that you enjoyed your reunion, Kari. I have never been to one of mine. As you know, I grew up Army, so I didn’t grow up with the kids I went to high school with. There are a few I have reconnected with via Face Book and that’s been nice. What I find most intriguing is the idea that other people have memories of us that we don’t ourselves remember… To hear stories from your lab partner that you had forgotten … SO COOL!

    • Kari Says:

      I always look forward to your comments and insights, Michael Ann. Thanks for reading these musings… such as they are. It is most definitely a different experience to have been Army. Has incredible benefits, too, no doubt. I see how people who moved a lot are shaped, how they relate to people, how they adapt. What you give up in deep roots and those kind of relationships, you gain in so many other ways.

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