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A Luau For The Ages

June 15th, 2009 3 comments

I got plenty of strange looks from people that were asking me my plans for this past weekend.  Not because I actually had plans, but because of what my plans were…

Coworker:  Hey Bob, what do you have planned this weekend?

Bob:  I’m going to a Jr High School reunion.

Coworker:  Cool.  Wait.  Jr High School reunion?  They have those?

Bob: They do now.

I had been looking forward to this event for some time now.   I was going to see what some people I haven’t seen in at least 23 years were up to.   On top of that, I figured that it was going to be fun and overall a good time.   I had a blast.

Now, I was a bit concerned about my wife at this event.  She’s somewhat shy when it comes to people that she knows, so putting her in a setting where the only person she knew was me, was going to be somewhat stressful.   I did my absolute best to calm her fears beforehand.  I just wanted her to enjoy herself.  I knew it was going to be completely impossible for her to have as good a time as I would.  I took steps in booking a hotel room and we left the house early in the afternoon so we could take in some shopping before going to the reunion.

After venturing to the Lakeside Mall for a bit, I was pleased to hear my wife suggest that we grab a couple of daiquiris before heading to the hotel so we could change.   I took this as meaning that she was going to give this a good effort on her part.  She wanted to have a good time and it became obvious to me that she was going to be quite the trooper.

Perhaps the only concern I had about attending this party was the fact that it was going to be held at someone’s residence.   I had recieved word that 95+ had already prepaid, with more planning on paying at the door.   We’re looking at over a hundred people in someone’s house.  The logistics of this alone was enough to make one wonder how this was going to go down.

When we showed up, I was relieved to discover that the house was quite large.   So I opened the front door and walked in and noticed that the place was huge.  I was asked my name on the way in and was “leied” by a greeter.  A name tag was attached to my lei with my name pre-printed on it along with a small copy of my 7th grade photo (I was a scrawny little thing back then).    I signed the guest book and noticed that Dana Rome (Teppen) and her husband Al was already there.  I was pleased to hear about this because Dana had told me previously that she wouldn’t be going.

So I walked through the house to the back yard and was just flabbergasted.  There were already a good number of people there and the place was decorated to the gills.  It was really nice.  I introduced my wife to Dana and her husband and went to go get a couple of beers. 

As I turned around from acquiring two Bud Lights from the pirogue, I saw Allen Shinault.  I knew I recognized that face, so I quickly glanced down at his name tag and he did the same.   Once we realized who the other was, hugs ensued.  It had been at least 25 years since we saw one another.   He was someone that I knew from Metairie Grammar, which I thought was too cool.

From that point on, familiar faces strolled on in.   The majority of the people were people I knew from my classes at Haynes.  I became more and more suprised by the number of people that not only attended Haynes, but attended Metairie Grammar as well.    As the hours rolled by, the number of beers that I consumed grew larger and larger.

Now, I could sit here and type out the names of every person that I made contact with, but like my friend Michelle mentioned, I was a social butterfly.   I made sure that I spoke to as many people as I could.  I’m certain that I missed a few, but I made quite an effort.

Among the highlights of the night was watching Eddie Carrick come incredibly close to falling into the pool.  He’ll argue that he wasn’t as close as it seemed, but what he doesn’t realize is that people started taking bets as to how much longer it was going to be before he actually fell in.   I at one point considered tipping one of the servers that were bringing trays of food around to assist Eddie and give him a nudge, but thought better of it.

An interesting thing that I wanted to point out was about the restroom facilities.  The toilets had some state of the art flushing mechanism that was on top.  It was a combination of 2 buttons, which I found incredibly weird at first, but quickly learned to adapt.  Also when I was washing my hands, I noticed a television set that was somehow part of the mirror.   At first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me or that I had already had too much to drink.   However, as I was leaving the restroom I made a comment about the TV and someone else commented on how cool it was.   I considered getting back in line because I wanted to see what the score of the LSU game was.

The other bathroom was cool too.  There was some control knob on the wall that cold be turned and water would shoot down from the ceiling into the bath tub.   The toilet was the same as the previous one, but I didn’t notice a TV.   I did see the word NAMASTE in big letters near the ceiling and commented on it to the hostess.  She was somewhat surprised to hear me not only pronounce the word properly, but also by me explaining what the word meant.  

In my opinion, the night went by too quickly.  I had a wonderful time, and I think my wife did too.  I remember leaving the party, but I really don’t remember the drive to the hotel.   The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the bed at the hotel.  I noticed my Hawaiian shirt crumbled in a ball on a chair.  On top of that, my head was pounding.   I drank too much and didn’t eat enough.  I always end up doing that and make a promise that I seem to always break that I won’t ever do that again.

My 20 year class reunion is coming up in August.  It’s a good thing that it’s 2 months away because I’m going to need that much time to recover from this one.   I really enjoyed seeing my former classmates.  I just hope it’s not another 25 years before I see that bunch again.

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Summer of Reunions

June 12th, 2009 No comments

I mentioned before about how Facebook has made it incredibly easy to reconnect with people from my past.  I’ve managed to reconnect with former classmates at both my Jr High school and my High School.  On top of that, I’ve also managed to reconnect with childhood friends as well.   Friends that I had when I stayed with my grandmother and friends that I had when I lived on Pasadena St have also been able to reconnect with me.  Overall, the whole Facebook experience has just been wonderful.

With that said, I’m really looking forward to the reunions this summer.

I went to Jr High school at Vernon C Haynes.  I entered in the Fall of ’83 and left in the Spring of ’86.  So, in a span of 3 years, I met some really wonderful people.   Granted, I had some carry over from my elementary school (Metairie Grammar) but not as many as you would think.  In fact, looking back, I really can’t remember which elementary school was responsible for the greater influx of kids that fed into it.  It’s really not important either.    What’s important is that tomorrow night, I’m going to see a bunch of people that I went to Jr High with. 

We’re having a Luau themed reunion.  I’ve never worn a Hawaiian shirt before, but there’s a first time for everything.  There are some people that I will see for the first time in 15 years.  Some I will see for the first time in 20 years, and some I will see for the first time in 23 years.   Some will be people that I went to elementary school with (very few) but mostly people that I know only from Haynes.

I’m looking forward into running into the kids from GT that I knew back then.  Eddie Carrick is among those, Donna McClary is among them, and Robert Reidenauer is also among them.  It’s going to be really neat to see what they’re up to now and also to meet their significant others.    Eddie of course I will see at our 20 yr high school reunion as well.

I will miss seeing some people that I really hoped to see.  Eddie Painter won’t be there.  David Marshall won’t be there, and Richard Howe won’t be there.   Most people probably won’t know what to think when they see me without David present, but they’ll deal.   I will however get to see Michelle Rigdon (at both reunions).   It’s going to be fun.  I’m looking forward to it.

Coming up in August will be my 20 year East Jefferson High School class reunion.   I went to the 5 year and the 10 year reunions and had a good time.  Apparently there was a 15 year reunion, but I never heard about it until after the fact (which puzzles me, but whatever).   That should be a good time too.  Some of the people that I will see there will be some of the ones I’ll see tomorrow night.  

What’s going to be interesting this time around is that I’ll be bringing someone along with me.  In reunions past, I’ve always gone solo.   I’ve only been married for 3 years, so I’ve been that single guy up to this point.  Plus, who wants to bring a date (other than a spouse) to a class reunion anyway?

So, I’m pumped.  I’m looking forward to drinking, eating, and having a good time with my former classmates.  I hope it goes well tomorrow night because I’m already thinking that stuff like this should happen more often.

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Father’s Day is Approaching

June 9th, 2009 No comments

What can I say?  I hate Father’s Day.   I hate it for two reasons…

First off, my father was about as useless as they come.  He left my mom when I was only a year old.  Even worse, my mother was pregnant with my younger brother at the time.  What kind of person does that?  What possesses someone to leave his pregnant wife with a 1 year old and a 5 year old to fend for themselves?  He’s an asshole.  I’ve tried reaching out from time to time in hopes that I could get some sort of explanation about why he would do such a thing.  Nada. 

Over the years, my mom tried to explain to me that my father was a self-centered and selfish man.  My mom also had to take drastic measures in order to FORCE the man to pay child support.  He’s spent a Christmas in jail before because he bailed on being responsible.   We ended up catching up to him by calling my grandparent’s house and lerarning that he was there.

I’ve never received a call from him on my birthday.  Not once.  I think he’s probably on his 4th or 5th wife.  He’s married to a woman that is only a few years older than my oldest brother.   He has a family with them.  He’s got a son and daughter with Leigh.   That means that I have a half-brother and half-sister out there that probably have no idea that I even exist. 

I never had a father figure growing up.  My mom never remarried.  She dated here and there, but nothing ever panned out for her to remarry.   I had no one to take me to scouting events.  I had no one to teach me how to hit a baseball or catch one for that matter.  On top of that, my mom had to work her ass off just to provide for me and my brothers.  I commend her for that.

Secondly, I hate Father’s Day because that means that I’m going to have to deal with Trace’s dad.  His dad is an asshole, and as much as it pains me to say it, his only saving grace is that he’s not as bad as my dad.   It’s been several weeks since we heard from him.  I’m predicting a phone call next Thursday evening letting Trace know that he’ll pick him up on Saturday and keep him overnight.   The guy does nothing for Trace.  It’s a chore for him to go to a fucking baseball game.  It’s inconvenient for him to drive out of his way for anything that Trace needs.  He’s a prick.  He doesn’t deserve to be Trace’s father.

There should be a Stepfather’s Day.   People can’t even really begin to imagine how difficult it is emotionally for stepfathers on Father’s Day.  What are you going to do though?

So, when Father’s Day rolls around, I’m going to call my mom and wish her a Happy Father’s Day.  She played both parts, and she deserves it.

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