Monday, October 14, 2013

A trip to the past

This past weekend was the 20th reunion for my high school class. I wrote a while back about why I wanted to go. So Chris and I spent a whirlwind weekend in my old stomping grounds.

My high school is somewhat unique: it has two campuses. The older north campus, dating to 1928, houses juniors and seniors while the newer south campus, built in the 1950s, houses freshmen and sophomores.

North Campus

Part of the homecoming festivities included tours of both campuses, starting with a presentation on the history of North Campus in honor of the 125th anniversary (the school began in a different building in 1888). Parts of the 1928 building still exist, so it was very interesting having those areas pointed out. I was able to show Chris the tunnel under the street connecting the main academic building to the building with the gyms and music rooms. Other highlights of the tour included the campus radio and tv stations, a classroom with original cabinetry, and the panels outside the auditorium which are replicas of the frieze in the Acropolis.

Noil and Nessie, the mascots.

South Campus has seen a lot of changes in the last 20 years, especially in the last 10. There is a new pool (there has always been a pool at North Campus, but the diving well was not deep enough for competition; the new pool at South is) and field house. And, of note to a band geek who performed on the stage in the old gym, there is a new performing arts center.

A new lion sculpture at South Campus. Yes, I lettered... in band.

Having decided to go to the reunion, I wanted to have the full reunion experience, so we walked along with the Homecoming parade, which winds its way from North Campus, in La Grange, to South Campus, in Western Springs. Oh, did I forget to mention the campuses are in different towns, about a mile apart? If you've never been to the suburbs of Chicago, moving from town to town and even county to county is a matter of crossing a street.

The marching band, lining up for the parade.
As a former band geek, I was happy to see the band actually marching and in better uniforms than we had. A few years after I graduated, the band was marching in sweatshirts and the halftime shows were done standing still, no marching, no figures. It was sad to see a really good band go downhill. We stayed at the football game, the only one now played on Saturday although all games were on Saturday afternoon 20 years ago, through the halftime show. By then, we were soaked. The rain that had so far held off poured down about two minutes before halftime.

The old uniforms, puffy shirts, ascots and all. Pet Parade 1992
We drove past the house I grew up in. Which is no longer the same house. My parents sold the house 10 years ago, and the new owners completely changed it. The white stucco is gone. There's now a wraparound porch and bay window. I wouldn't have recognized it if not for the address and the surrounding houses. It's ok, though. La Grange isn't home anymore. 

The house I grew up in, sort of.
Saturday night was the official class reunion, a cocktail party. There are a few people from high school that I'm still in contact with, but I haven't seen most of the 700+ in my graduating class in 20 years. Some people looked so different I had to read their name tags; others I recognized from across the room. I reconnected with several people, even friending one old classmate on Facebook right then. There were several people I was very glad to see again, a few a was disappointed couldn't come, and a lot that I just didn't really remember. And, very much like high school, Chris and I ended up talking and dancing with Pete, the only one of the small group I used to hang with who was there. 

My senior picture.
I'm glad I went. I don't look back very often, and I most certainly do not want to go back to high school. But I wanted to show Chris some of my past, see some old friends, and just have the experience. And I did all that. 

I've found in my life that the things I regret are the ones I don't do. There won't be any would've, should've, could've about this reunion. We went; we did the whole experience. I think Chris enjoyed the school tours, at the very least. And we had a kid-free weekend. Will I go to another reunion? I don't know. 


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