Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rewinding Part 3 Lessons from the Road

About food

I like Rolos better when they are soft. And it's true. I reach a point in any kind of stressful event - be it mild or intense - when I flat out need chocolate.

It is a good thing that we don't live near a Big Boy restaurant. I would either get sick of their food or be keeling over from tartar sauce poisoning.

About family
The Actor/Ninja likes Hank Williams music and my family's ears don't bleed when I tuned the radio to bluegrass as we drove through some of mountainous Tennessee. It just seemed appropriate.

Three years is too long between visits with family, especially when we can make the drive in seven hours.

The Big R still doesn't appreciate my sense of humor. See, she has this annoying habit of asking us "Are you still working?" Intellectually, I know she's just making conversation. Let's face it, beyond work and the kids, she really doesn't want to delve too deeply into my life and interests and she knows it. Still, this question of are you still working drives me up the fucking wall. What? Did I win the lottery and no one told me? Did my real family - the insanely wealthy ones - finally step forward to claim me? Or worse - is she implying that I'm some kind of lay-about who only works when desperate? I've got news for her - I am always desperate. Hence the job.

Anyway, I smarted off to her when she asked that question. To be more accurate, I used my nephew to smart off to The Big R. I'd predicted to him before her arrival, that within two minutes of seeing him, she'd ask that very question of him, too. Poor kid. As it turns out, I was correct. I was the very model of maturity. I pointed it out via gestures and fall on the floor laughter behind her back. Ah, just like old times. Except, she turned around. "Pick yourself up off the floor, you ninny. What is your problem?" she asked me.

I wiped the tears of laughter from my eyes and stammered just like the fifteen year old I used to be "I-I-I told him you'd ask that idiotic question. What do you think? He's all the sudden discovered the money tree? Of course he's still working!"

Another thing I learned? The Big R is still quite capable of delivering a withering stare.

And she wasn't kidding about saving humiliating photos of me for when I was "older." I am apparently officially "older" in The Big R's estimation. Must be the gray hair. Which is striking, but not in an Oh my heavens! Did you mean to do that to your head? kind of way like some of the hairdos in those photographs. And have mercy! to the clothing. I will never be accused of being well-dressed. (Click that link at your own risk.)

MathMan is pretty dang cool. He was patient as I flitted about the class reunion. He took a lot of photos both then and when we were with my family and I was glad that even though he's only met some of my former classmates and their spouses once or never, he deftly struck up
conversations with everyone.

The Royal Pains have no sense of humor about me jumping off this bridge when I was sixteen years old. They're just a couple of humorless, self-interested fertilized eggs about it, in my opinion. It's not me they care about. It's just the fact that had that jump not turned out fine, they might not exist. They don't fool me.

About place
Time is a wonderful change agent, at least when it comes to attitude. As much as I hated it sometimes when I was younger, I was really lucky to grow up in a place not unlike Mayberry.

For the same reasons it used to drive me a little crazy, I can now appreciate Rising Sun as the place where I spent my childhood. There's something really nice about the familiarity of the people and the place.

Our library was a Carnegie Library.
*Note: We did not have crap piled in front of our house. And the garage was a garage, not a room. We used the garage as a place to pile our junk.

You're still wondering about the class reunion, aren't you? Well, what can I say? It was so much fun - even better than I expected. It was loud and hot and thank goodness, there was none of that awkward award stuff or ice-breaker games. We sipped our drinks, swapped stories of our then and now and just enjoyed the moments together. They went by too quickly.

I learned some new things there, too.....

(1) Other people remember things about you that you may have forgotten. For example:
I was an insensitive clod who walked up to two guys in the school hallway and invited only one of them to participate in a "sexy legs" contest that must have been part of some fund-raiser or something that the cheerleaders were doing. (Yes, I was a cheerleader.) Anyway, the young man who wasn't invited reminded me of my social faux pas. I didn't remember it, but both guys did and with obvious clarity. I apologized. And I assure you, I would never make that same mistake today. If you're reading this, Steve B., I am sorry. Next time there is a sexy legs contest, I promise, you're the first man I'll ask to show us what he's got.

(2) Funny people stay funny. The same people who made me laugh in school made me laugh at the party. A lot. At least this time it didn't result in detention.

(3) Some people don't want to be blogged about. So I won't blog about them here and repeat their name, which is so nice you have to say it twice. I will also stop telling stories involving the zoo and songs by The Who. I also won't mention how they gigged me good on something stupid I said during our Senior Trip (again, something I'd forgotten), nor will I make a peep about sweat pants or tans. And I especially won't mention the John Phillips Sousa Award because that might make another person fret.

(4) I suck at staying in touch with people. I let the minutia of my life crowd out friendships and contacts I value. For those of you who came from large schools or big places, it's hard to explain, but there's something uniquely satisfying about having a shared history with people. At least for me. And yes, I count my siblings and parents in that equation, as well.

(5) I squeeze butts. I do, it's true. And I wasn't even drinking when I did it. And you should have seen the looks on my sister's and brother's-in-law faces when I did it. It's like they never had their butts squeezed or something. And I won't tell you about the other butts I squeezed. A woman has to have some mystery about her......

(6) Most of us end up somewhere in the middle. There were not wildly successful millionaires and no one who showed up was completely down and out.

(7) Every visit with my parents reminds me that I must take better care of myself physically and emotionally. They seem older than they are. Maybe it's just me, but I hate to see my mom hobbling and so keenly aware of her tummy issues all the time. I can't help but think that some of what ails them could have been avoided. And the fact that they don't get out much or have friends really concerns me. (See item 4. It's important to have friends, I'm convinced.)

(8) Every class needs a Tammy. She always was organized and spirited and full of life. Tammy makes our reunions happen. For that, I am grateful. (See the video below.)

(9) I went to school with great people. Even the Republicans.

(10) I have selective memory. See items in purple.

You can see a full set of pictures here.

And because it's me and I'm a dork who likes to overshare, just ask my pal the guy with the name so nice, you have to say it twice, I made a video of the event. Some stills, some video. Enjoy.....

About that song - it's the Washington and Lee Swing. It was our high school fight song.


  1. If the people doing my class reunion include yearbook photos of me, I will never be able to show my face anywhere.

    I know you had fun, and I'm jealous. Be safe in your wanderings.

  2. Glad you had a good time at the reunion. Believe it or not I enjoyed myself as well. It was great taking the pictures. And to stay healthy we must not even think about Frisch's tartar sauce.

  3. This piece was great. It must have taken a long time. Glad you enjoyed yourself.

  4. I totally enjoyed this look at good times (and bad hair), and now I feel that I can happily skip my own reunion.

    (OH. That wasn't the point?)

    My mother can still send out a withering glare, too. It's hard when our mothers get old.

    OMG, that pregnancy pic with the long wig-looking hair was hilarious. Why did we all look so old in the late 80s? Was it the hairspray?

  5. Some of the hairstyles are hideous, but the face is kind and likable in all of them - I dunno, maybe you're just a crafty of bey-otch with a nice smile, but I think I'd like you if I ever met you

  6. My sister is having her 20th reunion this summer. Coordinated by a... Tammy. Weird.

    How many were in your graduating class? I think my Mr. feels the same as you, because he had a class of 60 or so, while I had about 400.

    Love the rockin' big early 90s hair (the one with the black tee)! Yes!!!

    (I was a cheerleader too. Shhh!)

  7. Oh, now I wish I'd gone to mine. The story about your mom's question kills me, because my mom's version is "where did you park?" As soon as I walk into her house, she'll ask where I's her way of pointing out that I really suck at parallel parking, so sometimes I end up around the block.

  8. it's amazing how high school year book photos from that era (hey you and I are only 4 years apart) have that same "look" look about them.
    I swear the pic of the kid with his head on the desk was me!

    Glad y'all had a good time and got there and back safely

  9. Loved the report and every minute of the video...say, you're really good at that video editing stuff!


  10. I'm really pleased things turned out well for you, Lisa. In many ways, I think you look better now than you did then, based on the photos I've seen.

  11. Glad you had a fun time. I stopped the reunion stuff after my best friend from forever stopped running them (I hear they suck now). Truth be told, I hung out with the band/orchestra/drama types anyhow (we were not cool at all). .

  12. Well! Now we know you had some kind of argyle obsession back in the day. I love the music on the video!

    Visiting family can be a comedy of errors.
    I guess that's why reunions can be good-- it's like family you only visit at longer interval of space & time in between visits.

    Ahhhh glad fun was had by all.

  13. Oh the clothes and hairdos!! Aren't memories wonderful, and the pictures will stay out there for an eternity. Egads. To live a life without Frisch's tartar sauce...never! Like you, these best thing (health wise) is that there is no longer a Big Boy nearby. I have to make a 2 hours trip to get my fix!!!

  14. Glad you had fun!--and those are some good lessons, for sure! :)

  15. wow, you do reunions so well!! ;) sounds like it was fun and love your way of telling it! and the pictures of you are just so cute!(mathman isn't bad either!)

  16. Honestly, I don't get the whole high school reunion thing. I didn't have some horrible high school experience where I was picked on every day, and I don't loathe the time I was there. But I don't see a need to go back in ten, fifteen and twenty years to see these same people again. That's why I have Facebook, which acts as a selective day-to-day reunion with the people I care about.

    God, if I went to my ten year... I can see this kid in my head: his name is David and he has massive teeth and an obnoxious attitude, and I'm deathly afraid of being cornered in some painfully mundane conversation with him away from anyone with a sense of personality or humor. It gives me cramps just thinking about it... burr.

    And the thing about the "are you still working?"-thing. Two or three weeks before my Memere died this past winter/spring, she said of my father, in front of the Hospice worker, that he didn't work, that he was a "man of leisure." My dad didn't take too kindly to that and then separated himself from the rest of the family, which continues today, since he's gearing up to move to Florida - away from my mother. It just strikes me as odd that the older generations so keenly feel that we younger generations NEED/are REQUIRED to be gainfully employed at all times, lest we become layabouts. I mean, I hardly expect anything different from a woman who gave birth from behind a plow but...

    I'm rambling. Glad to see you had so many personal discoveries on your trip. Try to turn The Actor more towards Cash than Williams or his equally talented son or lesser talented grandson.

  17. I think it's time for Nathan to hear some Townes Van Zandt. Now, THERE was a death of a performer I could really get behind mourning!

    I'm glad you had a good time with old friends, and family. Isn't it great (NOT) how family can make you feel 15 again?

  18. that picture --- i can never show you mione


  19. Great post and love the video. I know what you mean about selective memory - I just spent time with my high school friend who lives in California when we went to her daughter's wedding, and she reminded me of some things I'd completely forgotten about.

    I also really relate about wondering whether your parents' aging is something that could have been prevented. Spending time with my mom at the Cape made me realize I won't have a daughter's arm to hold on to when I'm 90 to help me walk so I darn well better stay in shape.


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