I realized as I was headed out of town on Friday that I had, both tragically and classically, forgotten my camera, so I don’t have any reunion photos for you just yet. However, there were several cameras there, which means that sooner or later (hopefully sooner), facebook will abound with memories of the weekend, and when that day comes, I shall save them as… and share them with you. But only if I look cute in them. But seriously, who are we kidding? OBviously, I will look cute in all of them. I’m cute. That’s how I roll.
ANYhoe, the ten-year reunion of the Wilkes Central class of ’98 was a weekend-long event. It started Friday night with drinks at “The Lounge” above Dooley’s bar in Wilkesboro. Yes, Dooley’s. Dooley, for those of you who don’t know, is the name of Whitney’s dog. We have long suspected that he was up to something like this, but Wilkesboro – that’s quite a commute. I guess some of those night classes* he took were business-related. And this explains why he sleeps all day every day. I just want to know whose car he’s driving back and forth with gas prices being what they are. If it’s mine, I expect him to chip in for maintenance and top off the tank.
Upon my arrival at Dooley’s, I saw at least ten people I’d been missing for some time and at least ten more I hadn’t really thought much about at all since 1998 but was ecstatic to see nonetheless. And then every time someone new would walk in, we’d all just look and think or say out loud, “Holy crap.” We just could not believe that they’d actually shown up. So we chatted and hung out and posed for pictures and caught up until I was about to fall over from exhaustion, and around 1:30, I staggered back to the lovely Michelle’s house, where I was staying (thanks Chelle!!). By that point, my expectations had already been exceeded, and we still had another full day of reunion fun ahead of us!
We slept in on Saturday, took our time getting ready, and rolled on over to the Apple Festival around noon. I got a caramel apple sample from Coach Tommy Johnson, who I’m pretty sure had NO idea who I was. We ran into Susan and Emily at some point and walked around with them until Susan left. Then Michelle, Emily and I wandered down the street just a bit more until we decided that it was entirely too hot and crowded to stay out there when we’d pretty much seen everything there was to see already.
Michelle went over to her parents’ house for a while, and I went to help set up for Saturday night’s festivities. Then I came back to discover that there was nary a full-length mirror in Michelle’s house. I called Emily, who saved the day by coming over to tell me what looked good together (since I couldn’t see my outfits as a whole). We both got ready and headed over to Roni’s Italian Restaurant.
Our excitement grew as we approached the restaurant and saw all the cars parked outside. We were fashionably late, so several reunion-goers had already arrived and were inside awaiting our grand entrance (ok, maybe they weren’t so much awaiting our entrance as just hanging out, but still…). It was a different crowd from the one on Friday night. There was some overlap, but there were several people who were there on Friday but not on Saturday and vice versa. In all, I think we probably saw 60-70 people from our class including (but by no means limited to):
- Julie Gilstrap, who came from Scotland. I hadn’t seen her, I don’t think, since I was in Edinburgh in 2004, althought we’ve kept in touch pretty well via facebook (thanks facebook!).
- Lee Spears, who came from frickin’ CHINA even though he didn’t actually graduate with us (he was whisked away to the School of Science and Math after sophomore year). I thought it was very cool of him to come.
- John Bowman, who also left us for the greener pastures of Science and Math, but who was also very cool to come back for our reunion.
- Matt Hagaman. And his fiancée (sniff sniff). The rumors were true. And alas, she seems lovely, so we didn’t feel it was appropriate to take her out back and deal with her. I guess we’ll just let her marry him and wish them all the happiness in the world.
- Sam Graham. Oh internet, if you only knew.
- The lovely Mrs. Emily Hogan, who was voted “most changed since high school,” although we’re really not sure why. She did get a haircut, but other than that, I don’t know that I see a whole lot of difference there. My hair is much shorter now than it was back then, and I didn’t get any votes in that category. What up with that, class of ’98?
- Brandie Huffman, who was voted “least changed since high school” (evidenced by her name tag, which read “GO EAGLES!!” below her name), and of whom I hope to see video footage very soon. Not many people danced, but really, that was fine. She did enough for all of us.
- My buddy Wes, who lives with his wife probably twenty minutes away from me. I hadn’t seen them in probably eight years. Shame on us. We must repent of such long absences.
There were plenty more, but since most of y’all are bored because you don’t know these people, I’ll stop there. I skipped the picnic at the lake on Sunday afternoon because I had to get back to Raleigh, but before I left, I had brunch with Jim at the Coffee House, which seems to have recovered nicely from when that van drove into it a while back. I highly doubt anyone has ever called a meal at the Coffee House “brunch” before as it is essentially a generic version of the Waffle House. Oh so swanky. But brunch with Jim is lovely by definition even when the meal comprises hash browns and waffles with a strawberry-flavored fruitish topping.
I can’t believe it’s come and gone so fast. We have literally been excited about this reunion for the past five years, and just like that, it’s over. It was good times, though, I must say. Good times indeed. Mediocre food, perhaps, but the company would be near impossible to beat. I tell ya – it’s going to be hard to elope when the time comes and not invite some of those old friends to celebrate my wedding. We’ll have to have some killer parties all over the country to make up for it. Perhaps even all over the world. Yeah, I can handle that.
(*Whitney dreamed once that Dooley started speaking, and when asked how he learned English, he replied very matter-of-factly, “I took night classes.” )