Thursday, October 06, 2005

Kenny and Mark's High School Reunion

This weekend is my 20-year high school reunion back in Mesa, Arizona. So I'm heading to Detroit. (Let me explain.)

After watching so many movies over the years that made high school reunions out to be such monumental events in one's life (all the way from "Lifeguard" to "Romy and Michele"), I went to my 10-year reunion thinking it was going to be an exciting night. Ultimately, it turned out to be — well, really dull. I graduated from Dobson High School's Class of 1985 along with 800 other kids. Of those, I think I knew about a dozen. Most of my friends were either in other grades, went to other schools or started high school with me but ended up moving before graduation. I made arrangements to meet up with two of my friends from my actual class who I hadn't kept in touch with over the years, Yuki and Deanna. Within minutes we quickly agreed that we would have been better off getting a booth at Denny's at 2 a.m. — like we always did back when we were kids dodging the sweltering Arizona sun — than having airplane food in a banquet room of a resort (whose air conditioning had gone out in July!) sitting at a table full of total strangers. It wasn't that we were nervous or had traumatic memories of our whole high school experience or apprehensions about seeing anyone in particular — heck, that might have made the night kind of interesting! We just didn't know who these people were.

While living the first 12 years of my life in Madison Heights, Michigan, I made a "best friend forever" in sixth grade. And as the title would indicate, Mark's still my best friend. After my family moved to Arizona, he and I continued to take turns spending summers at one another's house, so Detroit remained a second home for me until well into college. All of Mark's friends became my friends and vice versa. I've even gone back a few times since I moved to the East Coast (with Mark long gone from Detroit) as one of the old gang, JR, still lives there.

So this weekend I'm heading "home" to a real (weekend-long) reunion. To spend time with people I really miss and really love. People I wish were still in my daily life. Not to make small talk with people who might have been in my biology lab. Mark will be in from the O.C.; Brad is coming from Las Vegas; Nina is coming from Chicago; and I'm flying out in the morning. I hope JR will be ready for the old gang. This will be the first time all five of us have been in the same room since 1987 (photo of the five of us was taken en route to Madonna's "Who's That Girl" concert tour).

Oh, and these real Michiganders have their 20-year high school reunion on Saturday as well. Mark and Brad are excited to be going. JR, Nina and I will be having our own satellite reunion while they're there. Mark and Brad didn't go to their 10-year reunion, so I figure they need to see what it's all about for themselves.

(And yes, kiddies, we did have color photos back then. We were just going through our requisite "artsy period." And please excuse the omelet on my head in Photo 2.)

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