Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bloomington Jefferson Unplugged, 35 Years Later

I attended my 35 year high school reunion over the weekend. It was a short-notice-get-together but still maybe a tenth of our class of 700+ were there. I've only made it to one other reunion and that was 10 years ago when my neighbor who was on the planning committee guilted me into going. 35 Year Class Reunion, 2Both reunions were painless although I couldn't help but go into each with a little trepidation. That feeling usually fades after a couple conversations and the realization that it isn't high school anymore.

I was living in Huron, SD for our 10th reunion and had forgotten about it until I saw it mentioned on Johnny Carson; no kidding. I had the TV on in our apartment where I lived with my first wife on the south side of town but wasn't paying much attention to it. The blonde actress Johnny was interviewing mentioned that she was attending her 10 year high school reunion that weekend in Bloomington, MN. That piqued my interest because it was the same weekend as mine. I stopped whatever I was doing to pay close attention and realized that the blonde woman sitting on his couch was Terry Ganzel; the same high school girl who woud walk along the sidewalk in front of our house on 102nd St on Saturday mornings on her way to drama class (I assumed) at the high school. No longer a brunette and now going by Teresa Ganzel with a different emphasis being placed on the last syllable of her last name than I remembered. (current video of Teresa)

Sandie, my high school sweetheart for a year and a half wasn't at last Saturday's reunion. I was hoping to introduce Tammy to her. But there were others whom I hadn't had a chance to talk with since June, 1975 and it was nice getting to know them again.

Mark Hanson was a friend from both grade school and Jr high whom I long ago lost touch with. I mentioned Mark's name to Bill Bliss and with that Bill took out his phone and dialed Mark's number in Florida. He got his voicemail and after leaving a brief message handed the phone to me. I babbled on about how I can still remember when Mark introduced Bill and I to one another and how he had us shake hands.  We were maybe 10 or 11 and it seemed such a grown-up thing to do. It happend right about where the pine tree is in this link.  We were playing around among the prairie grass, woods and pond where our high school would soon be built. I closed my message with an invitation for Mark to look me up on Facebook.

Sure enough, while at work the next afternoon I got a Facebook friend request from Mark with a message to call him. I didn't hesitate. We spent 25 minutes catching up on each other's life and I found the whole thing fascinating. I was surprised at how much he remembered of my family. I felt guilty for not being able to respond in kind. We said goodbye and then it hit me that it'd been nearly 40 years since I'd spoken with him. I last remember seeing Mark at the McDonald's in Bloomington not far from where we went to school and the site of an earlier blog post. I don't even recall if we talked with each other then as we'd drifted apart as kids do and life becomes more about avoiding awkward moments than it used to.

I was on my bike yesterday thinking about my conversation with Mark and the thought struck me that it would be neat to meet again and walk through our neighborhoods together and reminisce. Maybe end up at McDonald's for lunch.

There are others I'm hoping to reconnect with; Miles Harvey for one. Miles, are you out there?

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