Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - 19 - 13 Things About My 25th High School Reunion

This past Saturday, my husband Brad bravely accompanied me to my 25th high school reunion. Here are 13 things about the reunion and my high school days, all mishmashed together in true reunion fashion.

1 - I'm the sort of person who enjoys celebrating milestones. Rather than be horrified that I'm 42 and where did all the time go, I'm so thankful that I'm here to celebrate this reunion. We had a memorium to 3 alumni who are no longer with us, so I'm very grateful to be alive and kicking.

2 - Here's Brad sitting down to dinner after some meet-and-greet chatting with people I hadn't seen in decades. I thought everyone looked pretty good! A couple of the hottie guys were still hot if not hotter. Some of the ho-hum guys had morphed into hotties while I wasn't looking. And most of the women looked amazing. It's hard to be objective about yourself, but I feel I'm in the fine wine category - getting better with age.

3 - Brad and I sat at a table by ourselves when dinner started, and I said, "Let's just sit here and see who joins us." Within a few moments, friends from my crowd descended on us with hugs and filled our table like a magic wish. It couldn't have turned out more perfectly.

4 - Next to Brad was ( I believe) Wayne Pace, someone I went through school with but never really knew very well. But next to Wayne was Pat Savage, brother of my Very First Boyfriend.

He has quite a resemblance to Philip (He Who Gave Me My First Kiss), don't you think?
That's Philip there in the little photo below.

A recent one - he's now an assistant professor of Communication Studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. This comes after working for over a decade at CBC Radio in Ottawa and then Toronto.

Brother Pat hasn't done so badly for himself, I must say - he's now the vice-principal at Dartmouth High School (our old rival school.)

5 - I really enjoyed talking with Pat. He pulled up a chair, sat next to me once dinner was over, and said, "So. The next afternoon," he said, meaning after our graduation, "what did you do?" He wanted it all! The whole story. I've stayed in contact with Philip over the years, but it was nice to spend time with Pat, who sat behind me in grade 12 Canadian Literature class.

6 - Moving along the table, there was a lovely couple, Amer Ahmad and his wife, who ended up being charming dinner companions though I never really knew Amer when we were in school together.

Jazz East

But next to Amer sat Chris Elson, here on the left, current professor at Kings University and active member of Jazz East, an organization that promotes and facilitates jazz performance in Nova Scotia, including the Atlantic Jazz Festival. Chris was a good friend and frequent bandmate of my second boyfriend, Pat Kilbride. Neither boyfriend was in my year. First boyfriend Philip was a year ahead of me, while Patrick was a year behind me. Both of them are very positive influences in my emotional development, so having two people so closely connected to them sitting at our table gave the evening a very full-circle feeling for me.

Here are a few recent pictures of my second boyfriend, bassist Pat Kilbride. In the first picture, from the Toronto production of "The Lord of the Rings" orchestra, left to right: Nick Coulter, David Quackenbush, Pat Kilbride, Levon Ichkhanian

At the Ashkenaz Festival in Toronto, Sasha Luminsky on accordian and the String Quartet left to right: Bogdan Djukic, Jonathan Craig, Pat Kilbride, Wendy Solomon

7 - And here's the man who finally, truly won my heart - Brad Smith. Had to move to Toronto to find my true love, but I enjoyed the journey.

Brad was attending The New School of Drama in Toronto when we met. We both worked as ushers at the Runnymede Theatre (Famous Players cinema) at the time. He went on to appear in most of my student films when I went to Ryerson.

8 - Here's a man who takes 25th reunions very seriously. He flew in from Australia to attend this!

John was in choir with me, and that meant we performed together in several musicals. For some reason I always played the comedy relief roles opposite John. In "Oklahoma!" he was Will to my Ado Annie. And because John is a natural improv virtuoso, that's exactly what he did once we stepped onstage. Was I thrilled? I kept threatening him, wanting desperately for John to stick to the script, but it never happened. Only the onstage magic. Somehow I held on for the rollercoaster ride.

"Actor, Writer Director and Theatresports legend, John has featured in such comedy combos as "The Bouncing Sheep" and as the mad evangelist Billy in "God's Cowboys". He has made films and starred in the long-running Theatresports spin-off "Improzac". He's currently playing The Rookie in "Cops on Heat", fresh from the Melbourne Comedy Festival." Celebrity Theatresports Challenge

9 - Next to Chris is Sean Day, who was the longtime boyfriend of one of my choir friends, Dawn Dort. That meant he attended all the choir parties and we had many spirited times together. Dawn and I stay in regular contact, going away on Girls' Nights when she comes home from Seattle, along with Shelley, who also lives here in Halifax, and Maureen, when she's home from British Columbia. Sean himself stays in contact with Dawn, and stood up for John Knowles when he got married in Australia.

Sean now works as the town planner for Antigonish, NS, a beautiful university town halfway between Halifax and Cape Breton.

10 - This is a photo from high school days of the art teacher/play director, the infamous Sheila MacLean. A hearty Yorkshire lass transplanted across the sea to Nova Scotia, Mrs. MacLean had a personality that projected easily to the back row. She had a wickedly sharp temper that kept all her student actors quaking in their boots. I used to do a perfect impression of her: "LOOK, you TURKEYS!"

Photo by Rhonda Burke

"Funny, every time I think of PA Drama, the phrase, "STOP BEING SUCH BLOODY TWITS", pops into my head. It haunts me." - Peter Yorston, Prince Andrew High School Drama Geek

11 - The reunion was split into three events. The night before the dinner, there was an informal gathering at the Celtic Corners pub which I didn't go to, having been socked with the same migraine I'm still fighting off 7 days later. I wanted to be certain I was at the main event at Brightwood Golf Club. But I soon found out that the pub night was probably the best fun anyone had had in a long while. Musical alumni, including John Knowles and Chris Elson formed an impromptu jam session and played the night away.

12 - The following day was family day out at Rainbow Haven beach. My best friend Connie and I drove out and spent awhile walking up and down a very crowded beach. No one had erected a sign or flag or anything indicating a reunion group. So we sat on our towel, had a great afternoon enjoying the sunshine and fresh sea air, and headed back not having bumped into a single Prince Andrew alumni. Ah well. C'est la vie!

13 - I really enjoyed my 25th reunion. The only thing that would have made it any better would have been if more people had been able to come. But like most east coast migrators (due to limited economic opportunities out here) a lot of our class of 1982 has flown far and wide to seek their fortunes. For 13 years, I was one of them, having the time of my life in Toronto. But I felt so glad to be back in town for this reunion. I would have hated to miss it.


Wylie Kinson said...

Thanks for sharing your reunion, Julia! We must be around the same age as my 25th is approaching any day now... (shhhh) ... and all my friends look amazing like all your friends!

Ann said...

Cool list. Thanks for sharing. My 25th is also approaching faster than it should, but I haven't decided if I'll go or not. Might go to homecoming at my college though (not so far to travel).

toni in the midst said...

What a neat TT, Julia. It was so fun to take a nostalgic glimpse into your past. Thanks for sharing.

Christine d'Abo said...

This is so awesome, Julia. I didn't make it to my 10 year anniversary, but I wish I had. I'm going to make sure I hit the 25th.

Annie Mac said...

It was such fun reading about your reunion. Sounds like you had a great bunch of friends to catch up with.

Rhian / Crowwoman said...

this was a great TT Julia - thanks for sharing pics and stories of your reunion! i'll never have a high school reunion so it's fun to share in yours!

Gabriella Hewitt said...

What a special treat. 25threunion. Wow!

Happy TT!

Gattina said...

How wonderful to see all the former school friends again ! I had never the occasion because I went to the german school in Brussels and there were mostly sons and daughters of diplomates who went away in the whole world after school. I have seen two or three of my class in TV. One of the boys is now working in the Vatican !

Lesley said...

Wow it sounds like you had a really great time at your reunion! My classmates are having a 10 year reunion this year but I'm going to be out of the country on vacation at the time.

Jill said...

This post respond to my answer form last week!!
Me, I cannot believe that I'm gonna have my 10 years reunion in 3 years!! Where does all those years go??
Seems like you had a good time(if you don't count your migraine!!)

Daisy Dexter Dobbs said...

I enjoyed this TT so much, Julia! Looking at all the pics and reading your thoughts made me feel as if I was part of that class reunion. :-)

Mine is next month, but I won't be able to attend due to a previous commitment. So, I'm glad I got to share in your experience.

Thanks for stopping by my TT!

Camille Alexa said...

Super cool. Sounds like you had a blast.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

OMG, Julia, that's YOU in those pictures??? You ARE like a fine wine -- and you do NOT look five years older than me, either.

Sounds like a great time. I'm not sure if the Tour Manager and I are going to do the 20th reunion or not; we haven't talked about it. So far, there's nothing TO talk about.

Hopefully, they forgot to invite us!

Karina said...

Sounds like a wonderful time catching up with old friends. It seems quite a few of the alumni from your school went on to do great things huh?

I missed my 10 year reunion because unfortunately, the organizer did a piss poor job organizing it, and out of a class of almost 500 students only about 30 were going to be attending. I chose not to go, but am sad that it wasn't better organized. Maybe the 25th will be better.

Amy Ruttan said...

Wow looks like a great reunion. I've only been 11 years out of highschool, and I ended up meeting with everyone on facebook again.

I hope to eventually go to a reunion.

Jenny McB said...

What nice pictures of a fun time. I enjoyed 2/3 reunions that I have gone to, it is amazing how some people age.

Hope you are feeling better!

uberstrickenfrau said...

Wow. Thats so neat so many made the effort to come and hook up again! I missed my 25th ( 2 years ago!) and I think I shall make more of an effort to go to my 30th!
Yikes! Just sayin that makes me feel like an old hag. thank you for the kind words of encouragement on my blog. Life does go on,eh?

Julie S said...

Wow, great topic and list! Sounds like you had a great time. I attended my ten year and it was a drag. I doubt I'll go to my 20 year. You're lucky your class is full of such proactive people!

julia said...

I'm going to give credit where enormous credit is due: two women from my graduating year took it upon themselves to organize the reunion and I had a great time because of it. Thank you, thank you to Maria Norris-Boudreau and Cindy Arnold Wheeler.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's really nice -- I'm so glad your 25th reunion was so much fun.

Thinking about high school doesn't do much for me except trigger post-traumatic stress disorder (ha!) so I stay far away from reunions, but I'm happy for other folks to enjoy those milestones. :)

Happy TT, and thanks for visiting mine!

Miss Frou Frou said...

Hi Julia, I loved reading this... I helped organise my 20th high school reunion and had a blast, some of us kicked on after the official get together, and got home about 5.00am!

It'll be my 30th next year... might drag out my list and see about organising another.

Flowerpot said...

sounds an amazing reunion - well done you!

Akelamalu said...

That sounds like a great reunion Julia, thanks for sharing it. Loved the photographs. :0

disillussioned_me said...

Some reunion ha! koool! hehehe..hmmmm i dont know if i'll go for my 25th school reunion or not! But maybe after reading this i'll go for the next one.
Have fun.

Ted said...

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Ted Sutcliffe

David Lycon said...

Thanks for posting pictures from the reunion. It is nice to see some familiar faces. I was part of the PAHS Class of 1982, but was unable to make it out for the reunion.