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Saturday, July 31, 2010

You can't go home again - Highland reunion

     I just got back from a trip to Pocatello, Idaho where I grew up.  I went back for a 25 year high school graduating class reunion.  Did I have a good time?  I've been told you can never go home.  I've always wondered about that.  So what did I find when I went back?  Well..I guess I should start at the beginning:

     I planned out my little trip for three days and two nights.  I would fly into Salt Lake City, Utah and then drive a rental car back to Pocatello.  I figured I could fly in Thursday morning, make the drive, and then after getting the lay of the land, still have Friday to run around during the day before the runion!  What fun, right?  Unfortunately there isn't that much to see in Pocatello.  But still, I was excited for my trip.  I got to the airport and had my boarding pass and couldn't wait to get to Salt Lake!



     Nice view, huh?  One of these big planes has to be my flight!  I'm all worked up, but when I get to my gate, there's no plane there.  Eventually, they announce the plane is on it's way and will be on time.  Pretty soon this tiny, little plane shows up and hooks up to the skyway.  It's so small, it doesn't even hook up right to the skyway!  We're told to "watch our step" as we get on because the plane is not quite hooked all the way to the skyway!  I climb on the tiny plane and it ends up being delayed by about a half hour.  And then it was delayed another 20 minutes when we got to Salt Lake City because there was no one to hook the skyway up to the plane there.  I guess no one knew we were coming!  I hate airlines!

     Anyway, I get off the plane and head towards where the signs say the rental cars are so I can pick my car up.  I've already checked in online a few days ago and should just be able to use a terminal and then get my car!  After walking about a mile through this huge airport, I finally find the Hertz desk.  I find the terminal.  I go through everything and it prints out a locating for my car.  I ended up with an SUV.  Now I wander around in a rental car parking lot for a half hour trying to find the damned thing!  When I find it, I can't get in because I have NO KEYS!  Now the trip is going down hill fast.  I go back and wait in a long line at Hertz for the clerk to tell me "Oh, I'm sorry sir, you should have just told one of us you needed keys and we would have gotten them for you."   I thought I was using a terminal so I wouldn't have to DEAL WITH ANY PEOPLE!  Anyway, I get keys and go out to the SUV.  It's really nice and even had satellite radio!  The station was set on an "all 80's" station!  Things are looking up now!


     I grab something to eat at a place called Crown Burger and head for Pocatello.  I notice how polite people are on the roads here.  Even in Idaho, no one was tailgaiting me, most people were going the speed limit.  Going from Vegas to there was like going into a traffic Twilight Zone!  It was really nice to be around people who have manners, though!  I find my way to Poky and check in at the Ramada Inn.  It was one of the cheapest places I could find in town, but it was clean, and quiet, and that's all I needed!


     The tv didn't have HBO, but it did at least have basic cable.  Not a big problem since I hadn't planned on spending too much time in the room anyway.  Time to go and find my old high school!  So I drive up the road touring the town.  Most of the town seems to be under road construction.  It's all blocked off, but nobody seems to be working on anything.  Typical.  Eventually I think I've found my way to where "Bench Road" was.  Now it seems to be called "Chubbuck Road."  It's in Pocatello and called Chubbuck Road.  Or is this the right road?  I follow the road up and can't find Highland.  Now that I'm pretty lost, I drive around and look at the nice houses.  FINALLY, I find Highland...sort of.  The &^%$ing road's blocked off!  I can only look at the stupid school beyond this cement blockade!



     I don't know how to get around this.  I think seriously about just driving the rental SUV over the curb and trying to pass it, but I can't seem to find enough room to actually do it.  PHOOEY!  (Some people reading this might not like a string of profanity, so I'll just use phooey)  I'm supposed to meet a friend for dinner, so I'll just go back to the hotel and wait for that.  My friend is someone I've known since 4th grade.  I never really talked to her in school, but ended up getting to know her on facebook.  (Hi Melina!)  Yes, it's Melina Murphy Lindholm!  I meet her for dinner and we discuss several rumors.  No, I won't tell you the rumors.  Small town stuff.  *chuckle*  She's shocked when I tell her I wonder what it would take to get thrown out of the Ramada Inn.  Not that it's a bad hotel, I just wonder what lengths I'd have to go to for a motel in this small town to ask me to leave.

     Yes, I realize all this is boring.  Skip ahead to the short videos is you want to.  After dinner when I get back to the motel, I notice the door I usually go into to get to my room is broken.  Broken as if someone tried to punch their way through the glass.  FABULOUS!  Now I wonder if the SUV is safe here at night!  Should I call and tell the front desk?  No, I figured they'll find out soon enough.  When I get up Friday morning and come downstairs to check out more of Pocatello though, I can't use the door anymore.  Looks like someone did find out about it.


     So now I have to figure out something to do until the reunion at 7 pm.  I drive around the town again and go into Walmart.  I go into this place called "Fred Meyer."  That one used to be the Pocatello Mall!  Now it's this huge...store!  And right at the entrace is a vending machine that sells lottery tickets!  I'm sure all you people in Idaho are used to that (Just like I'm used to the slot machines in the airport and everywhere else here), but for me, it's really neat to see!  I wonder if a million dollar ticket is inside it? 


     Ok, enough bologna about my tour around Poky.  Yes, it brought back a few old memories, things I hadn't thought about for years, but nobody cares about that, right?  Well, probably nobody reading this.  So, on to the reunion!  I really wonder what's going to happen there.  I haven't seen these people in 25 years, and wasn't really Mr. popular back then, either.  At least I'll have Melina coming to keep me company.  So I show up and there's only one other person there.  The senior cheerleader/homecoming queen.  I try to talk to her, but she won't have anything to do with me.  Why you stuck up...^&%$  (&%^$#&  ()&%%* (I'm sure you can figure out what that means.)  She can't even be polite enough to shake my hand and say "Wow, how've you been?"  So now I'm not real happy.  You can see the homecoming...girl...in the blue shirt with her back to me.  No, I don't know who that is coming in the door.  I was a bit early, and this is right around 7pm when the reunion was supposed to start.

video

     Scott Rees is there and comes over to shake my hand.  Good guy.  Chris Ostler shows up, he helped organize the whole thing, he shakes my hand and at least pretends to be happy to see me.  He came from Vegas too, and I ask him what he does now.  He's an accountant and mentions it's funny we've never run into each other, but also says he doesn't get to Luxor much.  I smile and tell him we don't really run in the same circles, especially with him being an accountant.

     Another classmate talks to me.  Justine Weenig Rollins!  I do remember her from school.  I mention that nobody I ran with will probably show up.  I throw out the name "Ricky Guyette."  She remembers Ricky!  She's with another girl who's name I don't even remember!  Another shy, quiet classmate like I was.  I don't think too many people talked with her, either.  Oh well, we can't all be popular, can we? 


     Another guy shakes my hand, his nametag says "John."  But John who?  I can't even figure out who he is!  I ask who he is.  John Gansky..OHHH YEAH!  I remember him!  But...where's his hair?  He's comepletely bald now!  Shaves his head?  who knows.  He admits he only knew I was "Bob" from reading my nametag, too.  What fun, huh?  Steve Roberts shakes my hand.  He's changed a lot.  He has a ponytail.  A gray ponytail, and he's walking using a cane.  Wounded veteran.  He says he's now working with other vets, helping them out after they come home.  I'm proud of him, and part of me would like to ask how he was wounded, but I don't want to make him relive something unpleasant like that.  I just shake his hand and tell him it's good to see him.  Sorry, I didn't get pictures of John, or Steve.  Now more people are getting here and they're all breaking up into their little "clicks."  I see the former class president.  My conversation with her went like this:

"Hey, class president, right?"
"Yeah."

     That's it.  That's all there was to it.  Now I'm not real happy.  Nobody's talking to me so I sit down and pout.  I use my phone and text Melina and ask where the hell she is so I'll have somebody to talk to!  (Meanwhile, both Scott and Chris work the room.  I note they talk to everyone!)  I text Melina and tell her I'm going to go over and put my face into the spinach dip.  Next I send her a note that says I see a cop outside the window and am going to moon him!  (Surprisingly, I was told John Gansky is a police detective.  I wonder if he's carrying?)  Melina and her husband finally show up.  By now I'm sitting at a table with some other guys who really aren't talking to a whole lot of people either.  I don't know who the hell they are.  They talked to me for a bit, but I still don't know who they are.  WAIT A MINUTE...I do know one of them!  It's Shawn Gunter!  Where the hell is his hair?  WOW!  A very nice, really short, military haircut.  He looks good, though!  Sorry, no picture of him either.

     video

     More video.  You can see the guys at my table.  The people I can recognize here are: Mark Linkholm (Melina's husband), Scott Rees, Shawn Gunter, Melina Murphy Lindholm (I don't know who she's talking to, though...Hydee Allen, maybe?).  And setting at the table in the backround is, I think...Robbie England?  (That's who Melina told me it was), and Dawn Morrell, though I don't know if you can see her too well.  I know she was sitting at that table, too.  (By the way, she did say hello to me and give me a hug!  Thanks, Dawn!)  I didn't get Dawn's picture either.  But the hug did mean a lot!  Thanks, sweetie.

     Now Melina keeps asking me if I know who some of these people are.  I know the names, but can't recognize too many of them.  She points out a girl and says, "You remember Jennifer, right?"  I look over and it hits me, Jennifer Bybee!  WOW, she hasn't changed a bit!  She still looks almost like she did in high school!  (You looked fantastic, Jennifer!)  She comes over and says she recognized me right off, too!  I get her to let me take a shot of her and Melina.



     Last, but certainly not least, Wendy Chase Prescott came over to talk to me!  Loud music, and we couldn't really hear each other too well.  But it was a nice chat anyway.  And yes Wendy, I'll send you a note about hooking you up when you're ready to come to Vegas!  I did appreciate you talking to me.  She looks quite a bit the same, too! 



     All in all, it was a fun trip.  I did see Niki Sherer, but didn't make the effort to talk to her.  I am sorry Niki, you know how pig headed men can be, right?  I know I should have made the effort to say hello.  I promise to talk to you at the 50 year reunion.  You looked great, though!  One final video of the reunion.  I just stood in the back of the room and filmed for a few seconds.  Feel free to see if you recognize anyone.


     video

     On Saturday, after the reunion, I drove back to Salt Lake City for my flight home.  I woke up early and was on the road by about 6am.  I visited the Mormon Temple because you just have to do that when you're in Salt Lake City!  (At least I do.  Come on, it's a landmark!)  I went to the Zoo, and checked out an outdoor mall.  Nothing really exciting before I came home, except for one last story.  Skip this if you're squeemish about animals.  *chuckle*  (Yes, I know, now it's like a trian wreck and you have to read it!)  I was looking in the gorilla enclosure at the zoo.  I see the gorilla laying in an odd position right near the glass.  It looks...well...dead.  A sign nearby says they just had to "put down" a gorilla because it had cancer.  No...they did NOT put a dead gorilla in the enclosure!  I can't BELIEVE this!  I take a picture of it and get out my video camera.  I'll just post the picture, though.  While I'm narrating and saying I'm not sure if the gorilla is alive or not, it moved it's arm and scared the hell out of me!  *chuckle*  I guess he was just napping.


     For all my classmates who read this, yes, what you see here is all the video and pictures I took at the reunion.  Not much, I know.  But then I was busy pouting most of the night, remember?  *chuckle*  If you came and we didn't get a chance to talk, don't worry about it.  I'm pretty anti-social usually.  And if you didn't come, maybe you can make the next reunion?  I can then pout and ignore you then.  Take care everyone, and hopefully we'll all make the next reunion. 

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