Monday, August 20, 2012

When It Hits Home

Everybody knows the saying "you can't go home again."  And I would dare say that everyone knows it's true.  Turns out sometimes you have to try to realize just how thoroughly true it is.

For example - this is the high school I went to:

I've actually got a picture of about a dozen classmates standing on the roof next to those letters after graduation floating around somewhere.

This is the building in which I attended my ten year reunion Saturday:

And believe it or not, these are the only two pictures of the school I could find on google.  Weird.  Anyway.  Do you see any resemblance between these two buildings?  Because none of us did.  To put it bluntly (and mildly) that is not where we went to school.

But it was good to see everybody.  And, you know, meet everybody.  Because while of course there were those people who don't seem to have changed at all since graduation (and apparently I'm in that group . . . huh . . . ) there were also those who . . . have.  Like the guy who was rather trim to begin with becoming downright wiry and growing just enough facial hair that it took me 20 minutes to figure out who he was.  Or the guy who - how to phrase this delicately? - has decidedly not gotten scrawnier and who's identity I never would have guessed without seeing his name tag.  Which makes me feel really bad, because he recognized me the second I walked in.  On that note - it was great to see how many people recognized/remembered me.  Even though I was pretty heavily involved with drama and orchestra and color guard I still always felt so anonymous compared to, well, pretty much everyone else.  Clearly I was not the head cheerleader.  I wasn't even the head tech whom everyone knew and cheered at assemblies when something inevitably went wrong and they had to come out and fix it.  And I don't begrudge those people their titles, but it was a little surprising to discover that people not only knew my name then, but remember it now.

As far as the group I spent the most time with back in the day, we were represented by a rather small contingent of attendees.  Which was sad, and can I just say - all those excuses like "about to go into labor any day now?"  LAME!!! ;-)  A few of us had a small get together Friday night and we're thinking we'll have to try and do that every couple of years or something, because we have all more or less stayed in touch. And let me take this moment to say, what on earth did you people do before facebook?  I scarcely even had a chance to lose touch with anyone before we got back in touch!  It's kind of weird . . . I was all prepared for Saturday to be the first I'd heard from pretty much anyone in ten years - but not so much.  In fact, I think I'd recognize some of my old friends' kids if I bumped into them on the street.  Crazy.

But I'd have to say by far the biggest event of the night was just walking around the school.  It was so weird - there are small stretches that are so incredibly familiar . . . but they're surrounded by a building that looks like it was designed to be a set of some High School Musical type movie. (fun fact: HSM was the working title of the project and they were totally planning on replacing it when the movie aired.  Obviously that didn't happen.)

Anyway, a few pictures, because words cannot demonstrate how disturbingly trippy this tour was.  For those of you who did go to the same school I did . . . brace yourselves.

'Kay, so here we have the color guard my senior year. 

(slight tangent: the guard is HUGE now!!  And they have a winter guard!!!  A winter guard that goes to CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!  We would have KILLED to have a winter guard back in the day!  Granted, it would have been difficult seeing as most of the fall guard did drama the rest of the year, as did most of the band peeps who would have done winter guard . . . but we totally would have made it work.  Jeal. Lous.)

Now, for those of you who knew the band room, I just have to say the words "guard closet."  For the rest of you, imagine a large closet just to the right of this picture, wherein all the guard costumes and equipment are stored.  And where many a silly hijink was concocted.


We are standing more or less in front of the wall/door to said guard closet.  Now it's an art room full of pottery wheels.  The huge picture of back when the band was big/good enough to march in the Washington DC Fourth of July parade?  Gone.  The ceiling tiles that we had Jared Riggs absolutely convinced the word "gullible" was written if he could just squint hard enough?  Replaced.  Senior Row, place of amazing memories involving learning how to do (essentially) two-dimensional spins up against a wall and dancing the night away a week before graduation?  They paved paradise and extended the parking lot.  This might have been the most traumatizing part of the tour.  Good thing we got it over with first.

Moving on - 

My junior year locker is still there, yay!  Actually, my sophomore year locker is too, and only about 50 feet down from this one, but I don't remember which one it was.  This one was on the end though, so totally easy to remember. (Mr. Jones' room is right behind me for a little perspective.)  My senior year locker?  Long gone, and now that the cafeteria (I know, I know, it makes no sense to me either).  I don't much care about that one though, because it was literally at the opposite end of the building from all but 2 of my classes so I never used it.


The sidewalk squares that drama and color guard painted for homecoming week?  There's building there now.  They moved the doors that were there to the other side of the library.  Talk about another move that makes no sense.

On the plus side, the color guard is really starting to finally get some recognition.  Not only on the band trailer, you know how I know they have a huge winter guard that makes it to championships?  They're finally displaying trophies that are awarded to things other than sports!  In the trophy case!  Right by the gym!  There's one that's half volleyball and half guard, how crazy is that?  And there's one that has choir trophies in it!  Seriously, why wasn't this sort of thing happening while we were there?  (yeah . . . we'll not get in to that rant today . . . )

Anyway.  The small gym that was supposedly for wrestling but most everybody remembers as the social dance class gym?

Fond memories of being danced into that corner, let me tell you.

Anyway.  Now it's the band room.  And on the one hand, it's great that the band room is finally close to the auditorium (less fond memories of hauling equipment from one end of the school to the other in the snow, let me tell you!) on the other hand . . . that corner?

Not.  The.  Same.

And the auditorium parking lot is gone - now there's this rec center-club type thing in its place, and I'm not entirely sure what it's meant for, but if the presence of the drum major stand is any indication at least some of the marching band practices happen in there.  Which I'm sure is great to out of the elements and all, but the practice field is still right behind it, and the perfectly good marching band field is still there.  Except, you know, when the football team takes over to . . . I don't know . . . kick a ball around for a while . . . or something.  Needless to say, I went to those games only because I had to and didn't really pay attention to what was happening on the field when I wasn't on it.

Perhaps the most disappointing part was that we weren't able to go into the auditorium.  On the one hand it's not really a big deal, because apparently it hasn't been touched since we left.  Well, except for the horrible idea to move the booth from the ceiling to the floor right behind the house that happened right after we left.  Seriously, the original booth was such a haven.  And just a fun place to be - especially during the lamer assemblies.  And it's not like nobody goes up there anymore now, because dude, that's where the lights are.  You need to change gels or something, you still gotta go to the same place.  Seriously.  Dumbest. Move. Ever.

And since it hasn't changed, it's the one place left in the entire school where everything there is to see would be something familiar.  Where we could be literally surrounded by the Berver we knew and - believe it or not - loved (mostly).  My corner just offstage where I played Gwendolyn the Narrator in Twelve Dancing Princesses in ninth grade . . . the pit where I played in the orchestra for Bye, Bye Birdie in tenth . . . Nancy and I would have run up on stage and done spot on choreography from both Once on this Island and Joseph - even though we were crew rather than cast for both . . . the dressing room where I kept my amazing technicolor dream jeans senior year (I'll have to tell that story someday) . . . the hallway backstage where certain sophomore boys wandered about asking for someone to make them pretty for Joseph . . . the "forbidden zone" . . . the costume closet - full of costumes that probably hadn't been used in years . . .

Yeah, I'm really disappointed that we didn't get to go in.  But maybe it's best that it didn't happen.  That's a place that's not just haunted with the ghosts who's stories we'd tell when we were there late at night.  It also carries the ghosts of all our past selves.  Lacey running the spotlight for the middle school production of Fiddler because there weren't enough middle school techs and the teacher wanted a few high school kids in the booth to babysit.  Dani and Becca as the narrators in Joseph.  Clerie dancing in Island.  Steve bringing the audience to tears in the cancer benefit play that my classmates wrote themselves.  Like Emily in the third act of Our Town, I think I would have seen them all.  And even though we talked about how great it would be if that's what could actually happen at reunions, I think it would have been my undoing.  I've had a super nostalgic month as it is, on multiple levels.

Even just watching the video people put together was crazy.  There was some footage from the end of our freshman year.  I swear it was fake - those were tiny little eight-year-olds in that footage, not the 14-year-olds I'd just met and begun to make friends with.  If some of us look the same now as we did ten years ago, how is it possible that everyone looks so tiny in images from just a few years before that?

Long story short: it's been a fast ten years.

On the agenda for tomorrow: blogging about my 20 year reunion.  Because you know it's going to come up just that fast too.

P. ost  S. cript
I typed in Bear River on a whim at youtube - here's some video of all the new stuff.  It's kind of min blowing.  And check it out - not only does Berver have a winter guard again, they're hosting competitions again!  (and of course American Fork is still winning.)


  1. Who is that hot stud in The Corner... wow. Good times. That is a surprise, I don't know if I have a copy of that picture or not :)

    1. Just some dude with this weird aversion to lotion and a penchant for making up his own steps. ;-)

  2. Wow. Way to make me miss high school. That hardly ever happens. Also, I've heard that the guard is now like what the hi-steppers were. But I haven't actually seen them, so I don't know. But now I really want to throw a flag around!

  3. Wow! Memory lane! I Hung out with a lot of people who weren't in my grade (I think that was mostly because of daline;)) I think when I go to mine, I will feel like half the people are missing.