Saturday, August 25, 2007
Well, today is the day I came for. 20 years ago, I graduated from Milton High School – then the only high school in Alpharetta, now one of several.
I met my old friends, Marc, Steve, and Brandon, at the Roswell Doubletree Hotel around 6pm and we spent the first hour reminiscing and drinking beer like we’d never missed a day. We spent another hour in the hotel bar and then meandered over to the ballroom for the party.
In 1987, Milton High School had a graduating class of over 300, but tonight only about 60 of them (not including spouses and dates) were able to make it (and, I’d actually heard that at least one girl passed up the reunion to go to a concert!)
Despite the low turnout, it was a great time. Everyone had grown older, of course, and many looked quite the same as they did in high school, but what impressed me most was that everyone seemed to have grown up. At our 10 year reunion, people still held on to that clique mentality and still treated other classmates the same way they did in high school (the cool kids ignoring the geeks, the jocks making fun of the band, etc.) This time, though, it was different. The playing field was leveled, and those who were smug and self-centered in high school were now friendly and down-to-earth. It was a truly enjoyable evening.
One thing I was worried about, though, was remembering people’s names. Of course, we all wore nametags, but there’s always that awkward moment between when you recognize a face and when you remember (or don’t remember) their name. And, you can’t cheat by peeking at their nametags without getting caught. But, everyone was in the same boat, so not being able to connect a name with a face was easily forgiven.
The music was hit and miss, but, we had fun, and after a while, folks got out on the dancefloor and let loose. As the party in the ballroom wound down, a large group of us found ourselves carrying on in the hotel bar (the drinks were better there, anyway.) And, when the bar shut down, we all walked down the street to Tony’s and listened to a great band called The Breeze Kings (www.breezekings.com) and ended up closing that bar down as well. I think we made it back to our rooms by 2:30 or 3:00am, still wired and ready to go. Just like in high school, we outlasted the establishment and were still craving more. Just between you and me... I think it was the shared energy of the group, because we’d never be able to do that in our “normal” lives.
For me, it was a short trip (and two days of it was spent traveling), but I’m glad I went, because I truly enjoyed seeing old friends and acquaintances. I may sound like a doting parent, but I was so proud of how everyone turned out – happy, successful, and damn interesting! There were a lot of people I wish I’d gotten to know better when we were younger, and a lot of people who I look forward to getting to know better as I get older. I'm glad that so many people were able to come, and to the people who couldn’t make it... well, just know that you were dearly missed.
If you’re a Milton grad reading this blog, pass it on to your friends. They’d love to hear from you, and I’d love to hear from them. I’d like everyone to keep in touch with me, and I’d be more than happy to be a centerpoint for relaying news and information about what is happening in people’s lives. Just subscribe to my blog (click on one of the links to the right in the blue box) and I’ll make sure it happens.
Photos courtesy of Tracy (Thomas) Archer