CLASS OF 1971
It was great to see everyone who came to one or more of the three day's worth of events. I didn't remember everyone but I'm old enough now that that's going to happen. I had an idea for a reality tv program that I would actually watch but I forgot what it was. That's my reality. With Alzheimer running through my family, I'm darn lucky to remember anything. I'm preparing for it. I have already built my library. Selected my one book and one video which will always seem to be new to me. Making the same new friends everyday. Watching reruns of Gilligan's Island as if it were first run. Forgetting I was once potty trained. No! Too far. Now, where was I? I forget.|
First, the thank yous in no particular order
This was the first time I had ever organized an event of this magnitude. I kept waiting for it to cave in on me but it never did. It ran about as smooth as if someone had planned it that way. As smooth as silk. Hmm, where was Sara anyway.
We could not have asked for better weather. Suffering from 100 degree temperatures earlier in the week, it was sure nice to have highs in the low 80's for our weekend. With the exception of the light rain which chased the party off the roof Saturday night, the weather was beautiful.
Friday night, the Monaco. I had never been to the Friday reunion event before and wasn't exactly sure what to expect. I was surprised there wasn't a larger turnout. After all, it was a free event with free food. Where was everyone. Although the class of 72 was invited with unfortunately short notice, they were a no show. However, I did hear from a few who tried to make it. It never seemed to get over crowded. With the coming and going, maybe a consistent 50 bodies throughout the evening. There were a few classmates who showed up on Friday who didn't make any of the other events. Glad they were able to make it. As for the food, the sliders were surprisingly good, the hot wings were surprisingly hot. Maybe that shouldn't have been a surprise but... Being that I was in martini corner, I felt like I had to try a martini. I can't remember ever having had a martini before (see memory discussion above). Was disappointed. Was too much like drinking chocolate foam. Not my thing. The 2 dance poles went unused all evening even though Ginny offered to entertain us once she had enough liquid courage. Who didn't buy her a drink? Shame on you. Once the hounds were let in, several of us went across the street to the Velvet Dog to continue the party. As for me, I went home.
Day 2, Saturday night, River's Bend. As well as I tried, I didn't get there much before 6 and people were already arriving. By the time I got Beverly set up for the door, it was too late to try to go backwards and get people who were already in to come back and register for a door prize. You'll never miss that $100. At last count, there were approximately 103 bodies. 74 classmates, and their guests. Some who had never been to a class reunion before. 22 of the 74 from out of town from 14 different states. From as close as Iowa and Oklahoma, to as far away as California and New Hampshire. Thanks for making the journey.
As I wandered about, eyeballing the different choices for food that was being consumed, it all looked so good, I knew I was going to have a problem choosing. River's Bend loved the way we set it up to avoid slamming the kitchen. When it was time for me to order, they decided to make something special for me. Can't tell you but it was delicious. I set it up so we could order from the menu because no appeteaser will satisfy everyone but everyone could order what they liked from a menu. That part went well. Everyone liked the food. The only comment I heard was it limited the mingling while you were seated waiting for food whereas appeteasers allow the mingling to continue. Point taken and will be remembered for next time.
I now know how frustrating it is to try to get everyone's attention to make some announcements. The room was abuzz with conversations. I finally gave up and did them anyway. Interesting how many people asked me questions later about things I had covered during the announcements. Bart Physioc was unable to make the journey from Washington but at someone's suggestion I invited him to join us by phone. Unfortunately, the buzz was loud enough that many couldn't hear me or him as he blessed the event and led us in a moment of silence in remembrance of our fallen brothers and sisters. Thanks anyway Bart.
Mark Valentine offered to help us with the entertainment for Saturday night. I wasn't about to say no to help. If there was any common thread throughout the feedback I have received, it was about the band Saturday night. There are no knocks against Flashback. Everyone thought they did an excellent job. They tried to keep the play list to our school era which was great. BUT... the volume was a definite inhibitor to conversation and catching up with one another is what the reunion was all about. As the evening progressed, there got to be more people sitting out front and on the roof talking than there were inside. Their loss as they missed the rare opportunity to see me sitting in on drums with the band. Heck, I felt like every once in awhile I was actually on beat. Mark was unable to join us Saturday night as he was performing with a band in Lawrence. He has an idea for next time. I'm looking forward to working with you again, Mark.
If it hadn't been for the clouds, the roof would have been the perfect place to witness the meteor shower. Most unfortunate. I didn't spend a lot of time on the roof but there became quite a crowd up there. The roof had it's own bar so why not. The railroad tracks are right next to the restaurant. The tracks are still very active. Mark Clough who now lives in Parkville says there's no getting used to it. It's a fact of life in Parkville. Many trains passed while our event proceeded. Anyway, back to the roof. As a train approached while I was on the roof, the people sitting all got up to watch the train. Didn't know we had so many people into trains. Then, they proceeded to put their fingers in their ears. I'm like, come on, how loud can it be. They blew the whistle right by the restaurant. I can tell you. It's VERY loud...but kinda fun. Eventually, a light rain chased the party back indoors.
Meanwhile, inside, Cathy Picardy was modeling Sandy Snook's red gym outfit.
The most common topic of discussion seemed to be our weight. With few exceptions, most of us now weigh a bit more than we did in high school. When I started, I weighed 135. When I graduated, I weighed 165. Now, I don't. I blame my recent weight gain on my dog. My mother turned him into a mooch pooch. He would successfully mooch about 1/6th of my food away from me as I ate. He was finally let go after 16 wonderful years of companionship. I still cook the same amount of food but now, I get to eat it all.
As the party wound up around 1am, I took the opportunity to talk to the staff at River's Bend. They couldn't speak more highly of us. They went so far as saying this may have been the best group they ever had. Everything went so smoothly for them. We are welcome back anytime. BTW, the guy in charge that night was an SMN grad from 86. He says he hopes their reunion will be as cool as ours was.
Day 3, Sunday afternoon, Don Chilitos. Imagine my surprise when I arrived and found out we have the banquet room without them even knowing we were coming. I expected about 20 people but figured at 2pm, we could just convene noisily with the other patrons for an hour with no need to get a room. I guess we had about 20 people including some whom we hadn't seen all weekend. Shows the power of keeping it local. I will also remember that for next time. 3 o'clock. Time to head across the street … or under the bridge, if you will. Before we leave, we learn there is a group of about 30 of us gathering in front of the school. Between the 2 groups, this was going to be much larger of a group than I had expected. A pleasant surprise indeed.
Day 3, Sunday afternoon, Shawnee Mission North. The reason we had to do this at 3pm is because there would be no one to let us in before 3pm. As the Don Chilitos group waited patiently at the appointed east gym entrance, we sent scouts to check out the other group in front of the building. If it was going to fall apart, this is where it was going to happen. We were totally reliant upon the custodial staff to REMEMBER to let us in. It wasn't a horrible wait and the temperature wasn't 100 degrees but an assistant principal finally showed up to let us in. School started for the freshmen on Monday so last minute details were being ironed out. As we entered, we came face to face with the hall of fame wall. On the wall along with the obvious Gish and Taylor was Dave Specht who remained absent all weekend. We were directed to send someone to the front to let the other group in. Bill Carter went with me to the front door by the office. Of course, there was no one there when we got there so I watched the door while Bill went out front to find them. The other group was in front of the cafeteria doors. I'm sorry, as I recall, that was never the front doors. (see memory...you got it by now, don't you?) As the other group was filing in, a custodial staff person finally appeared. As I figured, he knew nothing about us visiting the school. It wasn't until the assistant principal showed up to unlock the office that he dropped his defenses and relaxed a bit. So, our first stop on our tour was through the office. The principal's office has a back door. Why does the principal's office have a back door? Conveniently located near an exit to the back courtyard. As people started to scatter, I mentioned, rather loudly, that we should maybe stay together as a group. Things hadn't changed in 41 years. I had no authoritative power then, I had none now. As we traveled through the halls, having the custodian with my small group allowed for doors to be unlocked and lights to be turned on. At least as far as the theater and music areas. Except for the auditorium, it was totally new. Greaser hall is still greaser hall. At the end of greaser hall is a new area called the west wing. I was absolutely shocked. The west wing appeared to be a day care facility. Was it for staff or students...or both? As we returned to the front hall, we passed windows and doors that gazed out upon the back courtyard. There were 2 benches. One was a class gift. Could the other be the Mark Gaul memorial bench? Jeff McDade and I went to examine it. Yes, I'm sure it was Jeff. Gimme a break. Bill disappeared after the office tour. Yes, it was the memorial bench. The library was unlocked and the lights were on. We went in. Not much different but you had to pass through magnetic security devices at the doorway. It's not like we were at the Gap. It's not like students were likely to walk out with a book they didn't check out. Did anybody ever check out a book? I'm guessing the electronic equipment like the computers were stolen once and were tagged. It only takes one person to screw it up for everyone. Just once I'd like to see someone sporting hot Gap clothes to walk through one of those. As we walked down the hall leading to what was the new wing, the only wing that in our day had air conditioning, you could see the classrooms were different but also the same. Blackboards replaced with whiteboards. Computers in almost every room. But those desks looked awfully familiar. At the end of the hall, we descended to the pool. Don't know why. It's not like I haven't been in there. I've taught swim lessons for the red cross in there. I've worked out with the Blazers masters in there. My first competition post high school was in there. I was actually faster in my thirties than I was in high school. I tried to tell Harry Roth that long hair wouldn't slow me down. Of course the year after I graduate, the whole team had long hair. Go figure. We must have held the door open too long as we set off the first alarm of our tour. My phone rings. Busted? No, it was Bill requesting us to return to the gym for a group picture. Someone discovered that 3 athletic records set by our class still stood. Someone found a list of teachers who served at North for 25 or more years. I'd have said taught but we all know better. A lot of our teachers were on the list. Thank goodness no one tried to sing the school song. After the picture op, the reunion was over. As we left through the gym doors we had to pass by the display cases with the trophies. In answer to the question I posed with the Sunday event announcement, yes, our 5a state football trophy was indeed still there. As the majority left, 4 of us lingered and I led them back to the Mark Gaul memorial bench and checked out the names on the brick patio by the pool. It was time to leave.
As I left SMN Sunday afternoon, I took a drive around front. There was something I didn't remember seeing. As I recall, (again, you know), our class gift was an arch that faced the street in front of the office by the drive. If that was it, it was gone. If it's gone, maybe we should come up with another idea. I have one. Committee anyone?
There was also talk of having a larger scale reunion event like our 41st every five years instead of 10. Before we settle on this, I invite conversation for discussion. Send you thoughts.
I know there were a lot of pictures taken. If you want to share them, please email them to me and I will see they get posted on the web site. If you posted them on facebook, let me know and I will go get them.
Speaking of the web site, the future of the web site was questioned. It is currently hosted in the space I use for my business. As long as the business continues, the site will only incur a $15 per year registration fee for the domain name. There is a small surplus of funds remaining from the reunion. Enough to cover the name for a few years so the site is safe. In order for the site to remain effective, we must keep the contact information current. As your contact information changes, please update the information on our site. I will try to send a link directly to your information for update on an annual basis. The email address is the most critical. This whole reunion was organized on line. Not one person responded to the snail mail reunion information sent out. We have over 300 valid email addresses. Let's keep it that way. Don't make me call you.
I would still like to create a facebook page for the class. Others brought it up over the weekend. I had some volunteers earlier but we never got to it. If someone would like to tackle it, let me know. I gave up computers in 94. I really don't want to know how or why facebook works.
It was finally over. Tired. A sigh of relief. Like everyone else, I had wonderful time. I couldn't be happier. (Actually, I could. I saw Paul Revere & the Raiders Tuesday night and haven't laughed that hard in a long time.) The words that came to my mind were the lyrics to the song We'll Meet Again (which was also used by the Faces at the end of their show as they stumbled off the stage). We'll meet again. Don't know where. Don't know when. But I know we'll meet again some sunny day. Ah, but I do. It has been requested, discussed, and agreed that with our age, health and memory fading (see, it's not just me) that we meet more often. It has been decided that we will meet on an annual basis on homecoming Friday evening at SOP's currently known as Sully's Pub in Mission. Last year was a good time had by all. It will be Friday night only and totally free except for the food and drinks you consume. If you don't have reunion burn out, the date for this year will be Sept. 21. Mark your calendars now. As the date approaches, you will receive reminders of the gathering as long as someone reminds me to remind you.
Congrats on a job well done. Everyone I talked to really enjoyed themselves and greatly appreciated your efforts. Take a bow! Thanks once again for a marvelous evening! |
Loved the locale, date, time etc. Food for thought, [pun intended], maybe a buffet instead of a menu? People could graze at their leisure. Less stress on the wait staff. That way they can concentrate more and serving drinks!! And yeah, I could have done without the band. Once again, you did a superb job and are to be congratulated!
You 'da man,
Thanks again for all your efforts in organizing the reunion events. I thought the Saturday night event that I attended went very well. It was fun to visit with everyone.
Charles A Speer
Greg, think everyone is over the moon after having sooo much fun. we would've never had this opportunity wo you!!!|
Gigi (Larsen) Diggs
Dear Greg, I had a blast at the SMN 71 reunion......it was well worth it to me all the work you put into it!!!! And I want to be one of the many that I hope will take the time to thank you for all the work you did. I hope you felt satisfied and happy with the turnout because in my opinion it was just great!!!!! Thanks a million, miillion!!! Thank you and thank you....what more can I say? Happy, |
Cindy Wendt Peters
I wanted to thank you again for putting so much time and effort into planning the reunion for all of us. I had a wonderful time and everyone I talked to said the same. It was great seeing everyone. I only wish I didn't have to fly home on Sunday because I would have loved to see SMN again.
Thanks again for all your hard work. It is truly appreciated!
Ginny Gish Wilkins
Hi, Greg - I just wanted to tell you "thanks" again for all the hard work
you put into planning our reunion. I, for one, had a really great time! It was nice
seeing old friends again. I found it interesting to learn that many still live in the KC
area. Hopefully we can all stay in touch (through the web site and through e-mails). |
Thank you again for all you've done. Your efforts are deeply appreciated.
Jackie (Cerovich) Cooper
Hi Greg! First of all, thank you for your hard work, the whole weekend was great and
so much fun catching up with our classmates. I loved your mix of music on Friday night
and the band was great however I think a band is too loud if we want to talk and visit.
The location was lovely with the deck, etc but
something in Johnson County if we can afford it would be great next time. I love our old
haunts, SOP, etc. We're old and drinking + driving so far is dangerous.
I'm so impressed with your party planning skills I think you may have found a new
Thank you again I had a great time seeing all of my old friends, especially you!
It was great seeing you last weekend at the reunion events. I thought you did an awesome job in putting things together and want to thank you once again for your efforts.
The venues were great and so was the food. It would have been nice to be closer to the SMN area, but I understand trying to keep costs down. I do think (and others agreed with me) that background music would have been nicer. The band was really good, but we found talking with one another was difficult with the loud music. It turned out ok, because the weather was nice enought to go outside and visit.
I also like the idea of having an annual get together. All the locals could attend and maybe some of the out-of-towners would join us as well.
Thanks again for all your hard work,
I think you did a great job.
I don't know if smoking was a reason for roof or outside because I don't smoke. I did have to shout inside for Deb to hear me. The band was very good but sometimes too loud to carry on a conversation without breathing in someone's ear.
One thing about an appetizer bar and small plates, it keeps people moving around.
The location was good. The food was good. I thought it was a good value and fun.
You did a great job of organizing everything and keeping everyone updated on all the details.
My only suggestion is to punt the live music. Once those guys started playing it was very difficult to carry on conversations. They were a good band but way too loud for the type of event.
Thanks again for all you did.
Hello Greg!!!! |
You are the motor that drove our whole, entire reunion to be the great success it certainly was!!!!!
Thank you for all of your single handed effort and all the countless hours you put into making it happen!!!!!
I loved seeing everybody-and we had many who showed up who live pretty far away-California(Rachel Azarnoff),New Hampshire(Rob Wright),etc.
Could we keep this in mind please for next time-instead of having a band that we have to "talk over, or above", just either have very soft canned music playing in the background,where we can actualy hear what our friends are trying to get across without shouting too loud,or no music at all.
I loved the Rivers Bend venue and I think the time of year you planned it for was excellent!!!!
Thank you for heading it all up!!! You did a phenomenal job!!!!!!
Jeannie Russell Frank
Great job Greg!! Great venue. I couldn't get anyone there to actually take my order for food... but I didn't care. Backgound music would have been fine with me.
Had a great time! You did a fantastic job!|
Carol A. Miner
No kidding…you did a fabulous job. I know everyone appreciated your humor, organization and tenacity. I spoke with at least 2 people who told me the only reason they came was because they thought it sounded fun through your e-mails. Be very proud of your inner geek!
I’m sure there are people who we will never see at a reunion. More than a few hated high school. Sometimes I think we can only touch the people who want to be found. I have tried to run a few down and they do not always respond.
The yearbooks and gym suit I brought seemed to be big hits. I would suggest at a future event asking attendees to bring whatever memorabilia they have hanging around and set up a lighted area with chairs. I received many thanks for just setting them out and including a magnifying class on Saturday.
Also, I think a runway show would be nice. It would go something like this…classmates enter the room, a spotlight hits them and an announcer says, “This is Sandy Snook. She is now social worker in Kansas City. You might remember her from drill team.” Joke. But something like that would have helped in a few cases.
Anyway, thanks again. A fun weekend was had by all.
Your exceptional efforts to put this all together were appreciated by everyone.
Someone told me there would be a standing "get together" from here on out during homecoming weekend for SMN. @ gathering at whatever the old Some Other Place would be called, with a football game to follow.
It was nice to have a place like Rivers Bend, with two places outside to congregate, if good weather prevails.
My only two cents would be: DJ over a live band. When there are so many people to talk with, it can become very difficult with live music, because it is "always" too loud, no matter where or when or who is playing. Plus a DJ with an arm load of vinyl and cd's can always get to the heart of the music.
Again, it was lots of fun, and can't thank you enough for all your time and effort.
P.S. sorry, no photos from me. The Web Site you've made is terrific.
The only thing I enjoyed was the band...I loved the music they played but was to loud to talk and I'm sure that's why so many people end up out side. This was the first reunion I have gone to and I thank you for all your hard work trying to get us all together. Someone suggested maybe a brunch next time as I hate to admit it but we are getting older and don't like driving in the dark. I live close to Parkville so no big deal to me. I just enjoyed seeing friends I hadn't seen in years. Thanks again. Lisa Stewart Scarborough
The dates worked fine for me because I had advance notice. 6 months is good I think. I also like the venues where the events were held. The food was quite good on Saturday night and I didn't miss the appetizers at all. I enjoyed both nights and think it helps to do it the way you did with multiple events for people to choose from. As far as the music goes, I normally enjoy music and dancing but, because the area was kind of small, that made it loud and too warm temperature wise. I don't necessarily want to vote for doing away with a band but a different venue for that might have been better. It's hard to say. Maybe hold off on the music until dinner is over.
I wish I had some ideas for improving attendance. At the very least, we should all talk it up more and nag people to come. If I think of any brilliant ideas, I'll let you know.
Ginny (Gish) Wilkins
Hi Greg, it was nice that you put this together - thank you! I think everything was great. Personally, I would have rather had background music, maybe DJ instead of the band. It was too loud for me therefore went outside to talk to old friends and catch up with them. |
Looking forward to the next one. I loved parkville; great setting!
Karen (Bechtel) Hoffman
Greg... Just wanted to commend you and say a big thanks for the excellent job you did putting together the reunion. I very much appreciate your hard work!|
I'm not sure HOW the reunion could have been more thoughtfully arranged. I wasn't there for Friday night, but as far as Saturday night and Sunday afternoon go, each venue had a different and completely appropriate-to-the-reunion atmosphere. The different events pressed ALL the right reunion buttons. (Ahem. I mean the following.) I found it to be deeply moving to reconnect so well with so many people from the past. Like some of the rest of us, I have basically been out-of-the-loop for decades. I still have family in the area, and come back every year or two to visit them, but former classmates? We began reconnecting only within the last 5 years or so, thanks to Facebook and Classmates. And maybe we had to wait for that technology before it could happen.
Out-of-the-loop is right. I've been in New England for 35 years. After SMN, a lot of us split, went to college, and then relocated. I hadn't even been in SMN since early 1973.
Above all, I deeply appreciate the scheduling dates of the reunion. It's just really hard for teachers to take time off during the school year. That being said...if you go on to schedule 5 and 10 year reunions, I will do whatever I can to get there. It was THAT good. Not sure I can make yearly Homecomings (!), but hey, after retirement somewhere in the next 10 years, what difference will it make, anyway?!
Specifics? The River Bend was fine location, and the price was right. The band WAS loud, but the front deck and roof offered retreats for those of us who wanted to gab. (And maybe some of the significant others preferred the band to hearing us yap, IDK...I didn't bring the family on Saturday night!) Don Chilitos was great for nostalgia re. our playtimes, back in the day! SMN speaks for itself.
I've been FB friends with so many SMN folks, including Charlie Burke, Rachel Azarnoff, Jackie Cerovich Cooper...and others who couldn't make it, including Linda Afflick, Ellen Tanner and Debbie Radford...and others in different SMN classes, including Susan Edgerley, Joy Ulrich, John Wait, and Susan Wheeler Keltner. (Oh gosh, I've known Sherri Hugi, Steve Waage and Rachel since grade school, and Jackie and I were neighbors and buddies from the beginning of second grade!) So many likes and comments on my Reunion pics and comments. (You were right; take a picture of the Thespian Roll, everybody wanted to see THAT!...and wanted to know where their signature was.)
In more than one post since then, I've said that the event was pure magic.
And in MANY posts in the months leading up to the event, I've said: Hats-off to you, Greg. 100 percent. Thank you.
See you later. Keep me on the list. And mind the shears. (BTW, I really liked the story of your choreographing your own death! I remembered it afterward, but I have NEVER forgotten the gasps from the audience! It worked, you bet!)
You did an absolutely amazing job organizing everything for the reunion. A million thanks to you....it would not have happened without you!
had a great time at the reunion! You did a great job and the hard work showed!|
enjoyed the venue at Parkville ... having the roof and two 'floors' was a good touch ... if we'd had more people the areas would have been put to more use!
the music was loud but the band was great. Maybe a dj next time and music from all the years of high school (69 thru 71) ... realized most people were talking and not much dancing but a dj might have gotten people on the floor with some of the 'new' "line" dances .... BUT the main focus was re-connecting and talking so the music/dancing is not the priority
LOVED going thru the school... maybe we should have set a place to meet (like the front door) as some couldn't come to don's and met at the school
thanks again for all your hard work in making this reunion happen! And for the web-site!! There are no friends like the ones in high school who knew you when you growing into the person you are today and still loves you!
Shirley (White) Harbin
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