September was a pretty busy month! I tell you there was LOTS of stuff going on and yet the 2 things that were non-existent, which of course are two of my favorite things are Blogging and Running. But here’s what went on the rest of the time:
Labor Day Weekend
It’s been 20 years since I graduated! And thanks to Facebook, it would have been 20 years since I got in contact with some of my high school friends. Being from a small graduating class from Saint Vincent De Paul High School (now closed) in Petersburg, VA, there weren’t a whole lot of people who attended college with each other. During my 4 years at Longwood College, there were 3 of us from my class and I can’t remember, if there were any other from future classes or not. Anyway, there are ALOT of my graduating class that I have not seen in 20 years… and with the help of Facebook, most of them I just haven’t seen in PERSON in 20 years. Of course, there is Patrick who is 1/2 a world away riding horses on the Mongolian plains, visiting Tibetan Monks not because some rock band said “go save them”, and going back to Bangkok, Thailand to do some secret government thing… my Morse Code is stale since it’s formally “dead” but it was some like “club, bang-bang, americans, uh-oh wife Jennifer is coming, later.”
So with 20 years of anticipation, we headed to Virginia to visit my High School Alma Matter, and in doing so, I unleashed a Antiquity-Maelstrom in my workshop as I was trying to find great crap treasures that would bring back fond memories when I could ligitimately call myself a “Saint”. I found my yearbooks (of which I just had seen weeks ago) literally the last 30 seconds in the house. No, seriously. My Lovely and Talented Wife was calmly describing what I should do about being prepared and vigorously get to the van so that we can leave on time. I had my yearbooks, some photo albums, soccer schedule, letterman’s jacket, a vintage (circa 1983) memo from the school copied on the mimeograph machines (that patented “blue” color) and some other crap stuff.
I do have to admit that I was a little bummed that not more of my class or the classes around ’89 wasn’t there, but I still had a great time regardless! But then again, had there been that would have taken away from seeing the people there and getting to chat with them! My Lovely and Talented wife had a good time as well, luckily most of “Terry being Terry” stories happened at Longwood… I think the next reunion will have a broader announcing range to make sure that those that Aren’t In The Know, In The Know.
The next day, I was really excited to go visit St. Joseph Elementary. This is where I did my time from Grades 1-7 and then 8th grade at Gibbons High School before Bollingbrook was bought and St. Vincent de Paul was created at Bollingbrook’s old campus. And who better to visit the Elementary school with than Jason Turner, the future lead singer of Jaymo and The Barbarians, if I had my way. Jason and his wife Kim (who went to Longwood during my time) plus his two girls joined forces with me, My Lovely and Talented Wife, and The Elder and The Younger. For the most part, things were pretty much the way they were… same lockers but with about 20 more coats of paint, the step in hallway that was broken and fixed was still a different shade of fading, the clocks in the hallway were still there, but since replaced with newer faces.
It was pretty amazing that while we walked through the room Jason and I were to reminisce about the classroom Teacher for that room, what subjects we had, and other crazy stuff that went on during the course of a year. We were also amazed that they had shortened the long hallways, they were not nearly as long as they were 20 years ago.
Another big change was that the Sisters of Mercy Daughters of Charity [ed. thanks to Pete for the correction] were no longer living there, so the Convent for the nuns are now just regular rooms. It was highly unusual for use to go into the Convent area during my 8 years there, but the few times that I did cross that barrier it was to go to the chapel that they had there.
Some of the more strange places that I wanted to see where the old book room, where they stored all the books from year to year. It was always a spooky place being a small room in a semi-hidden alcove near the Cafeteria. The other place was the closet underneath the stairs, where we could purchase office supplies, which now that I think about it, I have been an Office Supply Junkie for years now. I was even challenged one morning while buying a number of the wedge/arrowhead style #2 Pencil erasers on whether my mother (who worked as an aide there for a few years) knew of this. “uh-yeah”
The cafeteria had not changed, well, except that since the Russians are no longer the enemy and “that” cold war is over, the Emergency Shelter (read: fallout shelter) signs weren’t as predominate as before. There’s a huge underwater mural painted on the (again, shortened) hallway at the cafeteria. And I did the standard pose by the small counter with a tray, as-if I was in line for another round of hot dogs (unless it was pizza day).
All the kids played outside on the asphalt playground, just like the good ole days. Not sure if they still have Nerf touch (sometimes tackle) football games out there, but a few things were a little different, such as the modern playground with the soft rubberized matting. Back in my day, it was all asphalt and we liked it! The green fencing that is around the windows of the cafeteria is showing it’s age. Back in 7th grade when I was figuring out that not all girls are icky and filled with cooties, there was one that I would “show off” by doing some acrobatic football catches INTO the fence while she was at lunch. Flowers might have worked better, but I was on a limited budget, plus girls weren’t “that” cool yet.
Lavelle Hall was a stand-alone building that the high school used for classrooms as well as serving as the High School Library. Although we only had high school classes in that building for 1 year, it was easy to remember most of the classes that we had there. Now, the upstairs is a St. Vincent/Gibbon memorial room in the main room, while the other classrooms are being rented out as needed. The entire downstairs is being rented out to an after-school program these days. Another big change that was the gas station/garage that was right next door to Lavelle Hall is gone…
One strange event was that Randy, the coordinator for the tour, found an ALIVE Opossum in a trash can. Apparently, the varmint made it in, but couldn’t make it out, so it was just lying in there eating the food and waiting for a slow and rather boring death. I commented that “In East Tennessee, we’d take that home and fry it up real good like”! We took the trash can, that was in a wooden holder (hence it couldn’t knock it over), and took it to part of the schoolyard that we could tip the can over and it would have to move in a way as not to be pissed and attack us. The Younger HAD to know what was going on, so never wanting to miss any sort of time to educate, I had the kids stand about 10-15 feet back and I tilted the garbage can to where the could see in, but it the Opossum was going to make a break for it, it wouldn’t scare the bejeezus out of the kids. The kids haven’t talked about it since, so it Opossum must not be as cool as other things like Fire Trucks, Trains and Legos.
We definitely enjoyed ourselves and it was nice to be back everything. Even my old house at 1810 Varina! Hopefully next time we make it that way, we can catch up with a bunch more people!
Stay Tuned! More on September to come!