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As many of you know I attended my high school reunion this past weekend. It was downright amazing to see so many people – many I hadn’t seen since the summer we graduated. It was a whirlwind of conversations that started with “in a snapshot, tell me about the past 20 years” and a majority of those stories were filled with a lot of laughter – so much so my voice was still shot yesterday morning. Throughout the weekend I often wished I could stop time to listen to the stories some people were sharing – their travels, their families, their work, their experiences – and was so grateful for a handful of quiet moments to dig in a little deeper and hear all about someone’s life.

don't mess with the wolf...

Here’s a little background: When we moved to Port Orchard, Washington, I had just graduated from middle school in Monterey, California, and thought I was going to high school. In my teenage mind going to a giant high school would be easy since everyone would be “new” and I wouldn’t be the obvious “new girl.” However I quickly learned 9th grade was still part of junior high and new girl status would be achieved. While I knew people moved in and out of the area, I also knew from my previous experiences a large majority of these kids knew each other since elementary school – or earlier – which meant they all knew whatever teenage rules and rituals of their daily life.

The junior high school was like a giant enclosed prison block – and so confusing to get around – compared to the open air school with breezeways and outdoor paths I’d just left. As luck would have it though, on the first day of class, Enrica must have sensed my bewilderment and fear as I walked into class because she quickly took me under her wing. And from that very moment, not only was I thankful for her willingness to hang with the new girl from Monterey, she showed me the ropes to survive not only junior high school, but we remained best friends throughout high school. Who knew on that first day when I was scared out of my wits, I made an incredible life-long friend who has always had my back – and I hers.highschool-20yrs-sparrowsoirees

Along with many walks down memory lane over the weekend, it was great to hear about what people were doing beyond the Facebook status updates. While I totally understand the “I see everyone on Facebook,” nothing truly replaces talking with someone in person while hanging out together in a bar or a picnic or at a party – or at an after-party at a karaoke bar… (oh, hey.. is that Elvis over there?).

reunion-sparrowsoirees

Here are a few snapshots from our Saturday night party (clockwise, from top left): See the guy in the middle, in the green? That’s Mike. We went to kindergarten together before the Navy moved my family to Hawaii. // A few Polaroids from the night. // We, the committee, hit the decor jackpot when our committee chair got an email from the high school letting her know they had found our class’ banner roll, which included a crown jewel: a banner a majority of our class had signed during our senior year (comical part: no one could exactly remember *when* we signed it). // With Jen; I couldn’t say no to her when she asked me to volunteer on the reunion committee and quite frankly, never regretted saying yes. It was so much fun to help plan. // At the photo booth with Dustin; we spent two summers working and later lifeguarding at the same camp; we were locker partners our junior year; and went to the same church, which also meant we survived youth choir tours together (FYI: I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket if my life depended on it). He was one of my best completely-platonic-guy-friends throughout high school. // And here I am. With a camera. Getting in people’s faces.

after-party1Okay, confession. There might have been an after-party. At a karaoke bar in the middle of Bremerton. There might have been some dancing. Someone might have done the Roger Rabbit. Some people might have proved their vocal magic skills. And quite frankly, someone should’ve dropped the mic after he busted out “Lose Yourself.” Whew. I feel better now.

And you know what? I cannot wait for the next reunion. I went to high school with an amazing group of people who made the entire experience – all those highs and lows of being a teenager – a complete and total blast. Cheers to the SKHS Class of ’93.

Many thanks to those who took pictures over the weekend & photo booth images by The SnapBar

This lil’ bird likes making new friends.
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