I just found out that my 40-year high school reunion is this summer. Naturally, I knew the reunion was this year (2014 -1974 = 40 years). I just didn’t know the what, the when, and the where.
The “what” is a gathering of the Monte Vista High School Class of 1974. Hovering around 4,300 people for the past 20 years, Monte Vista is the most populous city in Rio Grande County in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado.
But Monte Vista was much smaller in 1974. Rio Grande County itself had 20 percent fewer people. My high school graduating class was about 100 people, and we were one of the largest classes ever.
Based on attendance at previous reunions, I’m expecting about 25 of us to congregate in Monte (affectionately pronounced MAHN-ee) this summer. Some are far-flung, some have other commitments, and some just don’t care. Sadly, too, some are deceased … a disproportionate number, in our eyes. But I can’t wait to reconnect with those who do attend.
I’ve also learned that an all-70s gathering is planned, which means I can catch up with schoolmates who graduated before and after me — perhaps my senior prom date, my fellow cheer squad members, and classmates of my sister’s who are important to me because they are important to her.
The “when” was predictable, and I was delighted when my classmate Myrna, reunion organizer extraordinaire, messaged through Facebook that, once again, we’ll gather during Ski Hi Stampede (pronounced sky high) on the last weekend of July. Affectionately called just Stampede, the event is Colorado’s oldest pro rodeo, which also features concerts, dances, and an iconic multi-day parade.
The carnival, though … ah, the carnival, so eagerly awaited that our parents would drive us up by a couple of times a day as they were setting up. Gritty cotton candy, stuffed animals, and screaming “Stam-peeeeede” from the top of the Ferris wheel with my dad when I was a child color my memories.
I’m not sure that I’ll partake of the carnival this year, but I might break out my boots for a little scootin’ at the dance.
It’s the “where” this year, however, that has me impatient with anticipation. The all-70s evening is Friday evening at the Elks. Need I say more?
And then our Class of 1974 40-Year High School Reunion Celebration officially convenes Saturday night at a restaurant that wasn’t there when we graduated, called Alibi’s.
Think about that … Alibi’s. Is there a more perfect name for just such a congregating of late-50-somethings returning to the scene of the crime (metaphorically speaking, of course)?
An alibi is a defense based on the premise that a defendant is truly innocent. After 40 years, I’m eager to return to a form of innocence I found only in such years as those of high school. A form of innocence that looked ahead with promise and enthusiasm. An innocence that believed anything is possible.
That’s not to say that I don’t feel this way today. Often, I do. But when I mingle with the people who were so much a part of me in 1974, I’ll recapture some of that bright flame of promise and enthusiasm and bring it back with me to my 2014 life.
And that’s my alibi.