Quote of the Day “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” — CS Lewis
Bonus Quote of the Day “The Big East is good baby, but the Big Ten….Oh Oh Oh….The WHOLE CONFERENCE SHOULD GOOOOOOOO!” — BW Buzz, credibly impersonating Dick Vitale, approximately 20 years ago
Double Bonus Quote of the Day “Ahhh, Push it. P-Push it Real Good” Salt n Pepa, approximately 20 years ago
If you keep up with Travellinbaen you knew the Pascagoula High School Class of 1988 Reunion was coming up. It was, in fact held this weekend, and TB had a grand old time. I’d guess we had around 150 to 200 of our class show up out of the 550 that graduated. With such a large group the pace was a bit frenetic, at least it seemed to be as I began composing a blog essay on the experience. So rather than that, below are recorded a few observations and a couple of vignettes from a fun, slightly bittersweet weekend.
I spoke with the organizer, our former Class President Deanna Davis to thank her for the effort of getting us all together. We went through the same litany as did everyone else at least a hundred times—where we were living, how was life, any kids and what job? She observed that no one was going to remember any of this, and I agreed, but suggested what we would remember was speaking to everyone and that they looked fantastic. And that’s pretty much what I remember. With a few exceptions, the Class of 88 is holding up ok. As a matter of fact, a lot of our girls are prettier than ever. And who cares about the guys.
I noticed a few trends in the friends I spoke to, including a slight move to the left politically for our group as a whole, a marked movement of folks from diverse points around the map back toward Jackson County, if not Pascagoula, and a slow fading of the collective memory about the details of our lives as they were from 1985 to 1988.
Many of our classmates have achieved a measure of success. There are several doctors and lawyers, a collection of engineers, bankers, teachers and varied other solid professions. But a few stood out to me for taking a more unusual path. One guy is an energy expert with homes in New Mexico and Georgia that he shuttles between for the military. I thought it safe not to ask if he was CIA, but I will say he was a bit vague about his actual job duties. A good friend has become an environmental activist after spending years as an environmental engineer for the big boys. Her experiences led her to the conclusion she should no longer do their bidding, but should start her own business and try another route in furthering her goals and addressing her fears for the planet (my words, not hers, but this is what I took from the conversation—it was a bit difficult to communicate with “Push It” blaring in the background). Another good friend who only describes her job as “condo sales” dropped names like Richard Petty and Doc Rivers the way TB drops Supercynic. Having said that, let me say it was in the least boastful way possible–these people are simply everyday acquaintances and she can’t talk about her life without sharing stories about them. We had our obligatory professional athlete in attendance, though he’s now retired. Interestingly, while his first career has ended, an unlikely classmate’s career in the public spotlight is ascendant.
Walter Hawkes was what you might call “different.” He was liked, but also chuckled at when we were kids. Walter was one of those guys into computers and music back in the 80’s and neither of those was considered a cool area of interest to the crowd I ran with. But I remember him as always having a smile and never trying to be something he was not. It seems in the intervening years, he owned his originality and made something of it. He’s now a composer for the children’s show “The Wonder Pets” and plays music in dives and joints around New York City at night. He also plays with Norah Jones and has been spotted on Austin City Limits being called out by her as a friend and talented musician. And though he didn’t mention it, he just won a freakin’ Emmy. I checked out his blog and his My Space page and they’re both pretty cool. I’m linking the blog on my site but I endorse you checking out both sites. www.blatomaster.com Just google Walter Hawkes for his My Space page, where you can hear him play and sing. http://www.myspace.com/jwalterhawkes His music is pretty cool. As a matter of fact, it looked to me like Walter turned out to be the hippest dude we can claim. I also think he knows it, but he had the grace not to chuckle at the fact of his old classmates’ rapid decline down the coolness spectrum.
That is so cool about Walter – his family went to my church and although much younger than me, I do remember him in much the same way as you. Like I keep telling you – living well is the best revenge and Walter is certainly doing that. I can put names to all you describe except maybe one. I would have thought there would have been a book put together for you to remember all the details of who did what. I helped to do that for a class of 589 – of course, not all of them responded but at least half did. I doubt we go that far for the 30th which is only 3 years away. 30 years ago I was headed into 10th grade at the Annex and getting my driver’s license! Time flies when you are having fun and even when you are not.