40th Reunion by Richard Sell

Reunion recap PGHS Class of 1974, 9/26 & 9/27 2014

By Richard Sell

WOW-what a weekend it was! The smiles, the laughs and the genuine friendship from all that attended. I can’t thank the planning committee enough for all the time, effort and trouble they go through to make this all happen. A special thank you to Rick and his wonderful wife Joanie as she is a goddess for opening their home to many of us on Friday night and I am praying nothing was broken.

From the opening kickoff at PGHS Football field to the lights coming on and the chairs getting put on tables at First Awakenings Saturday night basically saying “time to go home you old folks”, it was a rocking good time.

Even though many of the class still live on the peninsula many others do not. For some, like me, we don’t get to enjoy the beauty and joy of Pacific Grove but on a few rare occasions. From the time I drove in on Hwy 1 from San Francisco and could see Monterey Bay and smell the ocean I knew I was HOME.

When I arrived at the football game and was looking for the PGHS Class of 74 sign I recognized the smiling face of Sylvia Hernandez. Oh good, I’m in the right place-thank GOD. From there it was hug after hug with classmates from long ago. Having not been on the peninsula since 1999, I was a bit nervous and almost scared but just that first smile made me feel like it’s OK.

Since the game was so bad (PG got wupped) where are you Marc Blackwell when we need you? Most were back to Rick’s for some liquid relief. Thankfully Mr. Shymanski brought the Olympia Beer. What would we do without that fine beverage? With the excellent food and beautiful weather the conversations were free flowing inside and out. Around 10pm the “smart” ones started to leave as they wanted to make sure all batteries were charged up for Saturday night. I’m told in 2009 a few could not answer the call after the blow out at Sandi’s?!?!?!?!? Where are those pictures I wonder? At about 1:15am I hit the proverbial wall. I’m told the final beverage was consumed around 2:30am. Note to planning committee- Stated party to end at 11:30 so might want to change that for 2019. Not bad for almost 60 I’d say.

Saturday started out with sunshine and I’m sure coffee for all. Part of my reason to visit PG was my mom died this last April (Easter Sunday) and she requested to have her ashes spread in Monterey Bay. My goodness she loved the Peninsula!!!! Many of us have reached that age where loved ones are lost too young or at the wrong time. I can tell you my mom loved life and lived life till the last days. At almost 95 we could be so lucky to have our minds, smell, taste, hearing and eyesight. I say this to wish everyone this great opportunity and give each day your fullest. Tell those you love that you love them and reach out to friends (your PGHS 1974 classmates included) to say Hi! Rick was kind enough to skipper his boat and Tom and Dennis Sones joined us on a trip to Lovers Point. A HUGE thank you to these men. Sorry about the tears guysJ

As everyone prepared for the big party at First Awakenings to start, I thought about 40 years since being a senior in HS. Will I fit in? Who can I talk with? Will anyone dance with me? Am I dressed Ok? Well I can tell you it was one of the BEST NIGHTS OF MY LIFE!!!! With close to 60 alums and another 20 or so guests everyone was enjoying the company and opportunity to talk about the lives they lead and things that brought joy to their faces. A select few are retired or semi-retired and now must find a reason to get up in the morning. I was so excited to learn about how so many of our class volunteer their time and help those who may not be as fortunate. People came from So. Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii and multiple (I think 4) from Washington State. After the drinks got flowing and “fireballs” were getting served, the sunlight left and the disco machine got turned up loud and it was ON. Let’s just hope the video doesn’t get to U-Tube. Dennis, the green nipples were the bomb! I learned about the shy quiet girl who in HS was sneaking out the bedroom window at 1am to party till dawn. Butch Jackson said he remembered breaking my leg in 6th grade-gee thanks Butch! I told him I wish he would not have left the Freshman BBall team. Nothing like 0-14 record and the cheerleaders saying “that’s our freshman can’t be prouder, can’t hear us now we’ll yell a little louder” Gee thanks.

I looked at the ‘classmates lost’ table and thought how Jon Bedow left us in 1975 and five others (Ylen Cress, Joe Buffo, Gaila Shaffer, Jana (Lancaster) Castaldo and Tom Tolen) are gone since the last reunion. We should be so glad to have such a dynamic, caring group of classmates. It’s an honor to part of PGHS 1974 and those who are gone are not forgotten.

The Conga line (who started that anyway?) took us to the group picture taking. Since this was done after many had a few beverages this picture may need to be carefully screened before public viewing is allowed. I’m told that a few members of the class of 77 were in attendance and were taking notes and obviously desperate on how to hold a quality reunion experience.

At around 11:20pm the lights came on and the DJ stopped playing. Cleanup began and before you knew it the hugs and goodbyes were in full swing. I even saw a few tears from folks but mostly pure joy in knowing that EVERYONE belongs. Was sad to leave……

Sunday morning brought one last trip to the beach and to say goodbye. As I was driving to the San Francisco airport I got a call from a classmate who was not able to attend the festivities. We talked and laughed (Thanks Mary) for 45 minutes. I apologized for taking her sister out on the “worst date ever” for us both but I guess she’s over that and has triplets!!!! I got another call (Thanks Tom) while I was in the airport to say how much fun the weekend was and an email (Thanks Laurie) saying don’t wait 15 years to come back. I left PG at 10:30am Sunday and walked into my home at 1am Monday. I don’t think my feet ever hit the ground!!!! Too many smiles, too much joy and a whole lot of fun enjoyed with a great group of people.

Thank you to the key organizers: Teri, Cheri, Rick, Doree, Sandi, Sylvia , Terri and also Kerry Peterson who gave so much heart and soul to the reunion. Congratulations to the recipients for longest distance traveled, most foreign countries visited, most Harleys owned, newest marriage, earliest retirement date, most mini vans owned and most tattoos & piercings. We recognized the first time attendees: Jo Ann Getz Myers, Cynthia Hess & Cathy Walmsley. We welcome back to the first time attendees at the 35th: John Brady, Ginny Hammond Carroll, Dan Hodson & Kerry Peterson

Much Love

Till 2019 or Come to Wisconsin……. Just not in the Winter!!!!!!

Richard Sell


Please complete the 40th Reunion Feedback Survey