45th Reunion Wrap-up by DCS


C-O-M-M-U-N-I-T-Y. That’s what we celebrated the weekend of September 6 and 7, 2019 at our PG High School Class of ’74 reunion. The best-attended reunion ever, even after 45-Years since graduation. I love the word “community” because it ends with an incredible value: “unity”. There’s something special among this group of individuals that earns this level of participation… we all have something in common that unifies us. That’s inherent in each of us based on a very special time in our life and a special time in history. Post Nixon, the wind-down of Vietnam, post “summer of love”, the birth of punk rock, Tom Petty, Talking Heads and before Journey became “pop music”. Those things tie us together as a shared past. But the unity that continues to bind all of us are the remarkable women (and some great men, too) who take on the task of bringing us together every five years. A special shout out, thumbs up, “likes” to: Teri Kier, Cheri Fisher Schmidt, Sandi Dix Eason, Mary Grisin Draper, Doree Hyland, Ricky Rodewald (and Charles Clark for finding the perfect weather weekend for this event).

From my perspective, there was a great level of satisfaction, comfort-in-your-skin and even a sense of optimism about the future from most people I spoke to. Yes, we’ve come a long way with a huge slice of adventure along the way. And now: A future filled with exploring retirement and a slew of new additions to our families. I hope you felt the same. It was just so great to see so many Class of ’74 members and familiar spouses, too. Records fell this weekend with a total of 71 classmates attending along with 20+ spouses. This gathering was the largest ever and there were some who came for the first time: Jeff Burnham, Renee Crothers, Pam Flickinger, Shannon Flint, Chet Newman, Audrey and Helene Swanson. We missed several of the regular, familiar faces, too. (Hope you’ll be able to attend next time!).

Several classmates came a great distance to be a part of this community. Irene Takasaki from Hawaii bearing highly prized macadamia nut treats. Keith Wise from Indiana who was rumored to have ridden a Harley, non-stop all the way! Evie Acosta from Iowa (one of my Twitter followers), Marcus Dardin from Missouri, Bill Drakes from Texas. And, of course Richie Sell who provided a blow-by-blow (no, not literally!) travelogue of his travels enroute to Pacific Grove, playing golf at some of the finest courses between here and Kansas! I’ve loved seeing all those photos of his very happy face! Thanks for all those images, Richie.

Seems like some people just don’t ever change. It was so great to see these classmates who you would still recognize walking around in a big city: Stuart Rugg, Sandi Dix, Anne Houghton, Edwin Carson, Pam Davis, Ricky Rodewald, Ann Gunter, Kerry Peterson, Margie Hazdovac, Julie Wambold, Teri Kier, Richard Mole, Peggy Light, Charles Clark, Cheri Fisher, Tom Shymanski, Doree Hyland, Irene Takasaki, Susie Southard, Butch Jackson, Laurie Dill, Ben Newman, Ramona Fournier, Mary Grisin, Don Baker, Carolyn Clarke, Mark Elstob and many more. What’s in these people’s drinking water? Great to see all of you.

Special thanks to Sandi Dix Eason for opening her lovely home on Friday night for an informal gathering for about 50 people. So glad I made that event because some folks showed up here but couldn’t make Saturday night. (Next time, keep that in mind to get your full share of the Class of ’74.) Great food and drink with a very cool vibe and buzz all around (thanks to Julie!). I understand the last guest left about 3am Saturday morning! No up-chuck, excess spilled beer and wine as you might have expected even just a few years ago. Thanks again for hosting, Sandi and all the others who helped set up and clean up.

Saturday was just a spectacular weather weekend on the Monterey Peninsula. Certainly, September is a great weather month here. I’m thinking this is a great time for our reunions which used to coincide with Thanksgiving or Christmas in prior decades so people could coordinate travel with family obligations with reunion festivities. Let us know if you agree this timing works better for you.

The official reunion party kicked off once again at the First Awakenings restaurant adjacent to the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium right at 6pm. Our very smart organizing committee decided to have a “taco bar” for eats instead of anything more formal (and more expensive). What a great choice and the caterers were fantastic with an incredible assortment of taco-adornments. The DJ was terrific (could have been more disco/Prince/Donna Summers oriented, but that’s OK). My most favorite scene of the evening was talking to Craig Wilson and watching him cut the rug on the dance floor, putting aside his cane and free-styling as he recuperates from a stroke. So much fun was had that evening, that two of PG’s Finest (police) came by at 9:00 pm to see what the commotion was; they joined in, ever so briefly, and got their photo taken in the Fog Foto Booth (see the men in uniform in this photo collage).

It was particularly great to see Butch Jackson! What an effort he made to attend Saturday night; we wish him all the best in his battle with cancer.

So many people to see in such a short amount of time! I loved seeing Evelyn Acosta and speaking to Ann Houghton, who I recalled such kindness she and her family showed me growing up in Pacific Grove. Don Baker… what a great guy! He’s done so very well for him; not bad for a chemical engineer. And, there was Richard Mole who is doing great, has a great partner who so obviously adores him. We all need someone to adore us and to have someone we adore.

There seemed to be a mini-reunion this time among Elementary School mates. The David Ave. School was very well represented on Saturday night. Pam Davis, Margie Hazdovac, Ben Newman, Keith Wise, Richard Sell, Irene Takasaki and more. I know other people from Lighthouse, Robert Down, and Forest Grove were spending time together. Not sure why after 45-years + 6 years (for high school and junior high) these bonds are still strong. I’m not complaining.

I have a great sense of pride and satisfaction to know all of you. Thanks for attending. Here’s to good health, great adventure and thrills between THIS DAY and the next time we see each other.