High School Reunions… Love them or hate them.
Was there a high school crush you never got over?
Did one of your fellow students become the mayor?
Did somebody appear in Playboy magazines or in the movies?
It's true for my high school class!
l-r Janice Moore, Sharon Hack, Darrell Mussatto, Colleen Nevin, Todd Wong, Viv (Walters) Bonin. Viv sells Mary Kay in Kelowna, Darrell's the mayor of the City of North Vancouver. I'm the one creating crazy intercultural events and being documented by television, radio and the Royal BC Museum.
For the past few months I have been on our Carson Graham 78 High School Reunion committee. It's been fun re-connecting with old friends, and making friends with former classmates.
Kathleen Ross was my Chemistry 12 partner. It was great to re-connect with her on the reunion committee along with Cathy Jarvis, Cindy Hamilton, Dave Harper, Sharon Hack, Alan Dudley, Kelly Grant and Marilyn Werseen. Kathleen shared that she and Dave Harper had wanted to come to my Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner, but haven't made it yet. But her parents attended a few years ago and enjoyed it. Kathleen's heritage is Scottish and has been to Scotland several times. I am embarrassed to say that I still have yet to go…
High School was a time of
identity formation, and research has found that this is the time that
LIFE forms its most important impressions. That's why music from
'74-'78 will always tweak emotional pulls on us, whether we loved or
hated the Bay City Rollers, Led Zeppellin, Kiss or Olivia Newton-John
(one of my guilty favorites!). My job was to secure a dj that would create a definite '70's vibe for us. I found Ibata Hexamer of Rhythm Nation.
Here's one of my favorite photos from last night with some of my best
friends in high school. Sharon Provost and Christie Harper are sitting
beneath the high school year book picture that Sharon Hack and I are
pointing to. It's a picture of all four of us on the school badminton
team. Provost and Harper went all the way to the Vancouver area
finals. After high school, we lost contact with Sharon Hack, and I lost
touch with Provost and Harper after my divorce. But it was great to
see them again, and we will be keeping touch now!
The Reunion was fun. It was last night at the Holiday Inn in North
Vancouver. We rented the conference rooms, and hired a DJ for lots of '70's music. A true blast from
the past. People registered and started recognizing the the faces that were intimate but distantly familiar. It was probably harder to recognize the guys, because after 30 years hairstyles changed from shoulder length to short. Add in male pattern baldness. But a lot of women were hard to recognize too… ugly ducklings matured into swans. Make-overs and hair colour also probably helps.
I played saxophone in the concert band in Grade 10 at Balmoral and
Grade 11 at Carson Graham. Ken Redekop and Alan Dudley were two of my
best friends at Carson, they both played trombone in the school bands.
One of my best memories was our grade 11 band trip to Oregon. As well
Alan was one of my Grouse Mountain ski buddies – we'd head up to Grouse
Mountain right after school was out.
come to our reunions if we are feeling good about our place in the world, or to show up
the people who picked on us, that we did better than them. Or we avoid
them because we hated high school, and all the silly high school
behaviors. Maybe we attend them because we want to see old friends that we lost
contact with or no longer have to time to connect with them. But it must be more than that… It's
a check-up time in our lives psychologically. We internalize a lot of
judgement issues. We are too bald, fat, poor, ugly, socially inept or
Team sports were a big part of high school life. Alan Dudley was on the rugby team, Darrell Mussatto was on the soccer team, Dave Robinson was on the basketball team. I was on the wrestling and badminton teams. Alan convinced me to join the rugby team in grade 12, but after the first game where I didn't play and I saw a guy get a concussion, so I left for the badminton team.
A big surprise was re-connecting with Owen Reid. I remember Owen as somebody I had to piggy back during a rugby practice exercise. He was much bigger and heavier than skrawny little me. Anyways, Owen came up to me and said “Todd Wong – you are one of the people I really hoped to see tonight. Every year I read about you in the paper.” It turns out that Owen plays bagpipes at a highly competitive level, and once place 5th at the world championships. Glen Brady came up to us, and said that he would have expected Owen to be wearing a kilt, and told a story about how Owen had played bagpipes at his brother's funeral. Small world.
It's funny how you always got organized in school by your last name. Our lockers would get assigned together some years. Here are some classmates I got to know from Balmoral to Carson in the W's. Brian Wilson, Susan Wright, Mark Warner and Stephanie Wright
Class of '78 has matured. Some of us have succeeded, some of us
haven't. Some of us have made a million dollars, some of us have been
in jail. But we are survivors, and there were a few years that bound
us together through shared experience such as sports, band, clubs,
dating, Star Wars, Elvis Presley's death, or walking lonely hallways
with a friend..
Check the Carson Graham 78 Reunion website:
I also created a Carson Graham 78 Reunion face book site and added some pictures: