5 committee members + 15 months of planning + 3 weekend days = one hell of a successful high school reunion.
seriously, people, the entire shebang was successful beyond our wildest dreams. as the date approached, we were all pretty concerned about what seemed like a rather low turnout, ticket sales-wise. because as of just a week ago, out of a class of 250ish, we had a meager 30 tickets sold. and that included spouses! yikes.
but we were excited anyway. hell, after our monthly meetings (which usually consisted of 75% chitchat and gossip and 25% actual work), we knew that even if it came down to being just the five of us, we'd have a great time. ha! so after one final meeting on wednesday and a shopping trip for supplies on thursday, we headed to a local restaurant for cocktail hour on friday night.
actually, there were a few folks who gathered a little earlier at the high school for a campus tour led by the current principal. obviously, twenty years brings lots of changes, and although i wasn't able to join in the fun, i heard nothing but great things. it's nice to know that the ol' alma mater has only gotten better in the years since we roamed its halls.
i'd actually arrived rather early, as evidenced by the sweet parking spot i scored when i got there. i walked in, took a peek in the bar, and recognizing no one, i skulked back to my car and caught up on e-mails while i waited for a familiar face to walk in. haha, loser! but it wasn't a very long wait, and then the fun began.
i actually didn't take many pictures as i was so busy mingling and catching up with old friends. it was really, really fun, and we were gratified to learn that there were quite a few people who were coming to the big bash and buying their tickets at the door. we could've really used the cash before the party, but hey - we managed.
we ended up with about 35 alumni in attendance that night, and here's a tip if you happen to find yourself on a reunion planning committee: definitely include an alum-only cocktail mixer the night before the big party. it was the greatest ice-breaker ever, and as we wound things up around 11, everyone was as comfortable with each other as we'd all been back in the day. before leaving, the committee happily gathered for a triumphant group photo (and yes, i managed to get in to see my friend rochelle for a haircut just in time):
the next day, after a leisurely morning in our pajamas (and a nice little nap for me, snuggled with the bean), the teen and i headed off to pick up some last-minute decorating items and then made our way to the venue - the community center in the city hall annex. this was the site of a handful of my family gatherings, plus my stint as a contestant in the junior miss duarte pageant. stop laughing.
i'd let the hub off the hook, giving him an out for the night. i knew he'd be bored to tears, and despite the fact that he was perfectly willing to come, i thought his evening would be better spent hanging out with the bean and not having to sit around watching me scurry around the room, helping keep things flowing and mingling with everyone. am i nice, or what?
when we arrived, we found the rest of the committee in the parking lot, waiting for a "yellow shirt guy" to come and open the doors for us. i'd made a handful of signs to post around the parking lot to help guide those who weren't familiar with the center, and the teen and i went to work posting them all around.
we finally gained entrance into the room after several frantic phone calls to various city contacts by our girl TZ, who sits on the city council and is the best resource for all things duarte (btw, if you're a resident, be sure to vote for her on 11/3!). as we scurried around, setting tables and getting appetizers and beverages ready, the air was pierced by the sound of a screeching alarm. it went on and on and on until the yellow shirt dude finally returned and shut the damn thing off. my ears were ringing for a good half hour afterwards. ouch.
more of my fun signs.
the teen and i unloaded the cargo we'd just picked up from smart & final - cases of various 80s'-era candy to scatter on the tables. fun for decor, and even more so for munching on. i'd desperately wanted some pop rocks, because they totally scream "80s," but the only ones left in the store were the bubble gum kind. the teen wrinkled her nose at them and said "naw, mom, those are gah-ross." oh, well. i think we did a fine job without them.
check-in table and name tags. my buddy cornell slaved for hours on those things, scanning in old yearbook pictures for those expected to attend.
and i don't know why i'm subjecting myself to this, but i guess if i can rock the damn thing clipped to my shirt all night long, i can share the hideousness of it with you. since i didn't have a pretty, colorful senior portrait to scan in, cornell went with the only other yearbook picture of me that she could find. i can't stop shaking my head as i look at this bloody thing. gah - it belongs on one of those super awful portrait websites. that hair! that bow! those earrings! and let's not even get started on that stupid look on my face. oy.
with a good hour left to spare, we completed the set-up and stood back to admire our handiwork before scattering off in different directions to get ourselves pretty and ready for the big night.
one of the high school staff members even volunteered to bring a tableful of school gear, including a handful of yearbooks from senior year. pretty cool, and i think she actually sold quite a few items.
the teen and i managed to finish getting all gussied up pretty quickly, and as cornell's hubby set up the backdrop for the photo booth, we volunteered to be his guinea pigs and posed for the first of the evening's portraits.
amazingly, a horde of folks were right on time, arriving right as the clock struck 7. i managed to get a couple of pictures with some who were my good friends in school. yes, i was totally posing as if i were on a red carpet.
one of the girls put together this lovely gift basket to be given away as a prize for one of the games. she and her husband own some land down in mexico, where they grow agave and make their own tequila. they started their own importing company and are now selling their wares in several states. cool, yes?
brother wan, who delivered all of the food from the restaurant he manages, also stuck around to act as our bartender. we needed someone who was at least 21 to pour the alcohol, and at the last minute, he stepped in and saved the day. he and the teen hung out back at the bar, as he took care of the alcoholic beverages and she sold extra drink tickets. i don't know how we'd have managed without them, as well as one of the other committee members' daughters, who brought a friend and acted as our servers and kept the chafing dishes full o'grub.
again, i was far too busy working the room, socializing, and keeping an eye on the teen and brother wan, so there aren't really a ton of pictures to share. who am i kidding anyway, do you really want to see a bunch of photos of people you don't know as well as me? heh.
we gathered all of the alumni together on the stage to recreate the old panoramic photo. since i wasn't in the original one, i was more than happy to participate. i also snagged a sweet position, right in the middle. ah, yeah.
as the party wound down to an end, i did manage to get the teen to take a couple of pictures for me.
around 11:30, we started the clean-up. luckily, all we had to do was clear off all the tables and leave the kitchen as we'd found it - no table breakdown or chair stacking needed. brother wan and the teen pitched in, and we were done right at midnight. while about 20 of the partygoers headed off to a local bar for an afterparty, those of us who'd worked our asses off trudged home wearily.
the final planned event was a family picnic at a local park, and knowing that most of those in attendance were likely nursing major hangovers, we didn't expect a huge turnout for it. the leftover food from the night before made an appearance, although we stopped for in-n-out for ourselves. yum.
i was pleasantly surprised to see cornell unroll this awesome poster, which her husband had worked on at home and then ordered online. we were all in awe at the speed at which they were able to produce it, and i angled for a digital copy to update the reunion website with.
the bean, who'd fallen asleep in the car and then snoozed in her stroller for about 15 minutes, was roused by the shrieks and laughter of the kids in the nearby playground. this kid loves her some park. i managed to get her to eat a couple of meatballs before running off to play.
we all just kind of lazed around on blankets and folding chairs in the shade, enjoying the breeze and shooting the shit with one of the teachers who rolled in to say hello.
we're going to have one final meeting as a committee to wrap things up, gossip about the goings-on during and after the party, and discuss the scholarship fund that we managed to raise some cash for. we were really excited to learn that we'd had right around 70 heads at the party, and sold an extra $200 worth of drink tickets at the bar.
while it was super fun to plan and a blast to see everyone again, i'm so, so, so glad it's all over. phew! but just you wait - some were talking about a repeat in five years, a few suggested doing casual yearly GTGs. and you know the planner in me won't be able to resist being a part of the coordination.
good gracious, i'm a glutton for punishment.