20th Reunion

20TH REUNION RECAP

THURSDAY, JUNE 19th

Golf Tournament
Our 20th reunion was kicked-off on Thursday, June 19th with a golf tournament at Iron Eagle. Each golfer was assigned a group and played for fun flag prizes which were ceremoniously awarded at the banquet on Friday night. Natalie Johnson swept through the course in her old, high-school-golf-team form and... finished well behind the leaders. Truth be told, Natalie kicked most of the boy's butts but a foursome of fearless men won the grand prize. Mike Beall planned an awesome event and the classmates who golfed reported that a great time was had by all.

Welcome Reception
Kim Guynan planned our welcome reception at the Country Rose in North Platte (owned by classmate Jon Farley.) The event started at 5:00 pm and many classmates stayed until after the bar closed at 1:00 am. It was great fun catching up with old friends and seeing how much everyone has changed! The highlight of the evening was when Sheryl (Reichert) Charleston hopped on the back of John Titchen's Harley for a ride down the scenic North Platte streets.

FRIDAY, JUNE 20th

Family Fun Day Picnic ­ Jacquie (Mecomber) Yenni organized a festive afternoon of food and fun for all classmates and their families. The picnic was held in Cody Park just east of the rides beginning at 11:00 am and ran through 3:00 pm. We had a few parents and ex-teachers on-hand to help serve and clean up and more than 300 people attended including all of our kids. It was almost surreal to see many of our classmate's kids running around who were our age when we were walking the halls of North Platte High. Old age is creeping upon us.

Banquet ­ Carol (Haddock) Halley was in charge of the banquet on Friday evening at the Holiday Inn that turned out to be a great time. The theme for the evening was "Cruising Back in Time" and the decorations were a lot of fun, including suitcases which were placed on every table to announce the "port of call" destination that led each person to their seat.

The reception, with snacks and a cash bar, began at 6:00 pm and our official 20th reunion picture was taken at 7:15 pm. Trying to get our entire class to fit on the little stage at the Holiday Inn Express brought a new meaning to "close class."

At 7:30, we started dinner. Classmates were allowed to go through the buffet line based on correct answers to 80's trivia questions. Jay Wilkinson was deaf during the contest which essentially resulted in the tables closest to him (thereby the loudest) being selected to go through first.

FRIDAY EVENING AGENDA
6:00 Cocktails and Reception
7:15 Class Photo
7:30 Dinner/Buffet
8:15 Program
Style Show: "The Fashionable 80's"
Special Award for Roger Hengen
Golf Tournament Awards
Special Awards for Classmates
Review of Official Class Website
9:00 The Party Begins...

The 20th reunion was a great time which wouldn't have been possible without the hard work of the planning committee who put in countless hours to pull it all together:

The Organizers...
Jay Wilkinson, Class President
Mike Misegadis, Class Vice President
Bernie Madison, Class Seargeant-At-Arms
Kayla Scoggins, Class Secretary
Carol (Haddock) Halley
Jacqui (Mecomber) Yenni
Kim Guynan

Planning Committee... (alphabetically by first name)
Beth (McCammon) Claire ­ Raffle
Doug States­ Golf Tournament
Jill (Ward) Granger­ Banquet Reception
Jon Farley ­ Welcome Reception
JoEllen (Ruben) Xavier ­ Banquet
Julie (Anderson) ­ Banquet Reception
Kim (Johnson) Hongsermeier­ Banquet
Krisanne (Petersen) Gentleman ­ Style Show
Michael Bealls ­ Golf Tournament
Mike Olson ­ Banquet Program, Website Content
Natalie Johnson ­ Banquet Reception
Steve Heinzle ­ Family Fun Day
Warren Rice ­ Fundraising

Thanks very much to the committee for their hard work and thanks to all the classmates who made it back for the reunion!

Special Awards
Thanks for Reminding Us We're Old ­ Belinda Matthews was bestowed with this award for having 5 grandchildren. Most of them are by marriage, but it doesn't make us feel any younger! Belinda received a bottle of Geritol for her efforts.

Grayest Hair ­ The tightly waged battle for grayest hair was given to Gregg Evarts simply because he's the finalist most people least expected to have gray hair in his 30s. Gregg won a bottle of hair dye to help give him that special "Dick Clark" look.

Improved With Age ­ Sheryl (Reichert) Charleston was voted by classmates as the person who has not only withstood the test of time, but has actually improved with age. She was given a nice body bottle of aged whiskey to celebrate her good fortune.

Still Crazy After All These Years ­ Bernie won (yawn). Big surprise. Actually, we all appreciate the fact that Bernie has never changed and probably never will. Unless Mike Pacheco beats him to a pulp, we expect Bernie to still be unchanged at the 30th.

Mellowed the Most ­ Kraig Baade was awarded a supply of No-Doz to help him stay awake as he gently cruises through his middle years. With AC/DC giving way to Anne Murray, the ol' CD player might need a bit of the No-Doz as well.

Short Timer Award ­ This award went to the classmate who has held the most jobs since graduating on that fateful day back in 1983. Julie Niebauer won the award hands-down after admitting that she's had more than 100 jobs (including a stint with the circus.) Julie was given a sapling tree which is intended to inspire her to grow some roots. She's reportedly well on her way having held the same job for "way more than a year now..."

Plastic Surgery Poster Child ­ The least recognizable person at the reunion was, well... hard to recognize. In fact, during the welcome reception on Thursday night, a large group of people stood in a circle whispering to each other saying "who in the hell is that?", "is that a classmate?", "no, it can't be ­ it must be some biker trying to bust our party"... eventually Sheryl (Reichert) Charleston approached him and said, "Who are you?" John Titchen (see his picture in the scrapbook) has definitely changed since high school. In recognition of his morph-like transformation, John was given one white glove and a pair of Michael Jackson sunglasses, both of which he donned before moonwalking back to his table.

Careerdo ­ The Careerdo award was given to the classmate with the most unique occupation. The committee decided that since classmate Jana Gillaspie (a Pre-Stress Erection Specialist) was not able to make it back this year, we'd give the award to the classmate who has a career in an area that most of us didn't even know existed in high school. You see, when Julie Sawyer was a little girl, her mother would drive her over to the big North Platte airport every Friday at 4:00 pm when the plane would land. Julie was a dreamer... a big thinker... and she aspired to one day relocate to a big city where more than one plane per week landed. She set her heart on it... worked hard in school... missed out on things other kids got to do because she was committed and focused. And then "one day" finally came, and Julie became... (heavy sigh / watery eyes) an Air Traffic Controller (applause.) Pushing tin has never been the same since.

I'm Outta Here ­ The award for the most well-traveled classmate went to Karen (Oerter) Pratumwon who took no time to get out of North Platte and see the world. In fact, Karen found her hubby, Pibul, in Thailand when she whacked him on the back of the head with a discus as she was teaching the local schoolchildren how to throw as part of Peace Corp mission. Karen received a one-month supply of the North Platte Telegraph and a fantastic book on the history of North Platte (lest she forget where she came from.) Hopefully, she gave Pibul some aspirin.

Rebel Cum Scholar ­ Everyone in high school knew that Mike Carper didn't see the world the same way as most others. It was quite popular to engage Mike in debate on a number of topics and shake our head in amusement as he espoused his rebellious theories. We didn't admit at the time that the reason we were amused is that we simply weren't smart enough to understand him. Today, Mike teaches English at a Catholic high school and is pursuing his PhD in philosophy at St. Louis University. He's become our most well-schooled (is that a word Mike?) classmate and is remarkably (shall we say it?) normal. Nevertheless, for our amusement (old habits die hard), we presented Mike with a sedentary vegetable (a raw potato) and issued him a challenge to "go home tonight and MAKE something of it!" No doubt he will.

Revival of the Fittest ­ In high school, Mike Pacheco once took his favorite girl to Lake Stinkoney for an early-evening picnic on the beach. Mike was a skinny, sensitive guy who enjoyed these romantic interludes immensely and didn't think twice about setting out his blanket and peach basket 20 feet from waters-edge and up the beach from where the bullies were playing football. Then it happened. The ball came thundering down from sky ­ an obvious errant pass from Mike Ball to Bernie Madison ­ and crashed into the strawberries and whipped cream he had so lovingly prepared. Bernie ran over, picked up the ball ­ and as he turned to return to the game ­ flicked is foot backward and threw sand all over Mike, his food and his date. Mike waived his cute little fist in the air and said, "you just wait bully-boy! I'll get you for this!!" Today, Mike is towering-inferno-of-a-man. His chest heaves, his brawn bristles and his muscles ripple. Now closing in on 40, Mike points mockingly at Bernie, pounds his chest (with his other hand) and says, "touch my sister, and I'll kick your ass!" Hmmm, maybe we shouldn't finish this story...

Most Likely to Appear on a Reality Dating Show ­ Debra (Rhodes) Pohl

The following article was written and read by Mike Olson at the 20th Reunion:

A Lifetime Disease
© Michael J. Olson, 2003

When I was much younger, I honestly and naively thought it would never happen to me, this whole business of aging. As I study the reflection staring back at me in my bathroom mirror I think to myself, "He's pathetic."

What the hell happened to me? I used to be a beer-swilling, chick-dating, rule-breaking rebel. Now look at me. I worry about being late for work and about getting a speeding ticket. I use a turn signal, even when no one is around. I scowl at that damned car stereo blaring from the car full of teens next to me.

As a teenager I had no intention of changing, physically or otherwise. I was relatively happy with my appearance and my mildly rebellious demeanor. The changes were very subtle at first. In my mid- to late twenties, instead of wanting to find another open bar at midnight, I found myself suggesting to my friends that we call it a night. These corrosive effects continued to eat away at my social activities until eventually I just wanted to stay home altogether instead of going out on a Saturday night.

Lately, I have begun to view today's teens with a hint of contempt, and I envision myself confronting their idleness and foolish behavior. But I stop myself when I realize that the first sentence out of my mouth would start, "When I was your age" And yet in reality, when I was their age, my goal in life was to ruffle as many adult feathers as possible without being thrown in jail. I am pleased to report that I made considerable progress on that goal.

I really can't complain. I had my decade; although as trend-setting decades go, the 1980s wasn't the biggest. And it could have been much worse; just look at the '70s! The '80s were mine because it was that period in my life when I came of age: I graduated from high school, made it through college and landed my first job. And through it all, my classmates and I were the future of the world, at least in our eyes. We temporarily set the standards for what was "cool." Adults struggled to understand our generation's ever-changing lingo. And we embraced new cutting edge technologies like touch-tone phones and the answering machine with an ease as if we had grown up with them. Meanwhile, older generations approached such radical change with trepidation. Our arcade games were born in the computer age and featured cathode ray tubes with bright, fast moving graphics. Forget that one-dimensional 70s technology called Pong; we had Asteroids! And Centipede, Space Invaders and a dozen more.

But by 1990 it was all over with, and we didn't even realize it. The Gulf War introduced new technology that astounded the world. Computers were rapidly evolving from mainframes to the personal desktop. The innocence of Ms. PacMan and Centipede gave way to the networked, multi-player game Doom as the preferred computer game. And the Seattle grunge bands and their legions of aloof, slacker "Generation X" fans shattered our illusions that the "alternative" pop music of the 1980s which we clung to was somehow still cool. The animated Grampa Simpson said it best: "I used to be with it, but then they changed what 'it' was and I wasn't cool anymore."

With each passing year, my decade returns to haunt me with increasing mockery. It wasn't so bad when the music was slowly replaced by newer, hip songs. But now, those formerly popular songs are brought out and dusted off one night each week for a special '80s night on the radio. And in record stores-- uh, make that music stores; no one sells records anymore-- those once-famous bands are relegated to a special nostalgia bin off in the corner. It's really going to hurt when those songs appear on the "oldies" station.

While some of the '80s music that we once celebrated now embarrasses us, it is truly the movies of the era that mock us. The clothing styles that we thought were cool: parachute pants, Izod shirts with collars turned up, skinny "piano" ties and jacket sleeves pushed up to the elbows, down vests for cold weather; the hairstyles: the mullet, maximum hold gels, spikes everywhere and really BIG hair for the girls, who wore leggings and Madonna-inspired lace‹all are now a source of amusement. The style, language and the technology that awed us at the time now appears ridiculous. Apparently, it's not enough to make these movies available at the video rental stores. No, the powers that be: the executives at the television networks, harass us each weekend by airing these outdated artifacts, providing considerable ammunition for younger generations to further scorn us.

Getting old sometimes concerns me. Fortunately I will never be truly old because my definition of "old" keeps changing to suit my current age. When I was a teenager, age 30 was the peak of adulthood and 40 was way over the hill. By age 50, I felt you should be researching retirement homes. It's kind of like being wealthy. Because my definition morphs with each rise in income, I will never achieve real wealth, at least by my own definition.

I sometimes try to imagine myself a few years into the future. It's not a pretty sight because I am influenced by those I view in public. I shudder to picture myself like some of the seniors at the grocery store: the guy is wearing pastel blue no-wrinkle shorts, from which extend two thin, bony, white legs down to where they are covered by formerly-white athletic socks, accented with wide, faded yellow-and-blue horizontal stripes. For footwear, off-brand running shoes which have never seen anything more than a slow shuffle. His disheveled white hair escapes notice because of the enormous, dark sun goggles that eclipse 1/3 of his unshaven face. That type of eyewear: wide and rectangular with side blinders, seems more suitable for a Clydesdale in welding class than for human beings. His wife is gripping a shopping cart with withered white knuckles and wearing polyester pants and matching blouse with "sensible" shoes. Her unnaturally perfect hair style, the last part of her appearance that she has any control over, probably represents about one-half of her monthly expenses.

Perhaps my fears are unwarranted. Maybe it will be a relief when I reach the age when it just doesn't matter to me whether I look cool or ridiculous. If ignorance is bliss, ambivalence must be quite satisfactory as well. Aging gracefully can certainly be pulled off, and several people come to mind: Frank Sinatra certainly never experienced an uncool moment. And George Burns managed to remain stylish right up to the century mark. But a cursory survey of the folks I see at grocery stores, malls and driving white-knuckled on the freeway, struggling to peer over the steering wheel of those oversized Buicks and Cadillacs suggests that the odds are stacked against me.