August 10, 2008

CHS All-Class Reunion 2008

I graduated from Calistoga High School in 1979. Where is "Calistoga", you ask? It is the northern most town in the world famous Napa Valley wine growing region. The year I graduated from high school the population was just over five thousand. According to the city website, the current population is about the same. There were forty-two students in my class. Two of those were not awarded diplomas and two more were not allowed to attend the graduation ceremony. Altogether, a whopping thirty-eight shining young faces accepted diplomas on that hot, dry June day.

Our ten-year reunion produced a few surprises. For starters, a surprising number of our best and brightest described themselves as "between jobs". The son of the local contractor had dramatically expanded the reach of his father's company. At the ten-year mark, he was far and away the most successful of us. The class beauty was still lovely, but her husband looked a little ragged around the edges. There was one friend of mine in high school who had been pudgy and unpopular, but for the ten-year reunion she outshone the former class beauty by a substantial margin.

Therefore, when I heard that instead of having our own thirty-year reunion we were gathering this year (at the twenty-nine year mark) at the irregular but always popular "All-Class Reunion" the alumni association manages to get organized every three years or so, I immediately made plans to be there. The whole idea was so exciting that on the way out I bought a new video camera at the Duty Free shop in Narita airport. I figured it would be an excellent opportunity to start experimenting with videography and iMovie!

I got a lot more than I bargained for! There were almost five hundred people in attendance when we all finally gathered together on August 2nd. Students from the prohibition period to the most recent decade. Somewhere in that swarm of people were a couple attendees who remembered the damage done to the local wine industry by prohibition! I've been to fancier events and I've been to larger events, but seeing all that history gathered together in one room with the common thread being something as simple as graduating from the same high school was, for me, an awe-inspiring sight.

For better or worse, I spent most of my time talking to old friends and getting caught up with everyone. Twenty-one people from my class attended, which also gave us the largest group of representatives from any year present. Good food and an open bar has always been a big draw for my class! Sadly, that also meant I didn't take much video footage. The next day I found myself wondering if I should have let Kazuko do the talking and recorded everything. I'm glad I didn't though. It would have been a lot less fun.

(This update was added 12 hours later.)

Edit: I also uploaded a much longer video (23 minutes) with footage from my hometown, members of my family, and footage from San Francisco, all backed up with my own GarageBand melodies! You can find it here: California 8-2008.