Went Up North a couple weekends ago, to my hometown of Alpena, for my 40th-anniversary class reunion (just for the record, I am nowhere near old enough for it to have been 40 years since I graduated from high school; actually, I graduated while I was still in utero). What a wonderful time! We all (at least, everyone I talked to) (even the two women who showed up rocking a serious 80s-era spiked-hair-and-eyebrow-piercings punk look) just had a great time catching up on where we've been and what we've been up for the past few decades.
Alpena is a somewhat different place than it was when I lived there. They actually have a Taco Bell there now, whereas in my day, I had to go to the big university downstate to have my first actual taco. And there's a mall on the edge of town now, which houses all the stores that used to be downtown. Downtown, on the other hand, has taken on a decidedly touristy/artisan feel. We dropped in on a T-shirt shop (one of my favorites pronounced, "Lake Huron: Unsalted and Shark-Free"), and a local wine shop, selling locally-grown-and-produced wines. In my day, we barely knew what Boone's Farm was, much less a late-harvest Riesling, and now there's a vineyard down by Ossineke, fer heaven's sake. But the miniature-golf place is still there, down by the beach, and Jen and I played a nostalgic round (well, it was nostalgic for me); I shot four-over-par, which ain't too bad for playing the course no more often than once a decade. . .
The proceedings started with an informal picnic Friday night. The 'informal' part meant that there were no name-tags, so, at least early on, there was a lot of staring at faces, trying to place this or that familiar feature, until the person finally had mercy and told you who they were (of course, many of us were accompanied by our spouses, and one smart-aleck said that they should have had tags saying, "Stop staring; I'm a spouse").
As I said, we had a really great time catching up on the last few decades; we hadn't had a reunion since the 25th, so many of us were seeing each other for the first time in at least 15 years (and I wanna tell ya, the difference between 43-year-olds and 58-year-olds is a significant one). One of my best buds from high school came for the first time since the 10-year reunion, and it was just great to see him; he won the prize for who came the farthest to the 10-year reunion, because he was deported from South Africa the week before the reunion.
Of course, I have several friends with whom I've been at least somewhat in touch ever since graduation, but there are a few of my classmates with whom I've become better friends over the past four decades than we ever were in school, which is kinda cool.
So yeah, we had a great time. Maybe I just have a really great class; lots of my friends have no interest in going to their class reunions, or if they've gone to one, they were put off from ever going back. But I've gone to all of mine, and had a wonderful time at every one of them. . .
Jen's brother got married for the second time last weekend, at a park over in Port Huron. The county judge who performed the ceremony was a tall, somewhat severe-looking woman, who looked very stately in her robe. At one point, she moved her leg just so, and I espied what looked like an ankle-bracelet. I mentioned the ankle-bracelet to Jen's brother later, and he just laughed, saying, "Uh, no. . . that would be her electronic tether; she's been convicted of DUI three times, but she still manages to keep getting re-elected. . ."
A judge with an electronic tether. . . Only in America. . .