The reunion committee showed up first, putting up streamers and hanging balloons. A few eager members of West Valley High School’s class of 1975 showed up early to watch.
They met Saturday in Coeur d’Alene for a lake cruise aboard the Mish-A-Nock. This was far more than just a float on the lake, though. It was time to pick over memories that the waves of 20 years couldn’t erode.
Mike Miller was the student body president back as a West Valley senior, so organizing the reunion was right up his alley. He was able to contact 85 percent of his class.
Waiting on the docked boat, he watched folks show up for the 2:30 p.m. registration.
The registration table had name tags sporting the senior pictures of all the expected guests. Miller stuck his on.
A few curled-locks short of his former self, he grinned. “I brought my afro wig for later,” he said.
People started boarding. A few conversations sprouted up, most having to do with careers, waistlines and hairstyles (or lack thereof).
A guy stopped at the registration table. When asked about which ID tag was his, he simply said, “Just look for the good-looking guy with the long hair.”
Just near him, a blonde-bobbed lady was showing her long-lost pals where the emergency exits where. She said she was now a stewardess.
A man and his female companion stood by themselves in the corner. “I recognize faces, but …” he told her.
The boat crew, all dressed like Capt. Stubing, looked on and smiled.
John Chamberlain didn’t know anyone, but he was having a good time nonetheless. His wife, Vicki, was one of the reunion committee members. Chamberlain wasn’t a WV grad he graduated from LC in ‘75. In fact, he was missing his own reunion that same weekend.
“Write LC class of ‘75 on here, will ya,” he said, offering his nametag.
Chamberlain didn’t mind, though. There were memories here for him, too. He said he and his wife met on one of these boat cruises in 1977.
Nearby, Dan Ward and Don Maak were getting reacquainted. They had been boyhood best friends, but hadn’t seen each other in 10 years.
“Time goes by so fast,” Maak said. “…So pick up the phone and call.”
The boat’s horn blew. It shoved off. Simon and Garfunkle’s “Mrs. Robinson” played in the background. A little older than the mid-‘70s, but it was the closest the boat pilot had.
On the second deck, two women were excitedly talking to one another. Although they didn’t have much time for interruption, Jodi and Sharon Jones offered that they were cousins. They hadn’t seen each other since graduation.
At another table, one lady noticed a co-worker she sees every day at Sacred Heart Hospital. “I didn’t even know I went to school with him,” she said.
Teresa Stallman and Dave Meyer swapped business cards and recounted stories of obnoxious youth. Meyer turned to his wife and said “I was wild. You wouldn’t have liked me then.”
Stallman looked suspiciously at a certain news reporter. “If you’re from East Valley, you’re going overboard,” she said. Once assured of benevolent intentions, she shared her opinion of her classmates. She said they were basically all the same.
“You start talking to people, and 20 years don’t mean anything,” she said.