Riverside High

Say it ain’t so?! Has it already been 20 years since I graduated from Riverside High School (Greer, South Carolina)?

Well, actually it’s been 19 years (Class of 1988) but this weekend our class joined up with the Classes of 1987 and 1986 for a “20th Reunion” in Greenville and I can tell you it was a blast.

I remember our 10th reunion, but ten years after high school everyone was just getting started with their families, their jobs, their lives as “adults” if you will. Now, another decade older, it seemed we had so much more to share with each other. Some had children actually attending Riverside High School now! Others had large families and/or exciting careers. Many traveled from Boston, Florida, or even California just to catch up.

I missed the Friday tour of the new high school and the evening football game against our rival, Eastside High (we won 56-0). But I was able to catch up with several friends later that night and again Saturday for the “big event”.

Surprisingly, I recognized almost everyone. Sure, many of the guys’ hair was thinner. Yes, many of us had put on some pounds (me, included). But – no – the 1980s big-hair for the females was not present this evening. To me – everyone looked pretty much just as I remembered 20 years ago.

Many of the old “couples” caught up and it seemed everyone was introducing their spouse to their past high-school sweethearts and/or prom dates. Actually, most of the spouses seemed to enjoy the night as much as the alumni. Everyone really seemed to get along and by the end of the night, we were dancing the night away to a 1980’s cover band. (Yes, I’m a child of the 80s and admit my musical tastes seem to have stuck with that decade).

Most people asked me what it was like to be in politics but I wanted to know more about what they were doing than share what I was doing. After all, politics isn’t really that interesting to most people- and I figured they were just asking to be nice.

I hadn’t seen some folks in 20 years. A handful of others though, I stay in close contact with and every year for the past ten years, eight of us high school buds go on a golf weekend.

Looking back, I realize how lucky I am to not only have a close group of guys that I’ve known for 20+ years; but also how those high school years were really some of the most formidable years of my life – and I’m sure that’s the case for most of us that made the trip back.

We’re “grown up” now and many have had “grown up” experiences over the past two decades: death of family members/close friends, job losses, divorce, moving more times than you’d like with your career, etc. The bright side to that is no one’s been through it alone. Each class seems to have a tight group of different friends (clicks, if you will) and instead of the negative association that title brings in high school, I think now it means more. It means a closeness, a bond. People to call and to know that you can share both the good times and the bad.

I’m wondering what stories we’ll be sharing ten more years from now? Until then, we can remember those pep rallies almost two decades ago, each of us putting our arms around our classmate and swaying back-and-forth singing our alma mater….

In spirit and in learning,
Our best in everything we do.
Warriors strong in brotherhood –
Loyal, red and blue.

Ties that bind us to each other –
Fill our hearts with love and pride.
When we go our separate ways,
We’ll always remember – Riverside!

Thanks to Laura Varello Campbell, Gary Daniels, Lisa DeLuca Cole, Beth Botts Norton, Tim Eggena, and Scott Shaunessy for putting this weekend on for us! The DVD with 200+ pictures was great and my wife’s still laughing at my Senior Picture that was on my nametag!