Tricked on Halloween

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When I was a very small child, like most kids, I’d go trick or treating with my best friend. One of the parents went along to keep an eye on us. Back in those days, we could safely go to any home, ring the doorbell, and the treats we’d get would be safe for human consumption. No one even thought of studding apples with razor blades or drugging candy. It was a much more innocent time.

 

My most memorable Halloween happened when I was about age 5. We’d recently moved into our new house. There were still several vacant lots so the parents worried more about snakes and rats than they did about harm coming from humans. It was Dr. Scofield’s (Kathy’s dad and dentist extraordinaire) turn to take us trick or treating. I think it was Kathy’s younger brother, Mark’s first year to go door-to-door, so Dr. S pulled the short straw.

 

Our neighborhood was full of little kids all about the same age as we were. I think the parents enjoyed meeting up out on the street and watching us all running to doors in great anticipation of the goodies we were about to receive. I’m sure that the parents were all comparing notes as to how much candy we could have that night and how to hide the rest so that it could be carefully dispersed at later dates (and so they could get their share).

 

Most of the night was uneventful. Kathy, Mark and I went from neighbor to neighbor, ringing bells, and shouting in our most ferocious voices, “TRICK OR TREAT!” We knew to only go to doors where the light was on.

 

Then we got to the Reids’ house. The front porch light wasn’t on, but there was a light on in the garage by the back door. In we went to ring the button under the light and make our presence known. I pushed the lit button with my normal anticipation. “Trick or …” As soon as I pushed the button, there was a whirring noise and the garage door started to close. The light started blinking on and off. Now, this was back in the late 1950s and none of us had – or had even seen – automatic garage door openers. Obviously, the Reids had one, but (as we came to find out later) it was broken.

 

The door was manic! Up/down, up/down, all at a pretty fair rate of speed. On went the light, then off. At first, we were too shocked to even scream. Then it hit us. We were in a haunted garage! I tried pushing the button again and again. In my child’s mind, maybe that would make it stop.

 

When we finally found our voices to scream, it was almost in unison. Here were three small children, huddled in the garage with a possessed garage door opener. Dr. S sprang into action. He timed the door opening and ran in and grabbed Mark and Kathy. On went the light and off. Up went the door and down. Nothing would stop it. Of course that left me all alone in the ghostly garage. I knew I wasn’t going to make it. I’d been left behind.

 

In one more, heroic dash, Dr. S. ran through the door. I was saved! Inexplicitly, Dr. S ran in again. We were sure he was off to vanquish the evil that had tried to keep us in that horrifying space. To this day, I don’t know how he did it (and, sadly, Dr. S. passed away many years ago so I’ll never know), but he stopped the door. He walked out with a very solemn expression. It must have been very hard for him to not laugh at us. When I think about it, he had to be in his late 20s or very early 30s. I got to go home first. My parents were dumbstruck when they opened the door to a tear-streaked child who couldn’t stop shaking. Dr. S. told them I was fine and that they’d better come outside so he could explain.

 

He must have made it very brief, because both parents were back inside in no time. Dad took charge of calming me down. I honestly don’t know how any of them weren’t laughing themselves silly. I guess knowing that their child(ren) had been frightened out of their minds helped keep them calm until they could get us quieted and off to bed. I’m sure after all the trauma was reduced, they all laughed until they cried.

 

That Halloween was more than 50 years ago. I remember it as clearly as if it was yesterday. To this day, I will not push the button on our garage door opener unless my other hand is firmly on the door back into the house.

 

What’s your most memorable Halloween story?

 

Up Next: Not sure! Guess we’ll all have to wait and see.

 

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Another True(ly) Frightening Experience

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I don’t know if you would call it the “Devil” or just a manifestation of an evil force, but I know it exists.

 

When I was in my early 20s, I had an experience with what I consider the supernatural, and it truly frightened me.

 

We were in our home in on Eagles’ Nest Mountain in Waynesville, North Carolina which was on top of a mountain with a terrific view of the Smokies. Every thing about the house was warm and comfortable – except one night. That night there was no indication that something really evil was about to show itself.

 

We all went to bed as normal. My dad wasn’t home with us, so my little sister was upstairs with my mother in her room, my brother was in his bedroom, and I was in mine. Everything settled down to a noiseless, deep darkness.

 

The next thing I knew, our dog (a German Shepherd/Collie mix) jumped up on the bed and started to walk up onto my chest and stare down at me. It occurred to me that there was very little weight to her (now, this was a 50+ lb dog). I knew something wasn’t right. Then as I looked at her and tried to speak, her eyes started to glow an eerie reddish glow. The whole feel was of some extreme evil. This was absolutely NOT my dog. It was something trying to take on her image to get to me.

 

I somehow jumped out from under the “being” and reached for the light switch. As the light came on, there was nothing in the room. I thought perhaps it was a dream, but I truly did get to the switch, the lights did come on, and I did “feel” the being walk up on me. I truly don’t believe, in my heart, that it was a dream.

 

I ran through the house to make certain that the evil was gone and I wanted to make sure my dog was okay. Sure enough, our dog was in my brother’s room and looked up sleepily when I opened his door. She was fine and not at all the evil thing that had been in my room.

 

Whatever it was, it was something I would not want to repeat. I think the worst was that it used a familiar, much-loved creature as its disguise.

Up Next: Another Smoky Mountains “Ghost” Story

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A True(ly) Scary Story

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Halloween is coming, so I thought I’d tell you one of my true(ly) scary stories. This one is about something that happened while we were in our house on Eagles’ Nest Mountain in Waynesville, NC.

 

One day, my mother and I decided to go visit friends in Highlands, NC. My sister, Melanie, was quite young at the time and had a very good friend who lived at the bottom of the mountain. Our house was near the very top of the mountain (with glorious views of Maggie Valley). Since there would be very little for Mel to do during our trip, we decided it would be best if she would stay and play with Heidi.

 

My Aunt Jean (Hyatt) Richardson was also visiting with us, and she opted to stay home. She’d grown up just down the mountain, and her kin were all around the area. She was going to spend the day visiting with them, so she stayed with our dog Gretyl.

 

The drive to Highlands was scary enough! The roads we took were twisty and turny, and there were areas with shear drops several hundred feet down the sides of mountains. When I think of the little rock walls on the down-side of the road, I still laugh. Don’t know what, exactly, they were supposed to stop, but it wouldn’t have been any normal-sized vehicle. The other sides of the road were straight up except for the rocks that stuck out from the walls. Surely, there was an easier way to get to our friend’s place, but her directions were very fuzzy. My mother swears that the air in the car was blue from all the curse words uttered. (I may have even made up a few new ones.) If you’ve never been “chased” down a mountain, back-road by a logging truck, consider yourself very lucky. But that wasn’t the end of the fright for the day.

 

After a pleasant visit, we headed back to Waynesville, We had better directions on how to get back, so the ride was much more pleasant. We stopped for dinner along the way and made our leisurely way back to Eagles’ Nest. That’s when the “fun” began.

 

As we were approaching Eagles’ Nest Mountain Road, we saw more police cars with lights flashing than we thought existed in the whole state of North Carolina. They were all getting off the interstate at our road. We only got as far as Mom and Pop Hyatt’s home (at the base of the mountain) when we were stopped and turned back.

 

Apparently, two bad guys had robbed a liquor store near Asheville, stolen a car, shot at police, and headed up our road. They’d ditched the car right at the gate that lead up the road – right next to where Mel was playing at her friend’s home. The authorities had the road blocked and weren’t letting anyone up or down.

 

We joined a large contingent of Hyatts at  Mom and Pop’s place. A quick call to Heidi’s parents reassured us that Mel was safe and that the police had posted sentries outside their home. Aunt Jean was another story, though. Here she was in our home up on the top of the mountain with only our dog keeping her company. We begged the police to let us go up to our home. The state police weren’t having any of it until the local county authorities arrived. Once they learned that Aunt Jean was Jean HYATT, the tune changed. To help you understand a little more, at one time just about everything in Haywood County was “Hyatt” something. The name is still attached to creeks, road, hills, and developments.

 

A rapid convoy was arranged. In the front were two police cars, then us in my car, then two more police cars. Lights were flashing everywhere.

 

Eagles’ Nest Mountain Road is like most of the other roads in the area. There are sharp curves, switchbacks, hairpin turns, and very few straight areas. It’s just wide enough for two cars to pass (in most places). We took the whole road. I never had before (nor after) gone up that road so fast. We’d been warned to keep in tight formation. I’m still not sure how we made it up there without someone rear-ending someone, but we did.

 

We sure were glad to get home, and Aunt Jean was beside herself. We all settled in to stay locked down for the night. That was, all of us except Gretyl. Poor pup had to “go!” She’d been cooped up inside for as long as she could wait. On top of that, there were “strange” people outside our house. The police had left a patrol to make sure we were safe. I hollered out to the officer that my dog absolutely could wait no longer. He grudgingly let us out. So, here I am, in the pitch dark, with a scared dog on a leash, just beggin’ her to go ahead and pee. (Now, Gretyl – being like most dogs – was almost too afraid to pee.) I was so concerned about her, that I didn’t hear the person walking up behind me. Nigh to jumped out of my skin when the biggest man I’d ever seen showed up right behind me! He even startled Gretyl as he’d appeared so quickly and quietly. Phew, another one of the police who was looking for the bad guys. He wasn’t sure who we were and why we were out there, but he was none too happy that we were.

 

Business taken care of, we were hustled back into the house. I know I didn’t sleep a wink. My mother was upstairs with my sister and aunt. My room was on the main level of the house. Gretyl stayed with me. Every so often, she’d give a low, warning growl. She sure wasn’t letting those men outside forget she was on duty.

 

Our house was a cross between a chalet-style and a barn. It was built into the bedrock of the mountain, and had a walk-out basement. The deck from the main portion of the house protruded out probably 20 feet. The views were spectacular. We could see the lights of Maggie Valley, the lighted cross on Mt. Lyn Lowery, and (on clear days) Mt. LeConte (the highest peak in the area and the third highest peak in the Smokies). The basement was only visible from below.

 

After a sleepless night, we were informed that one of the desperados had been caught and the other was presumed to be at least as far away as Maggie Valley. We could go back to our normal routine. The whole area breathed a sigh of relief (all except Gretyl who was still growling – poor dog was traumatized). That was until the next day, when the second guy was caught…walking down Eagles’ Nest Mountain Road.

 

Where’d he been? He told the authorities that he’d spent both nights up on top of the mountain…up next to a concrete basement… under a big deck.

 

Up Next: Another Smoky Mountains “Ghost” Story

 

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Our Visit to Florida (Finale)

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Now you know about a couple of our “destination” restaurants during our recent Florida trip. In this installment, I will talk about the final two Florida specialties we were determined to enjoy.

 

Have you ever had smoked mullet? If not, there’s only one place I know of that does it right. That place is Ted Peter’s Fish House in South Pasadena, FL. South Pasadena is in Pinellas County and is adjacent to St. Petersburg (between the city and the beach).

 

Believe it or not, while growing up in St. Petersburg, I hated (or thought I hated) fish. The only thing I would eat that came out of the water was shrimp. For a while, I wouldn’t even go into the water in the Gulf or Bay because a school of small fish had rushed through my legs when I was quite little. They scared the poo out of me at the time. Yes, I got over that, but didn’t get over “hating” fish until I met Ted Peter’s smoked mullet. What a wonder. Flaky fish with just enough smoke that ate more like “meat” than what I had always considered fish. No strong fishy taste. Just delicious smoked morsels in every bite (do look out for pin-bones, though). If I hadn’t learned about fish from Ted Peter’s, I may have never learned the joys of grouper (see previous post).

 

Ted Peters was featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives,” but more for their terrific burgers. I’ve had the burger there – it IS special, but the real specialty is the smoked fish. You can have the mullet (my favorite), mackerel, or salmon. The main thing to remember is to come hungry. They serve a huge plate full. The fish comes with pickle, lettuce, tomato, onion, cole slaw and a small bowl heaped full of delicious German potato salad. They also have smoked fish spread that they serve with crackers. This is good enough to make a meal out of.

 

The final local specialty I really was wanting was a Cuban sandwich. Even before the troubles of the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Tampa Bay area was a destination for Cuban émigrés. Tampa had a thriving cigar industry (and still does). The classic Cuban dishes started to become widely available after the large influx due to the difficulties in Cuba. My particular favorites are “Spanish Bean Soup” (garbanzo), black beans and rice, and Cuban sandwiches.

 

Since we really didn’t have the time to travel to Ybor City, we looked for a place closer to find a Cuban sandwich. We’d seen a big crowd at a bar across the street from Sloppy Joes, so we thought we’d check it out.

 

Ricky T’s is exactly the kind of bar/grill I used to go to (as a local) 30 years ago. Every age group was represented and it is completely laid-back and fun. We went for lunch, so the crowds hadn’t started to gather. They serve an excellent Cuban. It’s not quite as authentic as one found at either the “Columbia” or in Ybor, but it was pretty darned good. The bread was authentic and they pressed it properly. Jim got a fried grouper sandwich. Again, the fish was about twice the size of the bun, fresh and delicious.

 

While not a destination at the time, we were introduced to a new favorite by our dear friends Richard and Julie Lilly. Caddy’s on the Beach is on Sunset Beach and is one of the last, true beach bars in the area.

(From their website) No where near this many people on Sunday morning

 

We went to Caddy’s for breakfast. I wondered how good breakfast could be in a beach bar. I should have had more faith. The coffee was really hot and fresh. The food was plentiful, delicious and inventive. While we were there, people started getting very excited about several dolphin who were cruising right along the shore. One of them was in an especially exuberant mood and was leaping clear out of the water.

 

We didn’t do too badly for only being in Florida from Friday noon until early Monday morning. Most of the time was spent attending the reunion and with friends; but we still found time to see a few birds and dolphin and to check off all the restaurants / foods on our “bucket list.”

 

 

Up Next: A True Scary Story – Just in Time for Halloween!

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Our Visit to Florida (Part 2)

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In my previous post, I talked about the birds and the sites we saw in two quick days in Florida. Now, I’m going to tell you about another part of our “bucket list” for the trip…restaurants.

 

Don’t know about you, but some of my fondest memories about growing up in St. Petersburg involve restaurants and (later) hang-outs. I’m willing to bet that there are places that you went to as a child or a teen that you still have fond memories of.

 

Sadly, one of my most favorite places is no longer. Aunt Hattie’s Restaurant was around for years and years. There were waitresses there, when I was a child, who told stories about Babe Ruth coming in with a large entourage for meals. Apparently, he’d always say he was paying, but he only had a $100 bill. You have to remember, that in those times, a meal wouldn’t be more than a couple of dollars and no restaurants would have change for $100. I guess the Bambino was always “comped.” Loved that story and the place. It was across the street from Albert Whitted Airport and near the Coast Guard base on Tampa Bay. When I was very little, it was a small place that specialized in “Chicken in the Woodpile” (chicken and dumplings). They also served the most amazing chocolate pie (never learned the secret – DAMN!) They had a small wishing well outside. Later there were several expansions and they started a small gift shop in the front (so people waiting for a table could shop – LONG before Cracker Barrel). A wonderful man named Kenny Jones was a woodworker who fashioned gnomes and elves for the restaurant’s garden. (Mr. Jones and his shop later did many pieces for Tampa’s Busch Gardens.)

 

Chattaway’s is still there! In my early 20s, a group of friends and I “discovered” The Chattaway Drive In (affectionately known as Chattaway’s). The owner, Everett, used to have a panel truck that he would use to pick up supplies that said, “Chattaway: You can’t beat our meat!” Seriously! You know what? Even after all these years, you still can’t. There are times that I get so homesick for a Chattaburger (their namesake burger) that I am almost ready to jump on a plane. Needless to say, the first place we headed from the airport was not the resort where we’d be staying, it was to Chattaway’s. (I taught Jim the wonders of the Chattaburger and the ethereal onion rings years ago.) There’s something so comforting sitting out on the patio eating THAT burger, onion rings, and quaffing a beer. I must say that they’ve really spiffed the place up quite a bit from the days when there were just concrete tables with benches, bar stools around the bar, and a few tables and chairs inside, but the food is still the same…WONDERFUL.

 

Chattaway's Patio

Another “must have” when I travel to St. Petersburg is grouper. Grouper is a delicate fish (which seems pretty strange considering the size and flat-out ugliness of the fish itself). I know that there are those who like grouper fried or blackened, but I think that’s near sacrilege. For me, the only proper way to eat grouper is broiled or grilled.

 

We both also had a hankering for conch fritters. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of eating conch, let me ‘splain. A conch is a large sea “snail.” Okay, don’t get grossed out. It’s the animal that comes in those beautiful, pink-lined shells that you see in photos being blown like horns. The meat is tough, so it needs to be chopped quite fine. Most fritters involve the conch, corn meal, onions, peppers, and celery. They’re truly delicious.

 

Lucky for us, we found Sloppy Joe’s – Treasure Island. This is the same team as the more famous Sloppy Joes found in Key West, Florida. Sloppy Joe’s is in one of the resorts on Treasure Island and is fairly well hidden from the front. However, they have a large, casual dining area inside, and wonderful tables on the patio overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and the sugar-sand beach of Treasure Island. They also serve a mean conch fritter!

 

The fritters came in a boat-shaped plate with an avocado remoulade. They were light, yet substantial with lots of good crunch. Delicious! I followed up with a grouper sandwich. The filet was day-caught fresh, perfectly cooked and huge! The bun was good, but the best part was that it didn’t get in the way of the fish. Appropriately, the fish was the star of the show. It immediately fulfilled my grouper “jones.” Jim had the grouper tacos. In that preparation, the grouper was fried into strips and added to tacos. He said they were excellent. All of the above was enjoyed with a couple of draft beers. Authentic (and extraordinary) key lime pie was dessert.

 

I can’t imagine a more beautiful way to end a great day and a wonderful meal than the sunset we were treated to. Here we were, relaxing on the restaurant’s patio, when the sun began to set and treat us to an incomparable Gulf-coast sunset. I must admit to being a bit of a “homer” when it comes to the sunsets in that part of Florida. What do you think? Isn’t this amazing?

 

Up Next: Our Trip to Florida (Finale) – Yes, more about food.

 

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Our Visit to Florida (Part 1)

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

 

If you read my last post, you know that Jim and I recently went to my high school reunion. It was held at the Sirata Beach Resort on St. Petersburg Beach. This previous post was about the reunion. This post is about the setting.

Sirata Beach Resort

 

The Sirata Beach Resort is and older resort. The amenities (wonderful beach, pools, beach bars, water activities, café, etc.) are quite nice. We found the food in the café to be good and reasonable, the bars were a bit pricey, but that’s not abnormal for a resort town. (I guess it shows that we don’t go clubbing, it’s expensive!) The hotel room itself was a bit odd. We had a king suite. The layout was backwards to our way of thinking. The door from the hall opened immediately into the bedroom, and the living/entertainment area were in the back. The television in the bedroom didn’t work, and the shower came on immediately when the water was turned on. Those negatives aside, the room was clean and the staff did a wonderful job of making the bed and assuring that the towels were replaced. To a person, every staff member we met was friendly, welcoming, and helpful. With that kind of environment, it was easy to overlook a couple of glitches.

 

As you know, Jim and I are birders. I guess I’ve been a passive birder all my life, but only got into really being interested in knowing the different species for the past 15 years or so. We were visiting one of the very best birding spots (although it’s better known for birding in the winter), so we took the opportunity to go out to Ft. Desoto Park.

 

Adult Ibis
Juvenile Ibis

Having grown up in the area, the actual Fort was not something we wanted to go see again. It’s interesting, but the birding was on the beach. We went to the east end of the island first. This is an area where we had seen large numbers of migrating birds (including warblers) the last time we visited. Again, the last time we visited was in the winter and this time we were between migrations. However, we did find some Ibis (the white ones are adult; the darker colored one is a juvenile). We also found a Great Egret.

Sanderling (thanks, Allen C)

Above is a photo of one of the many Sanderling (thanks, Allen C),

Willett (Allen C, confirmed)

and several Willet on the beach. In the trees around the picnic area, we found an active Palm Warbler (sorry, no photo) and several Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers (also, no photo).

White Peacock (thanks Cathy)

There were several beautiful butterflies, as well. Unfortunately, the wind was fierce, so our opportunities to find and photograph were hampered.

 

Gulf Fritillary (thanks Cathy)

This is a great spot to see and photograph the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Sunshine Skyway Bridge

This is a photo of one of the freighters that regularly travels under the bridge. Many years back, one of the pilot-boat captains made a terrible error in piloting a huge barge under the Skyway. Unfortunately, the barge hit the bridge and sent a huge part of the span tumbling into the water. Sadly, several people lost their lives when cars went over the edge. This is the new Bridge. Only remnants of the old bridge remain as fishing piers on both the north and south side of the waterway.

 

Egmont Key

We also got excellent views of Egmont Key with its working lighthouse.

 

We then went down to the pier across from the Fort. As we were walking out toward the pier there was a great hubbub! Several dolphin (bottlenose) were playing under the pier. They were also eating the leavings of the fish that were being cleaned on the pier. We hustled out to see and, sure enough, there were dolphin swimming around the pier. Wish we’d gotten photos, but it’s virtually impossible to guess when and where a dolphin would surface. It was thrilling to see how well they are thriving in my “home” waters.

 

Ruddy Turnstone

Out at the end of the pier there were several “cleaning stations.” We found out that dolphin aren’t the only animals happy to clean up after the fishermen. These photos are of a Ruddy Turnstone (very confiding) that was enjoying the bounty left on the cleaning table. There were several other turnstones clambering around on the rip-rap jetty just to the side of the pier.

 

Turnstone on Rip Rap

We left the long pier, but stopped again at the shorter, more easterly pier on our way back to the resort. This pier had a small refreshment stand and we were parched from the blowing sand. Along the beach were lots of gulls and several terns. I have to admit it, I really need to bone-up on my shorebirds. I would really appreciate knowing what the different species are that are in these photos.

Common Tern? Sandwich Tern? Laughing Gulls

Sandwich Terns, Common Terns? Willet, and Laughing Gulls (thanks Jacco)

On the Bayway (the road back to the resort) I made Jim pull over because I saw a large group of Wood Storks and there was a Roseate Spoonbill with them. Hope you can see it in the photo.

 

Roseate Spoonbill/Wood Stork

Considering the weather and the time of year, we didn’t do too badly. Of course, all it did was serve to reinforce that we need to make another trip at a different time of year and (hopefully) when the weather is more cooperative.

 

Up Next: Our Visit to Florida (Part 2)

 

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Old Friends at the Beach

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Who say’s you can never go home again? You know, I always thought that was probably true. That was until I went to my 40th high school reunion on the beach in Florida. 40th?!!! Yep, I’m an old f*&t, alright.

 

Sunset: St. Pete Beach (Reunion Site)

I could right a whole blog on just how we came to decide to go to my reunion, but I won’t. Suffice to say, I was informed that my high school class had a website and that the reunion was being planned. I went to the website and found out that so many of my old friends (some of whom went from 1st grade through high school graduation with me) were planning to attend the reunion. I also got in touch with my very best friend from high school whom I hadn’t seen since her wedding 35 years ago. Once plans were made to go to Florida, I learned that more and more old friends would be there. I started to get excited. The decision was sealed when I found another person whom I hadn’t seen in more than 40 years. My best friend in junior high school is living is Sarasota (just across the Skyway Bridge from our reunion). I was going to have the opportunity to see (and introduce Jim to) two of the people I had loved and missed most.

 

Sunshine Skyway Bridge

I’d attended my 10 year reunion and had been somewhat underwhelmed. Let’s face it, at that point, we were all clawing and scratching our way into the business world or starting families. The emphasis, at that time, was on jobs, money, cars and babies. Since I didn’t have a high-powered job, didn’t have any extra money, drove a pretty ugly car and was single with no children, I really felt pretty alienated. Right then and their, I decided no more reunions. I’m glad I changed my mind.

 

Now, we’re all old f*#ts, and we could care less about any of that. We’re just happy to see old friends have made it through the “wars” and survived. Sadly, more than 40 of our classmates have passed on. It’s not something we think about on a daily basis, but it’s a fact of life. The older the lucky ones of us get, the more other we find have left us. It was quite a shock to read some of the names on the website, and I’m so very glad that we had a memorial service on the beach to remember and honor those who have gone to their rest.

 

Just SOME of the Grads

Most of the crowd have grown children (who really weren’t a topic of much conversation) and are in the twilight of their careers. We’ve all figured out that the secret isn’t the money or the position so much as it’s the satisfaction of doing something we enjoy to the best of our abilities. Some lucky souls have already retired (grrrrr), but the rest of us are hoping to be able to do so before our next 10 years pass.

L to R Judy Rausa Mamo, Me, Cheri Wix Hill, Julie Parker Lilly

The very best part of the whole reunion was getting so many of our old friends together and finding out we still can laugh, be silly, and, yes, for one weekend be 17 again. No, we can’t limbo like we could, but we can enjoy the music and each other’s company like 40 years had somehow magically disappeared. The bonds, while stretched across time and space, were still there.

L to R: Me, Cindy Clare Brickey, Gloria Byrd Mann, Julie Parker Lilly

I have to tell you, though, that the funniest thing that happened during the when a dear, old friend came up to me aghast and said, “You’re not DEAD!” My name wasn’t on the list of the departed, but she had been told that I had died. So, now, I was either Lazarus or a zombie. I had to suppress a giggle and a desire to say, “I can smell your brain.”

Richard Lilly, Julie Parker Lilly, Me, and Jim

 

Now that the reunion is over and we’ve all gone back to our four-corners of the globe, we’ve promised that we will stay in touch. I think we will. I hope we can find a way to get together, too. It sure would be a pity to lose touch once we’ve found each other again.

 

A Fabulous Group

Do you have a reunion coming up? You might have just as much fun as we did. I just love reunion stories. If you have one you’d like to share, please add it to this site.

 

Up Next: More Fun in Florida 

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