Do you remember where you were on June 5, 1986? (If you do, put it in the comments!)
That day more than 20 years ago was our high school baccalaureate service at New Hope Community Church. Asked to speak, I wrestled with how to talk about what really measured success in life, beyond accomplishments and achievements. In the parking lot afterward (I have the pictures that demonstrate this, I don’t really remember it), Todd grabbed me around the neck, Paul C. came in, then Tonia, then Candie, and before we knew what happened, a whole bunch of us had gathered for an impromptu class picture. This is the left side of the big pile-up of Cavs:
I’ll start at the left. Back in those days, John was Mr. Creative…best actor, singer, and named “most talented” out of the class of ’86. Bob was a runner, with a great sense of humor, and his house served as the gathering place for Super Bowls…and this unbelievably cool dunk contest game on his Apple II computer (Dr. J vs. Larry Bird, of course). Dave was a runner and joined us in the fun and pain of Humanities and American Studies. Jim was a star soccer player, and that spring he had been named “Mr. Legs” in a lunch time competition for the best legs in the school. Rick was a runner, co-leader of the Jente club, and the man could do Michael Jackson’s whole dance routine from the “Beat it” video, including the moon walk. Even was an exchange student from Norway, and Ken was a part of our class during our freshman and senior years, with time off in the middle at Sandy High School.
Aaron gets his own paragraph, because he was (and continues to be) the hub our group of guys gathered around. He was a runner, a wrestler, and not long before (or maybe a little after) this picture he earned his Eagle Scout honors by re-roofing a bathroom at a park next to the Willamette River off of McLoughlin Blvd. He also was the host of a memorable party where we did a “commando raid” in the middle of the night, sneaking on the Top O’Scott golf course and playing a sort of “capture the flag” game with the pins on the greens.
Joe was one of my very first friends (along with Bob) after I moved to Oregon from California in the eighth grade. Brett was in our infamous German classes with Herr Blummel, and was on the last gymnastics team at CHS. (At one of his meets, Aaron and I had the legendary Trix incident in the locker room). Todd was a very good wrestler who always used to work hard to cut weight; I remember layers and layers of sweats as he would try to run off the last little bit before weigh in. We took driver’s ed together, but what I remember most about Todd was that at each dance, we got in the habit of inventing some stupid dance move each and every time. Only one locker separated Candie and me for all four years of high school…and I taught her how to drive a stick in my 1978 red Mercury Bobcat station wagon (don’t you DARE call it a Pinto…completely different car!) in the K-Mart parking lot.
What have 20 years done to the crew?
Well, Joe, Ken, and Even missed the reunion, and although Candie was there, we didn’t get her in the picture. You can probably match us up pretty well, but I’ll start at the left in case you’re having trouble.
Brett’s married with two kids and lives in West Linn, I think still working as an engineer at a company that makes fire sprinkler systems. Rick is Lt. Colonel in his second stint in the Navy, a real live jet fighter pilot. He ran 18 miles the night before the reunion because he’s getting ready for a marathon. I hate him. Dave is a dentist, and HE loves to run, too. Todd, hidden a bit, lives in California and works with the DEA, doing wire taps and occasionally getting in the field to bust drug runners. Jim pastors at Happy Valley Evangelical Church, and I got to be the best man when he married Becky 16 years ago, after rooming with him two years in college. Major Aaron Roth has “his own little kingdom” in El Paso Texas; he’s in charge of ops for training Army cadets, and takes seriously the responsibility to develop the whole person. Bob’s worked as an engineer for the likes of Motorola and Cisco, and now works developing cool new technologies for General Dynamics. John is a Deputy District Attorney, specializing in domestic violence cases for the past five years; he says that’s about three times longer than most, as it’s a high stress specialty. But he loves the rewards that come when they get it right.
Here’s what I love: everybody seems to have found a place in life where they enjoy what they do and in their own way, make a difference in the world. I’m glad to call them my friends.