I grew up in Moline, Illinois and haven't been back for 35 years. After being lovingly badgered by my two best girlfriends, Cheryl and Leslie, I decided to attend my 45th high school reunion. I haven't had a vacation for 13 years and haven't flown since 1997. Needless to say I was a bit anxious about going. My sister, Kathy, came to the rescue once again, offering to go with me. She is a frequent flyer, and knows all the ropes.
My cousin Mary Ann took us to the library so I could sign my books. What a thrill.
There they were, with their own Dewey Decimal numbers, on the shelf right beside Karen Robards and Nora Roberts.
Who could ask for better company, maybe their success will rub off on me.
Friday night was the meet and greet at the Bierstube, a German beer garden. When I first saw Cheryl and Leslie we started squealing and laughing like 16 year old girls, and we pretty much kept it up for the next two days. There were about 720 kids in my graduating class, but being a "nobody" I didn't know half of them. About 200 showed up for the reunion.
Saturday morning, Mary Ann, Leslie, Kathy and I went bumming around. We went to Lagomarcino's for an amazing lunch, including their famous hot fudge sundaes. This was not a time for counting calories.
Then we swung by the Mighty Mississippi. Now THERE'S a river for you. Even though low because of the drought in Illinois, it is big and muddy and seems so wide you can barely see across to the other side.
There was a beautiful riverboat docked nearby, wish we could have ridden on it, or even on the river taxi. Maybe next time.
Kathy and cousin Mary Ann
The next stop was Blackhawk State Park. Some of my most cherished memories are of running through the forest near the Rock River, imagining what it was like when the Sauk tribe lived in those very woods as we watched out for poison ivy and poison sumac. The deciduous tree forest is so thick and green and goes on for miles, so different from the pine forests or the sparse gatherings of cotton wood trees in Colorado.
Had fun in the museum chatting with some of the locals.
Mary Ann, & Gini
Then we grabbed our spoons and had the traditional bowl of Whitey's ice cream...another taste of heaven. Yes, you know you're home indeed.
That evening was the big party. Oh boy, a pig roast. Luckily for this vegetarian, there were plenty of side dishes. I've never starved yet.
What a wonderful evening. We subversively checked out everybody, which was not easy as our name tags were written in barely discernable fine-line pen, and they did not affix photo's from the year book. It was pretty difficult to recognize anybody. We tried not to be too happy about the gorgeous cheerleaders who now looked chubby and wrinkled.
Cheryl, Me, Leslie
I was so proud of Cheryl, she won a prize for being the person attending with the longest military record. She spent 8 years as a National Guard Nurse and is a Captain. Leslie, the brain-trust, won a prize for her good memory regarding the words to the school "fight" song.
I won an amazing trip down memory lane, and the joy of feeling 16 again for three days. What a wonderful trip.