Armijo High Class of 1982 holds its 40th meeting

The Armijo High School Class of 1982 celebrated our 40th reunion this past weekend and did it in style. The main event took place on Saturday and was booked by a Friday night meet mixer and a photo meet on the steps of the Old Courthouse on Sunday, followed by brunch at the Cast Iron Grill in Suisun City.

Classmate Ron Lanza of Wooden Valley Winery graciously hosted the blender in his charming facility. Screams of surprise and squeals of excitement erupted every time someone new came in and were followed by tight hugs. Subsequent conversations would be punctuated with the particular kind of laughter that only old friends can share. For me, it was especially great to see Karen Johnson, whom I hadn’t seen since our good-humored clowning around in Mr. Sullivan’s newspaper class.

I had scanned the senior photos from my 1982 yearbook and turned them into a bound mini yearbook, which I brought. It was very useful for identification. My high school basketball jersey, given to me by coach Jay Dahl at his retirement party in 2005, was relegated to the souvenir table for our 30th reunion in 2012. But thanks to Bright Line Eating, I was able to carry it to the blender.

Tony Wade, Back in the Day

My only minor complaint is that the 18-year-old rocker in me hangs my head in shame while I, the 58-year-old rocker, admit it: the music was a little too loud. I had trouble communicating with people I hadn’t seen in years, and competing with Joan Jett, Kool and the Gang, and The Cars for sound space put a strain on my voice, which I needed for Saturday.

Our main event was held, as was our 30th, at the Paradise Valley Clubhouse. We had 83 people show up and there was a remembrance table as well as a memory table where classmates could add memories/blessings for deceased classmates/teachers using Post-its in heart shape. We raised funds for a scholarship by selling Armijo Alumni Association clothing and raffling off yearbooks from our respective high school years.

I was a socially awkward teenager, which is probably redundant, and I sometimes used humor to keep people at bay. I am now aware that I do this and instead try to use my humor to serve others – in this case, as an emcee, as I did for our 30th.

When you have an audience of literally your peers, most of whom have had a few drinks and are full after dinner and cake, you really only have to meet them halfway to be engaging and entertaining. I started by asking everyone to stand while I sang the Armijo school anthem, “Hail Armijo Hail”, and the fight song, “Down From Under” – both taught by Class of 1956 graduate Sharon Maupin Tonnesen. While my classmates, like me, didn’t know them, let alone sang them in high school, they were in fact still the official anthem and song of fight at the time.

The next agenda was the presentation of our planning committee: Victoria Moore Bartels, Brian Evans, Claire Cepeda Kelley, Ed Lockhart, Roberta Arnold-Nichols and Frederick Wallace. I probably owe them an apology for using their freshman photos on the twin 60-inch monitors we used, but the anguished looks on their faces were worth it.

A little self-mockery always goes a long way, so at first I said I could tell a lot of them were looking at me and thinking, “Man! It’s so cool! I didn’t know Al Roker was in my class!

I hadn’t seen The Hathaways since I went with him to a Van Halen concert in 1984 and helped him slip high-powered camera lenses in there so he could take pictures at sell later. I owe him $13.50 for that ticket since, so I pulled out an envelope with that amount (not adjusted for inflation) and gave it to him.

I talked about how high school could be a tricky time when it came to relationships and told the story of when I was at a house party as a freshman slow dancing to ” Too Much Heaven” by the Bee Gees with a girl I had a huge crush on named CC Davenport. It was paradise. . . until suddenly the song ends and a fast tune, “It’s All the Way Live” by Lakeside, kicks in and a Soul Train line begins. On my fourth time in the middle of the line, I ran out of moves and started making up dances based on whatever I saw in the kitchen/living room. So, I pioneered “The Cuckoo Clock”, “The Macramé Pot Holder” and the ever-popular “70s Bead Curtain Boogie”. Oh.

Then I said that while many former students knew that Pat Morita, Mr. Miyagi in “The Karate Kid“, had gone to Armijo and that Johnny Colla of Huey Lewis and the News had also done so, Armijo had in makes a connection with the new wave group Duran. Duran. While Google says they took their name from a character in Jane Fonda’s “Barbarella” movie, they’re lying!

It was really because when I was playing basketball at Armijo, I kept saying it to try and get my teammate/classmate Duran Wilson to pass the ball to me. I was wide open and shouting, “Duran! Durane!” He never passed it to me, he shot it.

I used a similar “Duran-never-passed-me-basketball” joke in 2012 and Lawd wants me to dust it off again in 2032 as well.

The way so many of us split into preppy, nerd, band geek, jock, stoner, valley kids and other high school cliques all seem kind of silly now. I suggested we try some new cliques that many of us might belong to now that included the following:

• The Clique of these children/grandchildren is about to have the last word on my nerves.
• The Get the F Offa My Lawn Clique.
• The Clique I’m retired and I have no idea what day of the week and I don’t care.
• The I have back pain. . . While taking a nap Click.
• The Clique I have no idea who this person is at my high school reunion, but I’ll pretend.

The special guest speakers were his classmate Kevin Christian, who told a funny story about Dr. Victor Agnello, who was the most talented in our class and who passed away in 2014. Two former teachers also spoke – Mr. Doug Hambright, who taught at Armijo for over 30 years, and my favorite teacher, 90-year-old Mr. Alex Scherr, who came from Nevada with his wife Judy.

After the program, the dancing started. The years melted away as the spontaneous joy, aided by the transformative magic of the music, brought out the teenagers still alive and well inside the grandparents who took over the dance floor. Fortunately, they lay down first. I didn’t subject anyone to my dance moves except for slow dancing to “The Lady in Red” with my wife Beth.

It was wonderful catching up with people, and the Armijo class of 1982 sent doctors, nurses, artists, teachers, housewives, lawyers, pilots, soldiers, musicians, mothers into the world. housewives, housewives. – stay-at-home dads, corrections officers, pastors, CFOs, CEOs, writers, computer engineers, mechanics and many more who have left their mark on society in one way or another another one.

We have added meaning and purpose to our individual lives through relationships and have reveled in the brief time allotted to us all on this Earth.

Till we Meet Again . . . .

Freelance Fairfield humor columnist and local accidental historian Tony Wade writes two weekly columns: “The Last Laugh” on Mondays and “Back in the Day” on Fridays. Wade is also the author of The History Press books “Growing Up In Fairfield, California and “Lost Restaurants of Fairfield, California”.

Kristen T. Prall