Reelin' in the years: Charlie Ganong reflects in prep for Evergreen HS Class of '73 Reunion

Evergreen High School Class of 1973 40-Year Reunion Weekend, July 26th-28th

By Charlie Ganong

I can't believe it's been 40 years since high school—or the Stone Age, as it is often called. Just yesterday we were sporting shag haircuts (girls and boys) and bellbottoms, grooving to KJR and Colorful KOL, hanging out at Herfy's or cruising Alki. A summer for the ages, it was a brief, shimmering season, one last chance to kick up the magical sands of adolescence before diving into the daunting, uncharted waters of the adult world.

Soon enough, we would scatter to the four winds, beyond the familiar turf of White Center and Burien, boldly venturing to the very edge of the earth itself—to an alluring, mysterious and exotic place known as Southcenter.

But our snug, placid world was about to get crazy in a hurry. Although the Vietnam War was being handed off to the Vietnamese (sound familiar?), the Watergate scandal would soon explode, jailing or exiling our political leaders and forever tarnishing our faith in government. Meanwhile, crisis in the Mideast (sound familiar?) sent gas to the unheard-of-price of 45 cents a gallon—bringing chaos to the pump, and three new words overnight into our vocabulary: Datsun, Honda and Toyota.

From the skies above emerged an even deadlier threat—and another new term on our radar: skyjacking. But America's icon, Archie Bunker, had a surefire solution: just hand out guns to all the passengers (sound familiar?)

Some say 1973 was the "last good year," the tail end of a long postwar ride of relative peace and plenty; that the unstable world we grads were entering would never be as noble, abundant or secure as our parents'. That America's good times had come and gone.

But the Class of 1973 had one thing going for it: we were uniquely positioned to inherit the "best of both worlds." Our older siblings had been hippies, flower children and reluctant warriors in an unpopular, divisive war; protestors, draft-dodgers and everything else anti-Establishment.

Pitted squarely against them was our parents' generation, clinging fast to their set ways of clock-punching, Corporate coddling, class consciousness and the Cocktail Hour, the tinkling of their glasses drowning out the mildly disturbing but conveniently distant Nightly News.

In the middle of these two opposing camps was US, bracketed by the Silent Majority on one side and the Militant Minority on the other, our heroes hovering somewhere between Johnny Carson and John Lennon. But our middle name has always been Eclectic. We learned, selected and borrowed from both worlds, what we wanted—and didn't want—to be, forging our own unique values, philosophy and lifestyle (as every generation does), never straying too far to the left or right in our journey down life's twisting path. True to form, we were even born squarely in the middle of the largest demographic spike in U.S. history—the Baby Boom.

So here we are, 40 years later, babies no longer, having lived more than 16,000 collective years since leaving the Evergreen nest in June of 1973. But time—once an endless ocean; now a swiftly rushing stream—has transformed us. The footloose, carefree 18-year-olds who once sparkled in the sunlight have slowed down a bit, put down roots and abandoned all hopes of keeping the frost off the pumpkin. We have absorbed no small amount of wear-and-tear since we donned our green and white robes, flipped our tassels and tossed our caps skyward, each voyaging out into the world on his or her own tenuous but custom-made craft.

But now it's time to reunite once again. For an evening, we can be 18 again, the years melting away with the warmth of a familiar smile and the flames of rekindled friendship. For an evening, we can share the destinies and destinations to which our youthful dreams have delivered us, perhaps only to find that one of the choicest of these is right back where we started: in each other's good company once again . . . if only for a day or two.

And, for an evening, we can rediscover ourselves through the eyes, tales (only slightly embellished with time) and laughter of those who remember us as we were long ago, and with whom we will forever share the myths, magic and memories of our youth.

Someone once said: "Having been is the surest kind of being." To which I would add: "If you want to truly know how you've been, then reunite with those who knew you when."

Evergreen High School Class of 1973 40-Year Reunion Weekend, July 26th-28th. For details contact Gloria Wenger Kores at 253-750-1125 or 206-380-9222.

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