Monday, September 18, 2006

Time Traveling

Today's t-shirt: A new one! "Blue Out -- Lindale Eagles 06-07," which is apparently the spirit theme for the year at my old high school. My dad bought me one at the football game Friday night. Almost everyone in the stands was wearing one, so it really did look like there was a "blue out" in the stadium.

I must say that I'm really surprised at the results of the LiveJournal poll and the feedback in e-mail and comments. The big winner was discussion about my real life. I've been avoiding too many posts about my real life unless I had absolutely nothing else to say, for fear of sounding too "me, me, me, meeeeeee!" Good thing I did a survey, huh? So now I guess I need to get a real life to have something to talk about. The second most popular topic is behind the scenes info about the books. For that, I do try to share anything that occurs to me, but if you do have a particular question or point of curiosity about the books, please let me know, either via comment or e-mail. I can't guarantee that I will answer any and all questions about the books because I don't want to spoil future books, and there are some things that I still have to figure out, but I'll definitely see what I can do to answer any questions you might have. Other popular topics included the creative process and the publishing business.

So, since you apparently are gluttons for punishment and actually want to hear about my real life, I'll tell you about my class reunion weekend!

I'm from a pretty small town in northeast Texas. At least, it was pretty small when I lived there. The sign at the city limits said "Population 2180." Now it's closer to 3,000 and growing rapidly. That sign is probably from the last census and wildly inaccurate now because a lot has changed in the past couple of years. We moved there just before I started my freshman year of high school. Before that, my dad had been in the army, so we moved around a lot and I'd lived in a variety of places, including overseas. But we'd owned property outside this town since I was five, so I'd always sort of considered it my hometown, my home base, so to speak. We just hadn't lived there, and we didn't know many people there, other than the people who bought the adjacent land at the same time. It was weird to move there after having considered it home all that time, and then have people ask me where I was from, since they'd been around that town their whole lives and had never known me.

This is the kind of town where much of the life of the town revolves around the school. The whole town turns out for football games, even if people have no connection to anyone who's playing. Needless to say, the homecoming game Friday night was like the social event of the year. The first activity was the Rotary Club's hamburger supper before the game. My class was supposed to try to hook up to sit together during the game, but it was a mob scene, so I couldn't find anyone and just sat with my parents. Later, they made an announcement over the PA system that our class was sitting in what was supposed to be the visiting band bleachers in the end zone (the visiting band sat in the regular stands). When I got out there, at first it seemed like everyone had changed, but then after a few minutes, it was like a trip back in time, since I was back to sitting with a lot of the same people I used to sit near at football games back in school. Most of us were in the band back then, and that meant we always sat with the band during the games. I still can't seem to help getting butterflies in my stomach when halftime approaches, even though it's been twenty years since I had to march. I must say, it's a lot more comfortable watching a September game in a tank top than in a wool band uniform, though.

I should point out that I was not a "band geek." I may have been a geek in a lot of ways, but being in band wasn't one of those ways. We didn't really have the "band geek" stereotype at my school. Band was the cool thing to do. Almost everyone was in the band, including most of the "popular" crowd. Out of about 500 people in the student body, we had about 180 people in band. We marched about 150 during football season because we had a lot of football players and cheerleaders in the band. There were some football seasons when the main attraction at the games wasn't the game itself but rather the halftime show. Our band ruled (and still does). Literally. We never got lower than a first-division rating, won just about anything we entered, and we were state honor band my senior year, a tradition they're apparently continuing.

Back to the reunion ... our main event was a Saturday-afternoon barbecue at a bed-and-breakfast ranch. The kids got to take wagon rides (pulled by a team of Clydesdales) and play with the pet donkey while the adults hung out and talked. There was a lot of swapping stories about crazy things people did in high school. As a rather notorious goody-goody and as a teacher's kid, I generally wasn't included in anything truly crazy. I guess it says a lot about my high school years that there were a lot more stories being told about my dad (who was a really popular teacher) than there were about me. At the same time, there also wasn't anything really embarrassing being said about me, either. I don't feel like I have much to live down from those days, other than maybe some unfortunate hair and clothing choices, but it was the 80s, so there was a lot of that going around. I ended up spending a good amount of time hanging around with people I didn't know that well in high school, so in a weird sort of way, I managed to make new friends at a reunion. I don't know if we would have been friends back then if we'd connected, or if it had more to do with where we are in our lives now.

That night, we all got together for a casual adults-only gathering at the home of one of our classmates, where we just hung around and chatted. That was when I was really feeling the blast from the past. Jokes and stories that were told brought up things I'd long since forgotten, but as soon as they were mentioned, I was right back there. We all agreed that we wanted to do better about keeping in touch and took up a collection to maintain the class web site on an ongoing basis. I found out that a few of my classmates live in my general area, and we talked about trying to get together sometime. I'm really bad about letting "sometime" become "never," but I'm going to make an effort here, I think. I've found some pictures from the reunion (as well as a group "before" picture) that I may have to post when I get them cropped a bit and uploaded to my web space for hosting.

For now, though, I have a book to finish. My voice is raspy from so much talking over the weekend, and I'm starting to recover from all the late nights and early mornings. I managed to talk myself out of going grocery shopping, as I have enough food to live on for a little while and I don't really want to go out. It's a nice day, so I'll be taking a notebook outside for some book brainstorming.

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