Tag Archives: Waukegan

Reuniting . . . and It Feels So Good

The serious look wasn’t attractive for me as a high school senior.

I attended my 40th high school reunion last Saturday night . . . why does that make it sound like I’m ancient? Calling it the fourth anniversary of my 10-year reunion does take the sting out of it, I’ll admit.

I had been to almost all my previous Waukegan High School Class of 1971 get-togethers, so I pretty much knew what to expect. This time we met at a country club in Waukegan, which is north of Chicago. As I was driving my mom’s Honda Civic there, I was wondering who would show up. Maybe someone I hadn’t seen for awhile? Lots of our 800 alums have been missing in action over the years.

Wendy, Sue, and I pose at our reunion. (Photo snapped by Ruth)

Oh, I knew I’d have fun talking and reminiscing with my good friends Wendy (who I dubbed “Wendolph” way back when, because I thought Wendy was too short of a name), Sue, Gloria, and Ruth (my buddy since sixth grade). And I figured I’d be marveling at how Judi and Mary Kay looked like they walked right out of high school . . . they’ve hardly changed a bit!

In fact, for the most part the gals all looked really good, while the guys were showing their age. It was nice to see that most of the women, like me, weren’t dying their hair and were embracing their grayness. Or are they just cheap like me?

One fellow alum I was wishing would show up was Laura S., who I’d met freshman year in homeroom and instantly liked. She hadn’t been to a reunion before, and I really wanted to catch up with what’s been going on in her life since, oh, high school graduation.

Guess who decided to finally make a reunion appearance? Laura! She was one of the first alums I saw when I walked in, and it was great hearing about her life in San Diego. Just like it was wonderful reconnecting with everyone else I talked to, both the women and the men.

When we sat down to talk and remember, the gals and I reminisced about former teachers (especially those who taught P.E.) and favorite classes. Oh, the laughter! But what I thought was neat was how much we all loved raising our kids and how much we miss being so involved with their lives, a universal theme among my pals.

Well, they were the ones missing all the hoopla, because they all have older kids. In fact, Gloria’s oldest grandchild is only two years younger than my #2 son! I was pretty sure that I had the youngest child from a first marriage.

I wish the Internet and Facebook had been around in the early 1970s; it’s so much easier now to stay in touch by being online. But even with those tools, it’s always fun to get together every now and then and enjoy recalling the good, old days with cherished friends.

Let It Snow . . . For Real!

Snow in my backyard. (Nikon 105mm lens)

I’ve been thoroughly distracted all morning. But it’s hard to blame me—it’s actually snowing here in the Houston area! And that’s a mighty rare occurrence.

Snow falling past the front of my house.

My sons, at ages 14 and 17, have only seen snow twice in their lives. So this is really a treat; I hope they’re able to see the snow out the window at their high school.

Snow and palm trees . . . an odd combination!

Of course, growing up in the Chicago area means that I’ve witnessed enough snow to last a lifetime! It’s fun seeing the fluffy, big flakes that are falling right now, but that’s all I want to see. No long-lasting, dirty snow that’s covering up ice for me!

Snow and a swimming pool—also an odd combination!

Some of my mom friends have been wondering whether the schools will close early due to the snow. It makes me laugh, because where I went to high school in Waukegan, Illinois, they prided themselves on never closing the schools. Even when we had a foot of snow!

The snow sticks to the grass.

It’s nice to see the snow actually sticking to the ground, but I don’t think we’ll have much of an accumulation. Which will disappoint the #2 son. The last time we had snow, he was able to build a snowman (Snowbo the Hobo, he named it). He shielded Snowbo from the sun and made it last almost a week! I’m sure he’d like to do that again, as well as have a snowball fight with his older brother.

The snow starts to accumulate on the plants.

I just hope that it’s still snowing by the time he gets home from school at 3 p.m.!

Happiest of Birthdays to My Mom

Me (age 7), my mom, and my sister Helene (age 8)

My mom turns 80 years old today! Eighty years is a long time . . . a lot has happened since 1929 (my mom was a stock market crash baby), both in the world and to my mother.

My mom in 1970

Through it all, my mom married my dad twice (secretly in October of 1948 and “officially” in May of 1949), bore four kids by the age of 26 and raised them (not an axe murderer among us, I’m proud to say), took care of my dad when he had leukemia until he died, married my stepfather Earl, and took care of him when he had lymphoma until he died.

My mom in 1975

Mom learned to drive when she was 36 years old. We had moved from Chicago where she didn’t need a car north to Waukegan, which had little public transportation. She finally went back to work when my baby brother, the big-shot Chicago lawyer, was eight years old. She did without for many years so that we could have new clothes.

Mom walks in Chicago last Saturday.

When I look at my beautiful mom, I don’t see an 80-year-old woman. Instead I see kindness and warmth in a person who is as energetic as someone half her age. Her life is filled with volunteerism. She teaches English as a second language, delivers Meals on Wheels, helps out at a local nursing home, and is active in her synagogue.

Mom reluctantly lets me take her photo.

My mom is an inspiration to me and my sons. She remains young at heart with an appreciation of what every day brings. She says that any years after age 75 are a bonus.

Mom and her twin sister Goldie flank a dolphin friend while on a cruise.

Mom is especially lucky, because she gets to share her special day with her twin sister Goldie. Happy birthday today to both of you! Hope you have many, many more. Love ya lots!!

The Many Facets of a High School Homecoming Football Game

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Our football players stream out of the mouth of a huge, inflatable bulldog (our school mascot).

When I think back to my high school’s Homecoming football games, I must admit I kind of draw a blank. Oh, I remember the pregame parade down Waukegan’s main street, and I seem to recall the downtown businesses’ windows being decorated. But as for the games? I got nothing. Could be because we had a bad football team!

Homecoming for my sons’ high school was last Saturday. Because we don’t live in a small town with only one high school, there aren’t any pregame parades. But we do have our share of traditions, which, like a diamond, has many facets.

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Homecoming queen and king: Audrey and Alex

Our pregame activity featured the crowning of the Homecoming queen and king who would reign at that evening’s dance. They were Audrey, who is currently ranked #3 in my #1 son’s class and the band’s drum major, and Alex, who is an orchestra kid. Both seem like great role models.

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Some of the seniors stand together.

The seniors had to be contemplating this penultimate football contest. There would only be two chances left to win a game this season.

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Instruments up at kickoff!

The band was ready to cheer on the football team musically.

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The Angels' pom poms are waving.

Our dance team, the Angels, had their pom poms in the air.

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Flipping for our team!

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Still flipping!

The cheerleaders were head over heels about leading cheers.

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Michael, Reid, Cody, and Hunter

The freshman fans (who did not include the #2 son, who was disc golfing) were all smiles. Well, except for tough guy Hunter. Could that be because he knew I was cutting off part of his head?

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Kevin makes a flying tackle.

And then there was the action on the field. Even though we were playing an opponent that already had qualified for our district and the state playoffs, our team kept the game close.

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Victor hauls in a pass for a big gain.

At one point we even were ahead, thanks to great catches like this one by Victor.

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Taylor W. gets the pass off before getting clobbered.

Our sophomore quarterback, Taylor W., had the offense on the move.

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Coach L high-fives Zak after a fumble recovery.

The defense also was playing mighty tough.

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Both bands combine for an electric halftime show.

Some of the highlights photographically for me included, first, the halftime show when I was able to capture my “third son,” Chase, playing his bass clarinet. Our band joined with our opponents’ to put on an electric performance that featured a tribute to Michael Jackson.

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Taylor J. puts the hurt on the opposing ballcarrier.

Second, I had set my goal to take lots of photos of a couple seniors whose moms are my friends. Taylor J. had an outstanding game! I was able to capture a series of shots of him tackling a ballcarrier.

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Eric is ready to block.

I especially wanted to get some great shots of Eric, because he helped the #1 son get a 97 on his catapult in Physics. Photographic payback time!

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Victor tries to outjump the defender for a potential winning touchdown pass.

Like that diamond, our high school Homecoming football game had a mixture of glimmering and flawed features. There were thrills and chills galore. But late in the game with our team behind 17-13 and less than a minute left, we discovered the final facet of that gem.

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The ball tumbles away out of bounds.

There has to be one winner and one loser. But even though our team had the smaller number on the scoreboard, we still walked away with our heads held high. Our last chance to win a game? Saturday night! Go, Dawgs!