Sunday, October 7, 2018

We still didn't look the same

Well, it was Saturday, 9-22-2018...the second day of the Dowling Catholic High School (West Des Moines, IA) Class of 1973's 45th reunion.

It started out with a golf outing put together by classmate Mike Chenchar.

But not for me. (I'm not a golfer at all. My younger brother is.)

Instead of trying to embarrass myself at eighteen holes, I had my heart set on going bowling with my younger brother Mike and my thirteen-year-old nephew Jordan (my younger brother's and younger sister-in-law's son). 

Last year, our favorite Des Moines-area bowling center, Plaza Lanes, burned down due to an electrical fire.

So, this time, we got together at Air Lanes (4200 Fleur Dr., Des Moines, IA 50321; 515 285-8632).

I'd never been to Air Lanes before...despite the fact that the bowling center opened in the late 1960s, at a time when I was finishing my growing-up years right there in America's Raccoon River City.

You know how at most bowling centers here in America, the large-screen TVs show you sports events in between the scores the customers are rolling up?

Well, at Air Lanes, in between the scores its customers are racking up, you get music videos.

That's cool, too!

On 9-22-2018, Air Lanes became the very first place where I ever won a game in a family bowling outing...and it came down to the very last ball Mike B. rolled in the third and final game.

Speaking of firsts...all the time I was a Dowling student, I'd never gone to a "mixer." 

Well, back in June, when classmate (and former varsity cheerleader) Joni Hockins Edwards sent me the letter announcing the 45th get-together, I not only said "Yes!" to the invitation, I decided I was going to, at long last, get to that "mixer." 

The reunion's "mixer" took place at another Des Moines landmark, Christopher's (a restaurant at 2816 Beaver Ave., 50310; 515 274-3694).

Jeff Gass and I arrived at Christopher's party room just before 6:00 PM, the "mixer's" start time. Already, a good-sized crowd had gotten seated, awaiting the chance to eat the great food the Saturday-night event promised...while some hits from the 1970s poured out of the stereo speakers in the party room. 

I was able to recognize Dwayne Carter, Chris Adams, Rick Vasquez, Paul Koester, Ann Gladfelder Lawson, Rick Benson, Meg Tibbetts Williams, Bill Lawson, Tom Naughton, Paul Duwelius, Mark Cooper, Ron Gray, and Dan Mueller from the night before at Fire Creek Grill in West Des Moines.

But the Christopher's get-together attracted some classmates I didn't see (or don't remember seeing) at Fire Creek: John Nesbit...Kelly O'Brien (I ran track alongside him)...Mary Manning Bracken (she works for Iowa Public Television; she and I took photography our senior year)...Mary Gallo Eckerman...and two classmates who go back to the eighth grade with me: John Duffy and Greg Murray.

It was fun, fun, fun being able to reminisce (as well as being able to dish on what we've been doing since 1973)...and Jim Gould (he's now a priest in Virginia),
Sue Boesen, Jim Conway (ran track alongside him, too), Cecelia Kirvin (a classmate from senior-year business math), Molly Maloney (she was a varsity cheerleader), and Joni herself came in to the party room to join in on the fun. 

The food was, according to the reunion brochure, supposed to be "heavy hors d'oeuvres."

It turned out to be one heck of a spread instead.

Besides the hors d'oeuvres, Christopher's offered a veggie tray, two kinds of pizza, meatballs, and four kinds of well as your choice of alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks.

Among other things.

And then- among the other things- there was the table full of yearbooks and old newspapers in the tap room. 

Some of us- especially John N., David Craven, Julie Russell Craven, and I- just got lost in the yearbooks and old Des Moines Register copies. 

Matter of fact, it got to the point where those of us who'd turned the tap room into a library were the last ones to leave Christoper's. was off to the bar at Christopher's, where we watched Iowa blow a 17-14 fourth-quarter lead and end up coughing up a 28-17 decision to Wisconsin.

That bar's also where I caught back up with CeCe Lynch...and caught up with Larry Quijano. (Larry and CeCe run their own eatery, too. It's Quijano's Bar and Grill, at 1930 S.E. 6th St., 50315; 515 243-9595.)

Not long after the Wisconsin-Iowa football game came to an end, it was time for me to go back to the hotel (EconoLodge Inn and Suites on Merle Hay Rd.)...and time for me to get ready to do something else I hadn't done in ages.

I'll let you know what that was when I come back.