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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (June 26, 1997)
Ten-year high school reunion
offers glimpses into past, present
School is hell, sex is heaven. We’re the class of ’87!
On the heels of class reunion flicks “Grosse Pointe Blank” and
“Romy and Michelle’s Class Reunion,” I myself attended my 10-year
Lincoln Northeast high school reunion over the past weekend, foregoing
other more entertaining options, such as Haymarket Heydays, Husker
Hoops competition, or having Laurence Olivier give me a root canal.
(Film buffs take note on that last comment...)
I didn’t pre-register for this glorious event. Perhaps it was a subcon
scious desire to not go, maybe it was just procrastination, or just the idea
of paying 15 bucks to hang out at a bar with a bunch of people I barely
knew a decade ago that kept me from sending the registration in.
Still, Friday night came, and I was sweltering in the back party room
at Barry’s (the A/C was supposedly broken), exchanging stories and
who’s-got-the-firmer-handshakes with my former classmates. I had my
name tag on, and like everyone else, I was staring at breasts-and-chests,
trying to catch a glimpse of a name or a familiar face to say hello to.
It was... interesting, to say the least.
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cliques, and memorable people, and while some had changed, others
were still the same.
Many of us had grown thicker in one way or another. Some around
the belly, some had lost the pipe cleaner physique and a few had even bal
looned out. For some reason, it was easier to recognize the women than
the men, possibly because they weren’t always huddled around the bar.
Most everyone was married, and usually to someone from our
. school, if not our own graduating class. One couple I remember as being
like cobra-and-mongoose ten years ago, but are now happily married
with two children and a third on the way.
Also on my mind was what to say about what I have accomplished
over the last ten years. Most of these people were already on the interstate
of life with the cruise control on, and I’m still stuck back on an off-ramp
behind a ’73 Pinto.
Does this mean it’s time to lie? Absolutely not. Time to have some
fun? Quite possibly.
By the end of the evening, I convinced two or three people I was a pet
psychiatrist, and I think at least one person believes I do work for the
DEA. I think my biggest surprise was when a couple people didn’t
believe I work as a volunteer Christian youth camp counselor, which is
actually true! (Evidently, back in high school, I was known as the
Emperor of Smut, probably for my steadfast arguments and views on
censorship and adult films.)
I continued to mill around, listening in on conversations and desper
ately trying to find someone I was actually looking forward to talking
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Finally ran into a couple of old chums, and they hadn’t changed one
iota. Steve was still a quiet beanpole who carried a very sardonic sense of
humor, and Brenda, who still as lovely and sarcastic as ever. She always
had a strong personality in high school, and it had only gotten stronger.
We both quickly got our 10-year summaries out of the way and went on
to making fun of other people at the reunion.
Before long, it was last call, and we took that as a time to leave, but
most of us would be attending the semi-formal dinner/dance the next
evening, yours truly included.
Yep. Hit that one too. At least, I started to, then changed my mind.
I walked in to the grand ballroom at the Ramada, complete with smi
ley-face tie, and looked around the room.
It was a well-dressed high school cafeteria. All the groups had sepa
rated to their different tables by clique and whatever. It’s not like I didn’t
expect it, but it was just like a blatant slap in the face to wake me up.
No matter how hard you may try, friendships always remain the same.
So I did just that.
I went and spent time with my friends. The friends I made after high
school and continue to see today.
Life is hell and also is heaven. This is 1997.
Beltz is a senior English Education major and is features editor
for the Daily Nebraskan Summer Edition.
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Starving (for) artists
Society should appreciate, encourage creative spirits
I’ve been chanting this mantra in my
head for over ten years now, ever since
that momentous day that I decided I
wanted to write for a Living. The path has
changed a little, and I’m more than a little
eager to try my hands at some other
things along with way (I play guitar, dab
ble in computer art & graphic design,
etc.) but I’m still an artist.
No matter what anyone tells you, no
matter what they want to do, if you want
to be an artist, by all means go for it.
It’s a tough life, I won’t lie. You’ll be
pressured to produce something that
inspires people, if you’re a writer, artist or
musician, or to draw emotions from peo
ple, if you’re an actor, dancer or singer. It
does not come easy.
Support has been cut out over the past
few years in the schools. Art classes are
being seen as “wasting children’s time.” I
once heard a parent say that kids “should
be focusing on the more important things
in life, not wasting their on foolish draw
ings and telling stories.”
This breaks my heart.
I know the rat race. My parents are
part of it, and my grandparents before
them. Just about everyone in my family is
involved in the rat race. My uncle, the
most artistic member of our family other
than myself, says he’s going to write the
great American novel... someday. He’s
in advertising right now. My father
lamented to me, once, late at night, that
he often wondered what would have hap
pened if he had chased his dream and
gone to Broadway. He wanted to be a
I will not join the rat race willingly.
It’s unfortunate, but I may have to, but
they won’t take me without a fight. If I go,
I’ll be kicking and screaming, striving to
get loose the entire time. I may have to
pay the bills, but just because I does does
n’t mean I’m going to give up.
I’d actually drifted from my art until
recently. I moved into a new apartment,
starting working a steady job for the sum
mer and was busy with other things. Then
I sat down to write this column and I
thought about it. Am I reneging on my
promise? Will I go gently into that dark
night? Is the rat race going to overwhelm
me and am I going to be stuck in a job I
hate for the rest of my life?
Have I forgotten my art?
In writing this column, I look at
myself, hold up a mirror and see that I am
a hypocrite.I am forgetting that an artist
who produces nothing - is nothing. An
artist creates. It is the essence of an artist.
See, what those parents don’t under
stand, and what those cutting funding
from the schools don’t understand and
what maybe a lot of America doesn’t
understand is that art is what makes life
worth living. Artists are the people who
produce the movies we go watch, who
write the songs we sing, who paint the
pictures we marvel at, who tell the stories
that live with us forever.
And if we don’t have our artists, then
we don’t have anything at all.
Artists create because they need to,
they have to, they’re driven to. There’s
been a story that’s been floating around in
my head for over three years now. I think
it would make a pretty good novel. You’ll
have to excuse me, I’m going to go get
started. My story won’t change the world,
but then again, I wonder if Shakespeare
knew how many people would know the
words “To be or not to be, that is the ques
tion. ...” So who knows...
Hicks is a junior news-editorial and
English major and a Daily Nebraskan
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