|Logo for the Proviso East High School Pirates mascot|
|My high school Alma Mater in Maywood, IL|
Proviso ended up losing the contest against Morton, 28 to 14, but we had fun cheering and visiting in the stands. I knew there was going to be a gathering and I wanted to go, but waited until the last minute to decide I was actually going. When I got a couple of calls asking if I would be there, I quickly threw a few things in a bag and jumped in the Focus. I made the 7+ hour trip on Friday and arrived on Saturday morning after a motel stop in Janesville, WI.
Saturday morning I had breakfast at a place I hadn't eaten in since probably 1967, the Harlo Grill. I lived less than a block from Harlo. In the early days, my Mom would give me a dollar and I would get a hamburger, fries and a chocolate malt and have change. Harlo opened its doors in 1953. I would get to eat lunch "out" about once a month. I always went to the Harlo Grill.
|Harlo Grill on North Avenue in Melrose Park, IL|
The breakfast was so-so, for sure not as big and hearty as I remembered, but the place looked the same. I enjoyed the nostalgic return to my old neighborhood and just walking into the place brought back a flood of memories of my childhood as I lived in Melrose Park pretty much since I was two years old. I didn't leave until I got drafted in 1968.
From Harlo Grill, I cruised where I lived and where I went to elementary school. I went to the cemetery to see the new headstones that were placed for my Mom and Dad. My Mom passed this past year. Dad has been gone for quite some time. I said hello to their spirits and snapped a picture of their markers.
An old friend called, a fellow I have known since third grade. We met for lunch at a place of his choosing and talked for a couple of hours. I probably hadn't seen Marc since high school. It was a grand visit as we rekindled our friendship. After that, I fought traffic and made my way to my Alma Mater, Proviso East High School, home of the Pirates.
I navigated my way to the grandstands and looked for my friends. It was then that I saw Kathy, the great ring leader and organizer, standing and waving at me. I climbed up the stands and was greeted by a cheer. I just couldn't believe where I was and what I was doing and who I was with. A little overwhelmed, I settled in and started talking non-stop with people I remembered, remembered me or didn't remember except for their name.
|Some friends I met at the Homecoming game. The people here might look a little old, but we were all young at heart this particular Saturday afternoon|
|Proviso East High School Marching Band, 2009|
During my drive, my cell phone rang and it was Kathy, the school chum that planned the small impromptu gathering. She wanted to know if I had a good time. I gave her a resounding thumbs up and thanked her. The next morning when I got home, I found a message on my Facebook page from Kathy and some new "Friend" requests from my old classmates. All in all a very nice weekend and some memories galvanized in my mind. Next time they get together might be some time away, but I plan on being there. I wonder why I waited so long to get involved, but that's no matter. I found that even if it was just a few of the 900 plus in our graduating class, I was remembered, and I remembered them. We are all aging together and still laughing at ourselves from an era long ago.
Overall, I had a great time of it. I have never attended a reunion of any kind. I was delighted to be asked to attend and honored to be back amongst folks I attended high school with from what seems like a very long time ago.