GOOD TIMES, GOOD NOSTALGIA: My 30th High School Reunion (Can You Believe That?!)

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The Greek Ampitheatre at Santa Monica (CA) High School, where the Class of 1985 wore their caps and gowns and recieved their diplomas on June 21 of that year.

 

MY RECONNECTION WITH THE PEOPLE WHO I SPENT MY FORMATIVE YEARS WITH

 

I reckon it’s always a little bit trippy to see people who you go back decades with,

Who you once played Little League with,

Or played kickball and handball during recess with,

Or had sleepovers with,

Or took pop quizzes in Algebra with,

As full-fledged adults after those days are long gone.

Before I go any further, let me make one thing crystal clear:

As far as social nuances and level of popularity were concerned, my career as a member of Santa Monica High School’s Class of 1985 was arguably the worst of all time, no doubt due to my having the part of the Autism Spectrum Disorder called Asperger’s Syndrome, which because of its main characteristic of negatively affecting social interaction – and which I knew nothing about until 1996, over ten years after graduation – more or less doomed me as far as being thought of as “cool” in the eyes of too many of my fellow classmates.

And which doomed me to being largely shunned between 1982 and 1985 as I did and said inappropriate things that induces a bit of post-traumatic stress today.

So the fact that none of that seemed to matter when I attended my 30th reunion of Samohi’s (take the first two letters of Santa, Monica, and High) class of ’85 this past weekend;

That I had a very good time saying hello, reconnecting, and catching up with people whom in some cases I met in 1976, when I was a goofy Aspie kid with quite the unruly afro, moving from a place where roosters crowed every morning, where the nearest neighbor was at least half a mile away, and where I fed calves – yes it was a rural area,

To a place where, well…let’s just say that it was an 180-degree level difference from where I came from, making it as a kid with ASD extremely difficult to adjust socially,

That is truly saying something.

Particularly since this two-night soiree was held at Brennan’s, a local pub, and the Riviera Country Club in Beverly Hills-ish Pacific Palisades, which happened to be the site of the 1985 Samohi Prom and, unfortunately, held more bad memories for me as my date that May night was of the fixed-up kind who evidently saw me as a Steve Urkel on a pronounced scale, she gave off such a vibe of “Oh Lord, just let me get through this night with this goofy mark!”

But that was neither here nor there as several things went through my mind as I was glad-handing and hugging people, finding out what they were up to and telling them what I was up to:

 

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My favorite image of the town that the Class of ’85 grew up and attend high school in, as viewed from the Santa Monica Pier. Nice skyline, huh?

 

1.  After checking out the views of the golf course that is home to the annual Northern Trust Open, where Tiger Woods has played in and which big names like Arnold Palmer has won, I understood completely why the reunion organizers chose Riviera Country Club as our site.

The place was absolutely gorgeous!

And well worth the money I paid to attend the big shin-dig.

 

2.  Much like our 25th reunion five years before, everyone looked great!

Youthful in a haven’t-changed-a-bit kind of way.

I was telling people how I had attended an all-class reunion that Samohi was having back in the mid-1990s, and when I saw the folks that had graduated thirty and forty years before in the 1950s and 60s, the main thoughts I had (with all due respect) were “Gee, they look so old,” and “Is that what we’re going to look like when we reach that age?”

For too many of those 50s grads in particular, it seemed to me like they were on their way to a Lawrence Welk concert in Branson, MO; and this was in 1995!

I was happy to see that regarding that second thought above, the one about whether or not we ’85 people would look similarly at the thirty-year mark, the answer was an emphatic “No!”

I felt a sense of pride that we apparently took care of ourselves and our health, having a better knowledge of how to do so than previous generations.

And speaking of health…

 

3.  I was especially glad that I was able to go, because…

Back in October, I had a stroke scare, complete with an extreme pressure headache and numbness in my right hand that sent me to the emergency room, where I found out that my weight was way too high and my blood pressure and cholesterol levels were off the charts, to the extent where the doctors were quite concerned.

As was I; to be frank, I was scared.

Scared that I may not be around for any kind of reunions anymore.

That fear caused me to go on an exercise, medication, and nutrition program that I’m continuing to this day and beyond.

So I guess one can imagine how pleased I was to be at that country club and chat with former cheerleaders, class officers, athletes, and musicians like I (sort of) was, my main activity in those days being a member of the Samohi Marching Band.

And lastly…

 

4.  As I learned what my fellow class of 85ers were up to and what they had accomplished in the thirty years since we were handed our diplomas, what I heard induced more pride in me as we all turned out fine with enjoyable lives.

Of course it goes without saying that much credit and thanks goes to the ladies who spent so much time organizing the two get togethers; booking the places, arranging the meals, contacting hard-to-find classmates, making the name tags.

If I had the financial ability, I would have paid them a good sum of money because they so deserved it.

And it also goes without saying that I had quite the fun time seeing so many people who I knew so well in the time of Disco (and “Disco Sucks!”), New Wave, (VERY early) Madonna, Michael Jackson (RIP), Prince, Ronald Reagan’s Revolution, and everything else that went with that 70s and 80s era.

As for the next reunion, whenever that may be…

I hope I’m around to see it, and I hope everyone else in Samohi’s Class of 1985 is, too.

 

 

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Barnum Hall, Samohi’s Auditorium, an iconic landmark in Santa Monica located right on campus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Top Reason Why The Confederate Flag Should Not Be Displayed

 

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The flag of South Carolina, a good substitute for the Confederate flag in this post as I absolutely refuse to EVER display those “Stars and Bars” ANYWHERE in this blog of mine

 

I will try to make this as concise as I can.

I understand that those people who see that red flag with the blue cross and eleven stars signaling those states that made up the Confederacy as a symbol of their proud (to them) Southern heritage and not as a symbol of hate and bigotry not only to the four million blacks of African descent that suffered in bondage in that region, but to over 30 million African-Americans today, are upset at the recent events that saw South Carolina governor Nikki Haley signing a bill banning that flag in public places.

As well as the groundswell in other Southern states to remove that banner.

However, what those right-wingers don’t understand – or refuse to do so or even acknowledge – is this:

On top of the notion that the Confederate flag is a sign of racist hate and oppression (which to me is and always has been) and everything else…

THAT CONFEDERATE FLAG IS A FLAG OF TREASON.

It was used as the predominate symbol in what remains the worst attack against the United States in its history, a four-year war that saw over 600,000 people die in order for a group of Americans in the Southern part of the country to try to assert their right to see other Americans as less than human because of the color of their skin.

And to keep them as slaves in order to continue, in their minds, “the natural order of things”.

These Southerners were so passionate about that so-called “natural order” they followed the precedent set by men like Judas Iscariot and Benedict Arnold in order to keep their “way of life”.

I cannot put it any other way, nor is there any need for any more elaboration – The Confederate flag is a symbol of treason.

And to let that symbol freely fly would be akin to Germany removing its ban on a flag used in that country seventy-five and eighty years ago as their symbol to murder 12 million Europeans; six million of them being Jewish, plus six million others such as Slavs, Gypsies, Homosexuals, and anyone else who didn’t fit their image of what a person should be like and look like.

Or dared to question them and their ways.

Notice that I didn’t use the name of that group as much like those Southern Stars and Bars, that name and that flag will NEVER, EVER be shown on this blog/site.

I won’t go on any longer, except to state this:

For Governor Haley and all those other folks in South Carolina who made doing away with that flag a reality, I have one simple word for you…

BRAVO!

And to all those who want show their heritage and pride in where they came from, try displaying and flying this flag; it’s a really good one which you should have no problem with:

 

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MY OFFICIAL ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY POST

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I’ve always liked scenic photos, as they give me a “wide open spaces” feeling that I enjoy. Hope you like this one…

 

COMMEMORATING ONE YEAR OF THIS BLOG

 

It would be an absolute crime to not mark this occasion as exactly one year ago today, I started this personal blog of mine.

The reason why I started this blog and why it exists?

Simple – after posting articles and personal thoughts and opinions for websites such as Triond.com and Hubpages.com for the previous six years, I wanted to have my own site where I can write in any way or style I wanted.

In short, I wanted my independence, to not be under anyone or to have to answer to anyone.

Which I suppose is what tons of other folks ultimately want in any endeavor or career they are partaking in.

So far, I have to say that The Hartland Chronicles has been relatively successful in that quite a few people have chosen to follow me and what I say, which I am grateful for; I’m glad it hasn’t been a case of no one reading my stuff at all.

It’s also evolved after 67 posts (counting this one) in the sense that with one exception, I stopped writing about sports in January, creating another site/blog for that called SoCal Sports Annals – you can click on the link to check it out – while leaving this site for non-sports stuff such as personal issues like my having Asperger’s and my experiences following God and other issues like race, politics, music, television, and health.

As well as giving periodic updates on the writing of my book, “MY ASPIE LIFE”.

Speaking of health, it’s safe to say that the biggest thing that has happened to me over the past twelve months was my stroke scare in October; October 18 to be precise.

That was the day I found out that my high blood pressure and cholesterol were off the charts, with my weight well over 300 pounds, and being that the side of my head felt like it was getting squeezed like an orange while my right hand felt like it was in a permanent slumber – which after a week grew to be quite scary – after spending roughly six hours in the emergency room I realized once and for all that I needed to get healthy.

Which led me to doing cardio on a near-daily basis and taking medication every day for the past eight and a half months and counting.

Which thankfully has paid off in that I have lost some weight and my blood pressure – as of the last time I had it checked a couple of weeks ago – being the lowest it has been in ages.

Not that I’m where I need to be, not by a long way, but as an evangelist that I watch on TV regularly says, “Thank God I’m not where I used to be!”

As for the future of this site, don’t worry; I’m not going anywhere.

I fully plan to continue writing about issues personal and otherwise whenever the urge hits me, at least a few times per month as I don’t want this blog to ever get stale with my latest post being two weeks old or older.

To be candid and honest, I need to write. I need to express my opinions and views and feelings, which I sometimes can’t do anywhere else but here.

Which is why this blog isn’t going anywhere.

I certainly thank God for giving me the inspiration to create a blog like this; I couldn’t do it, or anything else, without Him.

And with His help this blog will continue to grow.

As well as “MY ASPIE LIFE” being finished and (self) published.

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT TIME! A Few Thoughts Regarding Gay Marriage and Marriage Equality

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As someone who has been raised muticulturally and has been taught throughout his life to consider everyone as equal and deserving of equal rights, as well as deserving to be always treated fairly and with compassion…

My joy at the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding marriage equality is obvious as I reacted to the news with a big fat “YAY!” and a fist in the air.

And I am a heterosexual who considers himself a Christian who believes that Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins.

I know full well what the Bible says about homosexuality and what marriage should be, but here’s how I feel about it all and those right-wingers who are screaming in agony over the Supreme Court giving the green light for gays and lesbians to marry and (in states such as Texas and Mississippi) refusing to issue marriage licenses:

If two men or two women want to commit themselves in holy matrimony, that’s no one’s business but theirs and God’s.

I repeat, NO ONE’S BUSINESS.

I truly feel that people who are romantically attracted to other people of their gender should be able to marry just like people who are attracted to the opposite sex, as that’s part of what America is all about: Freedom.

And even if I felt otherwise, it is not my place – at all – to judge anyone.

Which means I would keep my mouth shut and let God handle things; as evangelist Joyce Meyer would say, “Let God be God.”

As a well-known Biblical quote – in Christ’s own words, no less – states:

“Judge not, that ye not be judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thy own eye?”  – Matthew 7:1-3

It seems to me that anyone who is still doing things like denying marriage licenses to gays or on the street shouting about how they’re going to hell is doing exactly what Jesus said not to do – judging.

It also seems to me that those far right-wingers seem to think that they are the ones without sin who are entitled to cast that first stone, as Jesus said to those who asked him if they should stone that adulteress, because to me that’s precisely what they are doing – casting stones at gays.

As such, make no mistake about it…

I am exceedingly glad that the homosexual population is now able to show their love in the same way as their heterosexual counterparts.

Being that the anniversary of America’s independence is in a few days from this writing, it was appropriate and fitting that the ruling, asserting America’s creed of equal rights for all of its citizens, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, creed, gender, and in this case sexual orientation, came down when it did.

I get the feeling that for all those same-sex couples with those newly minted marriage licenses who are about to head down the aisle, it’s going to be a great 4th of July.

I, in this article and on this blog,  certainly and wholeheartedly congratulate them and wish them all the success and happiness possible.

And you know what? I’m positive my (and our) Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is likewise happy for them and wishes them all the best.

After all, God is love.

 

 

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This image is from the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco, held just after the Supreme Court ruling giving same-sex marriages the big OK