2008 Reunion/Party

The year is 2006 and Kim and I are living in Camas, WA. 2 or 3 times a year we would get together with Jim and Karen Dolan. During one of our visits, Jim said “we need to have a party and get some of the old gang back together!” So I got in touch with Mark Sanders and told him that the four of us were going to be in Grass Valley on a certain date. I asked him if we could have a little party at his house with some of our old friends. Mark of course said yes, so I sent out about 14 invitations.

I sent an invitation to Steve Sanders, but I was pretty sure he would not come, because he lived in Utah. To my surprise when Kim and I got to Mark’s house, Steve came out and greeted us at our car! I was shocked but happy that he made the trip out to Grass Valley from Utah! We had a good turnout, 10 guys and most of the spouses showed up! There was lots of good food, but the best part was catching up with everyone! So many old stories were being shared from our past. Some of the stories had me laughing so hard I had tears running down my face! Everyone had an excellent time!

Not to long after the party, we got together again.  “That was so much fun” declared Jim, let’s do it again, but on a much bigger scale!” So we came up with a date and a place. We also decided to invite everyone who was from the Grass Valley Ward Congregation that went to Nevada Union High School between 1970 and 1980. The date we picked was June 8th 2008, and that was about 18 months out. We decided that the first of June 2007 we would start organizing the Reunion/Party.

The first of June came, and I called Jim and said it was time to start planning the party! He told me they weren’t going to be able to help with the planning of the party, because he was so busy at work, and he and Karen were in the middle of planning a wedding for their daughter. I was really bummed, I wasn’t sure if I could plan this on my own. Kim believed I could do it, and she offered to help me when she could. So I said let’s do this!

First thing I did was make a list of everyone I could remember, and then upon sending it to the Dolan’s, they added more names to it. Now I had this list of people that was a mile long, and I didn’t know where 95% of them were. I did have a few addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.  At this time I worked the Graveyard shift at Oregon Health & Science University. So after work I would go home and work from 8 AM to Noon sending letters, emails and making phone calls. I slowly started getting addresses and after working on this for five months, I had addresses for almost everyone. I was still missing addresses for about 20 people. I had no idea how I was going to find these 20 people. I got an email from Greg Tierney telling me to call his mom; that she would find the 20 people. So I called Sister Tierney, and she was thrilled to help me. After two weeks she had addresses for 18 of the 20 people. We never did find those last two.

During this time I was sending a message to everyone to send me pictures of their High School days, their wedding, and any photos of their church friends. I wanted to put the Photos on a DVD with music. We got enough Photos to do a 45 minute DVD, which I thought was the right amount of time. So Kim and I put together a 45 minute DVD, and after finishing it, we received a big envelope full of photos!

Now let’s go to the making of the DVD! I bought some pinnacle software to create the DVD, and it was harder to use then we thought. Kim ran the computer, and I sat next to her telling her what Photos to use, where to fade in and out, where to start the music and where to end it. We worked on this for about 4 months. Apparently I got too excited when Kim was trying to work with the software and some of the presentation would suddenly disappear.  I would ask “Why did you do that!” Kim would get so irritated with me that she kicked me out of the office about 10 different times.

The software was really hard to work with, and when we finished the 45 minute DVD, we were both relieved and then the envelope of photos showed up. There were lots of good pictures that we could use. So we decided to add them in to the DVD, and this added an extra 3 or 4 weeks to the task! Now the DVD was about 65 minutes, way longer then we wanted, but there was no way we were going to change it!

After the DVD, in the program, I wanted to hand out awards. Little trophy’s and ribbons for things like “The couple with the most kids, and some silly things like; “The person with the most receded hair”! I needed an MC, someone that could keep everyone entertained. I thought about this for a long time, and one day Evelyn Whitaker Porter popped into my head.  I thought she would be perfect! When I got in touch with her, she didn’t want to do it at first, but after a time, I persuaded her to do it!

After the awards, we wanted live music by the Sanders Brothers. But these same Sanders Brothers threw a wrench into my already planned party! They told me I also needed to get Steamer back together and play 6 or 7 songs. This I did not want to do. I had not played my drums in 28 years, plus Dean our Bass player had passed away. Mad Markus Sanders offered to play Bass in his place! Then there was my brother Stan and John DeLuca, I knew there was no way the two of them would want to play. Those Pesky Sanders brothers kept bugging me about it; so I got the nerve up to call Stan and John, and to my surprise they both said yes!

Kim and I had all the food worked out! I had gotten some good prices from Crystal Dairy and Albertsons. We wanted to have everyone make their own sandwiches! Kim and I were bringing our big food slicer, and we had a crew of people that were going to help us prep all the food. We assigned 15 couples to bring a pie. My mom Jean Cummins and my Aunt Betty Scurr offered to help. Aunt Betty made a large punch bowl of Macaroni Salad, and my mom made a large punch bowl of Potato Salad! Plus I had a crew for setting everything up and a crew to take everything down!

It was the first week of May and I had this huge party all planned out and ready to go! Then my wife Kim had 4 grand mal seizures, and my life completely fell apart. She was in the hospital for a week, and when she was able to come home the doctors didn’t want her to travel to California. I called Jim and Karen and told them I’m probably not going to the party. I was worried about everything, the food mostly and everything else to do with the party. Jim told me he would take care of everything and not to worry. Two weeks before the party Kim’s doctor told her she could go to California! I called the Dolan’s again and told them we were going to the party. Jim said that’s great! But he was taking care of the food. He said, “Kim is coming to the party and will do nothing but enjoy the party!”

June 6th Kim and I loaded our car up, Joel was letting me use his drum set, but he said he didn’t have any cymbals or stands. So I grabbed my cymbals, stands, bass drum pedal, sticks and our luggage, and we were off to California!

June 7th Kim and I were relaxing visiting with my parents, when the phone rang and my mom handed it to me. It was the Lady whom I called six months before, to reserve the building. When I reserved the building, it was for the whole day. She told me they were having a funeral in the building the same day as the party. She said they didn’t want anybody from our party at the building until they were done in the late afternoon. I started to freak out and I went a little postal on this poor lady, because I had a bunch of people coming at 4 PM to start setting everything up! Then she told me she would call me back in an hour. For that 60 minutes I was pretty upset, I even had my mom and Kim telling me to calm down. Boy was I relieved when she called me back and said the funeral would be over at 2 PM.

That evening I drove to Mad Markus Sanders house where Steamer was having their one and only practice! We set everything up and Stan and John said they only wanted to play five songs. So we picked the five songs we wanted to play. John showed Mark what the cords were to each song, then we played the five songs for the first time. When we finished the songs they looked at me, and I said that was awful! “Let’s go thru the five songs again” said Stan, so we played them a second time. They looked at me, and I thought that it was a little better, but it was still pretty bad. “Let’s go thru them again” Stan said, so we played them a third time. This time everything started coming together, I started remembering things I use to play in each of the songs, the vocals came together, and the guitar parts were sounding really good! After we had finished the songs, they looked at me, and I said “that sounded much better. It looks like we are playing tomorrow night!!”

June 8th that morning Kim and I went down to Auburn for Jon Sanders’ open house. It was because he had moved his business “Big Jon’s Little Tractors” from Highway 49 to a site right off of I-80. He had Reps there from the Companies he sold Tractors for, and most important, there was food! “Let’s take one of the quads out for a ride” said Joel, so we took off out into the woods! After a while Joel stopped, and asked if I wanted to drive, so I took the controls and down this trail we went. As we went Joel pointed to a large mound of dirt. I gunned it and we flew over the mound, all four wheels off the ground! And during this whole flight, Joel yelled “Woe Woe Woe!” After the jump I stopped and looked at Joel, I believe he was in shock! “Let’s go back to Jon’s place so I can change my shorts!” He said.  Let’s just say Joel never allows me to drive anymore!

Then Kim and I went to Kim’s parents’ house where we visited. We lost track of time, and we still had a bunch of errands to run. So we did our errands, picked up the two salads at my mom’s house, picked up Karen Dolan at the hotel, and off to the church we went! We got there 15 minutes late, but they had already set all the tables and chairs outside for the dinner and in the gym for the program afterwards!

There was still lots to do! I had people asking me questions, pulling me over here then someone pulling me over there! I was trying to help get the band set up, while trying to get the PA to work, and figure out which tables to place the food on. There were people wanting to know if such and such a person was coming! Things were a little crazy for a while, and I began to become nervous because Jim Dolan was not there with the main course of the dinner!

Dan Gillming and Joel where trying to set the projector up for the DVD; they had the Video working, but there was no sound. They were a little stumped, wondering why there was no sound. Then Eric Zufelt walked over to the wall where the sound system controls were, flipped on the switch, and we had sound!

 “There’s a bat in the hallway” someone yelled. So for the next five minutes we worked at getting the bat to fly out the door! We pretty much had everything set up and ready to go, but there was still no Jim with the food??? Just then Jim and two boys rushed into the gym with trays of food! The trays had sandwiches already made up, and I knew we had gone way over budget. At that point I didn’t really care about the money. The food was there and we were ready to start, so I started to relax a little.

A lot of people had arrived, and we were able to start the party right on time at 6 PM! It was hard for me to eat my meal, I was walking from table to table with a sandwich in my hand, visiting with everybody! There were so many people who wanted to visit with me, that I got a little over whelm. So I walked over to an area where there were no people, and I was able to relax a little. I just stared at all the people that showed up, and I thought WOW this is really happening!

We had a time table we had to go by so right at 7 PM, Me and two other guys got everyone to go into the gym! Dan Gillming started the DVD and the theme of it was “Where Did the Time Go”. Even though it was a little long everyone really enjoyed it! After the DVD Evelyn grabbed the Microphone and started the awards part of the evening! She got together with Jim beforehand and decided which people they would give the awards to! Evelyn did a great job, lots of smiles on everyone’s faces. Next up was Steamer! I was a little nervous about playing, but when we started playing the nervous part went away. I was having fun playing our music once again! I think we played pretty good, everybody seemed to like it. There was one little problem during one of the songs. We were in the middle of a song, and the snares on the snare drum dropped down and all I had was a tom-tom sound and while playing, I was trying to get the snares to pop back up! Then Joel comes running through the gym, he reached up and got the snares to pop back up!

Next up were The Sanders Brothers! They started playing and everyone was dancing. Now I hate dancing, but I was standing there listening to the music and Connie Loewenstein DeAngelo grabbed me and dragged me to the dance floor saying let’s dance! The band played for about an hour and then people started leaving.

Soon the people assigned to help with the take down got busy cleaning. A lot of people helped with the set-up, take-down and cleaning, but there was one couple that was there for both, Arlen and Sue Smith. They were so awesome! We were the last two couples to leave the building and that was at midnight.

When we were finished and ready to go home I was handed a jar full of money. Without my knowledge Jim Dolan had placed it on a table with a sign asking people to donate money to help cover the cost of the party.

I took it to my mom’s house. The next day I sat down and figured out all the expenses, counted the money form the jar, and to my surprise I was $80.00 short from breaking even. I was tickled pink, this made me very happy!

This Reunion/Party was a lot of work! But after seeing everybody at the party, and saw how much fun they had. I feel it was well worth it! I look back at it as one of my fondest memories, and I am so happy we pulled it off!