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Column: High school memories ‘stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive’

By Tammy Malgesini

Staff Writer

Published on August 28, 2018 6:15PM


I finally decided to attend my 40-year high school reunion.

I’ve been hesitant because it’s a long drive to Coos Bay and gas is a far cry from the 63 cents a gallon it was in 1978. Also, it’s nearly impossible to take time off in the newsroom during Round-Up week.

A couple of years ago, I inquired about time off around my wedding anniversary, which also falls during Round-Up week. I think editor Daniel Wattenburger thought I was kidding. In retrospect, a September wedding wasn’t the best idea — John was studying to be a teacher and would always be back in school when our anniversary rolled around — and who knew “Let’er Buck” would compete with “I do” in the years to come?

But I digress — the class reunion committee used much forethought in planning for our stroll down memory lane. Last August, organizers urged fellow Pirates to “save the date” for the weekend of Sept. 14-16, 2018. Evidently, not everyone in the Marshfield High School class of 1978 are procrastinators.

When I finally embraced my inner Pirate and decided I would attend, I went all-in. I offered to do a stand-up comedy routine before the band plays. In preparation, I’ve been immersing myself with all things from the late-1970s.

From foods to fashion — I’ve been recalling the nightmares that were bell bottoms, hip huggers and platform shoes. And, who would name a line of formal/semi-formal wear Gunne Sax? Heavy-duty burlap bags don’t sound very fancy. Although, I admit to wearing a Gunne Sax wedding dress.

The Saturday night gathering is at a sports bar — so I’m sure the drinks will be flowing. I wonder if they’ll serve Boone’s Farm, Annie Green Springs or T.J. Swann — remember Easy Nights, Mellow Days and Stepping Out? According to a quick Google search, they were popular back in the day due to their “inexpensive price and great taste.” Seriously — bottom shelf wines with the lovely screw top — no thanks!

Recently, my husband has been spinning some old records — songs I listened to in my high school days. While disco was popular with the release of “Saturday Night Fever,” I preferred the likes of Billy Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young,” Bob Seger’s “Night Moves,” Queen’s “We are the Champions” and “Hotel California” by the Eagles.

Speaking of hotel, the event is being held the same weekend as the Bay Area Fun Festival and the 39th annual Steve Prefontaine Run. Rooms are booking up fast, but my mom and pops still reside in Coos Bay — in the very house that I lived in my last few years of high school. Luckily, my old bedroom no longer features dreadful wallpaper. It was quite obnoxious with yellow, orange and pink smiley faces everywhere.

I enjoyed my high school days, but wouldn’t want to go back to things like minimum wage at $2.30 an hour, a basic Montgomery Wards microwave oven for just under $500 and disco topping the music charts. As for the memories, thanks to the Bee Gees, they are “stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive, ah, ha, ha, ha.”

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Tammy Malgesini is the community editor. Her column, Inside my Shoes, includes general musings about life. Contact her at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539.



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