Pirate pride — 40 years in the making

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Tammy Malgesini, back center, is pictured with several classmates from Marshfield High School during their 40-year reunion, held Sept. 14-16 in Coos Bay.

I recently returned after embarking on a round-trip encompassing more than 800 miles and 40 years.

Even after getting Round-Up week off, I almost didn’t go to my 40-year high school reunion. I woke up the morning of Sept. 12 with a hitch in my giddy-up.

With my back aching, I just couldn’t see climbing behind the wheel of my Jeep and driving more than seven hours to visit with people I hadn’t seen since my 20-year reunion. However, the tides of Coos Bay were pulling me to my high school home. After soaking in a hot bath, I leisurely packed throughout the day.

The next morning, I zipped up my suitcases and rolled them down the stairs. While preparing for trips in recent years, the bags flying down in a heap has become a sort of tradition. It gets them closer to the door with less effort.

The commotion always gains the attention of the General, my 6-year-old German shepherd. From that point on, he’s my shadow — longing to know if he’s going to be riding shotgun.

One of the benefits of going to Coos Bay was getting to visit with my folks. My mom dotes on me and my pops refuses to let me pay for anything. Also, my mom loves playing gram-mama to the General, feeding him all kinds of treats — and he eats it up.

My husband — AKA Johnny Crocker — continues to endear himself with my parents. Even though he didn’t come on the trip, John sent several of his culinary creations. Dozens of cookies and two pies sufficiently covered morning, afternoon and midnight snacks.

I proudly donned the purple and gold colors of Marshfield High School before heading to the Friday night mixer. I recognized a number of faces, including Kathy, my graduation walking partner; Sally, who doesn’t remember imbibing during “Dimer Nights” when I visited her at Oregon State University; and Marcia, who recently came out as a transgender woman.

A couple of standouts — literally, they were like the Twin Towers — were Dean, a Harvard-trained retired Air Force colonel, looking quite stately; and Les, who, well, was just hot. I got a kink in my neck when talking to them, but it was worth every twinge of pain.

While catching up with fellow Pirates, I made observations to incorporate into my stand-up comedy routine for Saturday night’s gathering. It fueled a “Remember When” set, including taking note of Randy’s diminished hairline, Roger’s former profession in the mortuary business, Ernie’s booming radio voice and Marcia being a shoo-in for “most changed.”

The continuing camaraderie of the class of 1978 was amazing. After my stand-up set, Pam and Julie asked for a moment of silence for Jo, who couldn’t attend because her son was in a horrible wreck a few days before. Brian called the gesture “beautiful.” And, it was.

BJ, who served on the reunion committee, summed it up, “This reunion was everything I wanted it to be. Everyone embracing each other with love, hugs and friendship. No, cliques or drama. Just a lot of respect.”

#onceapiratealwaysapirate

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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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