SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Column: Humor

We've got spirit, we've got soul, 77, we got old!



July 11, 2017
Tuesday PM

Ketchikan, Alaska -
Recently I spent some time with a group of really old people, the Ketchikan High School Class of 1977. It was our fortieth high school reunion. Naturally, I have some thoughts about that.

jpg  Dave Kiffer

Good evening fellow old people, also known as the Ketchikan High School class of 77. 

Of course at 58, more or less, I could say we are middle aged. But who am I kidding?  We aren’t at the middle of anything, except the buffet line.  In fact, if we were in the Middle Ages we would already be long gone.

Anyway, some of us still have spirit, a few of us still have our souls, but 2027 that’s our (new) goal!

It seems like just yesterday it was 1977 and we were stumbling over each other down the aisles of the old Kayhi auditorium in the dark, trying to remember which foot to put forward at which beat to the melody of “Pomp and Circumstance.”

Come to think of it, it might have actually been yesterday. These days, my short-term memory is about as hazy as a rainy day in Ketchikan, and just about as common. Which graduating class is this?

Oh yes, 1977. My class. I know that because my diploma says 1977. I am actually looking at it right now. I keep it with me at all times. It’s important to have a clue who you are in today’s world.

Some very important Ketchikan people signed it, so it must be true.  Look at these names. Charles Lowery, R.E. Steckl, Alaire Stanton, Ann Graham. Wow, I think those are all my Facebook friends.

 Speaking of those folks, I have a confession to make. I still can’t call my former teachers and others by their first names. Of course when I see them and call them “Mr” or “Mrs.” They always correct me and say something like “Don’t call me Mrs. Miller, call me Margot.”

And then I go, “okay Mar, Mar, Mmmmmmmm, Mmmmrrrsss Miller!”

But, as usual, I digress.

Anyway, 1977, That was a long time ago. I remember thinking during my senior year that when the year 2000 rolled around we would all be 41 years old. That seemed really, really, really ancient at the time. Older than some of our parents. Older than dirt. Prehistoric even.

Now, 41 feels like a long ago, far away time when our knees still worked and we could still read at least some of the fine print. Speaking of which, I guess we all missed the fine print that stated we wouldn’t always be 18, at least physically.

 Although I suspect at least of a few of you – you know who you are – have been partying the last few days like it is indeed 1977 and you don’t have to get up and go to work in the morning.

And some of you don’t. 

I’m not sure which is worse. That people MY AGE are grandparents or that people MY AGE are retired.  But the real point is that we are all still here. That is a certainly a surprise for some of us!

A lot has happened in 40 years.

Our eight track tapes have become worthless and then valuable again on EBAY. 
Our favorite cars no longer have huge engines, they have huge price tags and their electric engines make no sound. 

Worst of all, our favorite beers, Rainier and Oly seem to fallen off the face of the earth. Who knew we would live long enough to see stores with more varieties of chai tea than beer. 

Speaking of which, which one of you goof balls took my gluten-free pale ale?

I guess it is a shock we survived at all, after we graduated.

We didn’t all have computers or smart phones with us 24/7, giving us our coordinates and telling us where to step next.

And we certainly weren’t locked in a relentless communications death spiral with our friends/family through our IPhones and our Facebook pages. 

I was trying to remember what I used to do with my time before I texted and answered texts all day long. Fortunately, I can’t remember if I used it wisely or not. Sort of like sophomore year.

Of course, Ketchikan has also changed in the past 40 years. Those of us who live here don’t see it as much as those of you who pop in and out for reunions.

The last reunion, 2007, someone actually asked me where all the bars had gone. I tried to explain they had morphed into jewelry stores. And that Creek Street had gone from a history of loose women to a present of loose diamonds

And rather than actually working in the woods, many of us now make a living taking Outsiders into the “wilderness.”

Of course, all these tours that are so popular now are merely the modern variation of the wilderness experiences that we all used to engage in when we wandered into the woods to be alone with our teenaged vices.

You all remember driving to the ends of dirt roads to get a little “privacy?”

We were just “touring” a little ahead of the game. What goes around comes around.

But fear not, the only constant is change, even in Ketchikan.

Of course, now we have the possibility of the jewelry stores transitioning into pot and paraphernalia shops. Shades of the Beachcomber and the Wherehouse of Music, eh?

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy your dinner tonight, especially those that haven’t eaten anything in the last six months in order to get back to the size you were at the 30th reunion. 

Some of us, of course, have grown in the other direction. I am happy to report, though, that I can still get into the same sized socks I wore in high school.

Speaking of which, you may have noticed that I did NOT spend any time sprucing up my hair. I thought about it, but since I am in the upper one tenth of one percent of hair retention for the Class of 77, I decided to keep it growing so I could donate it later to my less fortunate classmates for their weaves!

And I am pretty sure that I will continue to do so when we reconvene for our 50th reunion in 2027.

What will have happened by then?

What changes will we shocked by?

What other body parts will have stopped working and been replaced by titanium?

Will we be mostly robotic by then?

Will those new parts be rust proof or at least Gore Tex?

One thing we do know. No matter how much the climate changes it will still be raining. It is Ketchikan.

So remember, We’ve got spirit, we’ve got soul, 2027, that’s our (next) goal.



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Historical Feature Stories by Dave Kiffer


Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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