Reunion -Recollections Chapter 1 }, 5th Year Reunion, “Animal House”.



Our first High school reunion was held at the SPJST Lodge PokRok, in Timbergrove, an area where some of our most esteemed Alumni hailed from. The turnout was tremendous and our DJ was local Weatherman and Radio Host, Lee Jolly. The evening went well until digressing into a food fight, fed by ample ammunition from the deli and fruit trays we brought in. My last memory of the evening was a whole pineapple being hurled from one corner of the dance floor, the really nice wooden dance floor so carefully maintained by the Lodge staff, and it kicking up a spray as it slid across, through “the mud and the blood and the beer“. The terrifying prospect that this image conjured up, was that of me showing up on Monday, innocently asking for the couple of hundred dollars of Class money held by the Hall for as deposit.

It was a worrisome thought all weekend and trepidation was the prevailing mood that Monday morning, as I did not EVEN relish the thought traipsing up through the Lodge doors and to the business office that bright, beautiful Summer’s morn.

But, fear not, I did indeed summon my wherewithal and proceeded to march forward and face my fears.

I initially spoke with the nicest elderly matron who in the sweetest manner, inquired if our function went as planned and if we enjoyed ourselves and had a good time. She then thanked us for the business and was in the process of handing over the check when she noticed the attached note.

It read, “ please have that fat, bald-headed, mustachioed S.O.B. come see me before deposit is refunded”, or something to that effect.

I was escorted into a small office occupied by a Nazi-esque type individual, who as evidenced by his crimson countenance and the steam venting out of one ear, was experiencing an elevation in blood pressure. A condition evidently still lingering from his witnessing the conditions left from our apres-event orgy of flung food and spit and spewed beverage.

I was lectured in no uncertain terms on how young ladies and gentleman should and should not behave and how absolutely no group from the hallowed halls of S.P. Waltrip Sr. High School would EVER be allowed on that sacred ground again ---------- FOR THE REST OF ETERNITY!

The deposit check in question was incredibly handed over and I was unceremoniously ushered off the premises by same previously saintly women who had suddenly turned into a Bourbon Street Bouncer.And yes boys and girls there is something to be learned here:


Know up front the long-term responsibilities of running for office and ………. Find out up front, HOW MUCH THE JOB PAYS!

Gary Champ



Reunion ’83 / Alicia Storms the Party


Ten years out of high school and our first class reunion at a hotel ballroom, complete with dinner service and live band, what work, and what the hell were we thinking!

We were in our early stages of career development, baby making and facing formidable family and financial responsibilities. These ancient days, before the internet, required elaborate, extensive and exhaustive efforts attempting to make contact with our matriculates. Members of our Reunion Committee accepted long lists of contact information consisting mainly of parent’s home phone numbers. Many listings required numerous dialing’s which oftentimes resulted uncomfortable conversations and even confrontations. I don’t know how many times I’ve been told to leave someone alone. It has been passed on that if a particular party in question did not want to socialize with a certain rambunctious faction in high school, why the hell would they pay to do so at this point. I was told this in no uncertain terms, just before the last reunion. Your group of social solicitors have more than once been taken off guard by relative’s revelations of deceased or incarcerated classmates, yet it’s all in a day’s work for your committed Reunion Committee!

Everything solidified successfully and excitement ran high as time drew nigh for upcoming gala affair. As this was the “Urban Cowboy” timeframe, a booking agent was procured and crackerjack country rock band was booked. The group even sported a Waltrip connection with one of its band members.

All had nicely fallen into place, what could go wrong?

Well this being Houston, and this being hurricane season, a small storm christened Alicia, decided to crash our party.

The storm struck on Monday night, the week of our planned Saturday night bacchanalia, and we awoke to a city ravaged by a violent Lady and her spawned spirals of destruction. Band upon band of high wind and rain, along with myriad twisters had felled countless trees and high-lines. The Bayou City lay devastated and much of the outlying areas lacked power; and oh yeah, we had a reunion planned for the weekend.

Monday and Tuesday, we all commiserated in the chaos, made do and coped as best we could. We hoped for the best regarding a restoration of power and a quick return to normalcy. The weekend approached and God knew that we surely, by that time, would be in dire need to release a little steam, take solace in the support of our Classmates and knock down a few brewskies.

Come Wednesday, it was time to reach out to the Hotel for input as to what was their take on things regarding regaining power; the bone chilling response was not one that anyone wants to hear when a planned event in is question. We have no earthly idea was the reply!

What to do, what would Jesus do, what would Willy do, what would Mrs. Gale do, what about my new hair-do! It was a sobering circumstance, a truly vexing scenario for your Reunion Committee. The Debate began, cancel immediately, negate months of blood sweat and tears arranging this thing and reschedule, or ride it out for a couple of days and rely on good ol’ H L & P to come to the rescue. We waited!

Come Thursday, the City continued to cope in a quandary of uncleared roadways, debilitating debris and countless communities still lacking electricity. An initially enthusiastic mid-day call to the Hotel brought only bad news pertaining to power. There was absolutely no word on when things would be restored to normalcy. The opposite of being electrocuted had happened to the Class of “73, we had been un-electrified!

We all were assigned pages of names and took to the telephones in an attempt to contact the masses. We had Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday to make out calls, and we were actually quite successful.     BUTT!

Saturday reunion time approached, we knew some classmates had not been contacted and a point person was required to be at the hotel to inform our brethren of the event cancellation. Which as it turned out, was the right move, only partial power was restored which meant no A.C.. It was agreed that the task required a patient person with an easy going nature. Someone who could calm and commiserate with those who had ponderously prettied themselves and looked forward to a night of revelry and were going to be disappointed, at the least.

Ten or fewer, probably showed up that night and they were understandably upset. One problem partier could not let it go that he was not notified. On and on he went, bemoaning the situation. I believe that he even, at one point, demanded that the Class pay for his white tuxedo. Needless to say, we did not, and he did get over it.

The rescheduled reunion posed its own set of problems. Your Reunion Committee decided to move forward quickly. The big night was scheduled just a couple of months out. Utilizing a booking agent, we were told that normally all the “good bands” would be unavailable on such short notice, BUTT, rest assured, the perfect group just happened to be available.

A demo cassette of “Earl Epps and the Sound of Country” was expeditiously dispatched. I remember commenting that ol’ Earl’s playlist was good BUTT the recording was inferior and the tape seemed to be dragging. The female booking agent once again assured that all was well and that Earl was definitely “our man”. This ladies and gentlemen was not the first, or the last time, that a woman has lied to me!

The Reunion was fun, a good time was had by all, but no matter how many beverages were consumed, “The Sound of Country” was just not quite up to par.

It seems that there really was no problem with the cassette recording. The tape did not drag, it was just good ol’ Earl’s slow Texas twang that was the issue.

Alicia be damned, we still had fun!    

 Gary Champ



High School High


Time to tell the tale of my old school.

From days of old when we knew we were cool!

Strutting the halls and professing to know

All about everything, talk about having seeds to sow!

The Place and the Jailhouse were right-on places to hang

Saturnalia, Masque and Mountain, their songs we all sang.

When out on the floor we’d try to groove with the beat

With no clue to the rhythm, I’d best take a seat.

The girls sure look anxious, might I ask one to dance?

Surveying the scenery, did I spy a slight glance.

Get out there, be forward, many times I was told

I bet she won’t want to, I sure wish I were bold.

There it is, a killer, a true kick-ass song

Dang, she’s already dancing, I’ve waited too long.

Oh well what’s new, another night of frustration

Let’s go check out Jack In The Box and head home, it’s called maturation.

Monday morning, get up, let’s see, what’s to wear?

Got to get gussied up, but pretend I don’t care.

I’ll listen in class, but homework, no way!

We were assigned a project, you say do today!

Head to the office, to see Carruthers or Gayle

It sure would be easy to bust that door and then bail!

Thank goodness for gym and to carouse with the throng

When balls and sports are involved it seems like nothing is wrong

Was dodgeball addicting, I loved the quick pace

Let’s target that loudmouth, I’ll splatter his face!

Through all types of games, we made tons of pals

Take guard of your backside and those rolled up towels

Let’s plan for the weekend, how will we get beer?

Is there a party to go to, I hope we soon hear

A chaotic conundrum, a hovel of hoodlums in heat

A congregation of cohorts looking for girls we can meet

Trash can punch was common, a strong spirit for sure

It destroyed many a brain cell, but for shyness, a cure

With grades not quite super, but with a desire for more knowledge

I hope things work out and I’ll be accepted for college

Southwest Texas State seemed just right and what a fabulous river

A great education ensued, but it was bad for my liver

The hallowed halls of high learning were beneficial for me

But through the scholarly haze, it was just hard to see

Now progressing through life with the lessons I’ve learned

It’s easy to see that there were pages unturned

Trials, tribulations and tough times I’ve sure had

Growing up with my Classmates, has made me a pretty good Dad

Hopefully, children will know, not to do as their father

They will come for advice, we won’t think it’s a bother

And as those that we know, their numbers they dwindle

Let’s work to see our old buds and relationships rekindle

As those that we know become fewer each day

Let’s remember how we are blessed in so many ways

Here’s hoping that our lives continue with zest

We’ve all gone through plenty, but it’s sure been the best!


Gary Champ



Barbara Biondolillo (Simmang)

Can't think of specific at the moment, just have many good memories of our Waltrip years & the long & special friendships that remain strong. One thing I don't think I'll ever forget from orientation receiving the info packet with cover stating "in like a lamb, out like a ram"!!

Debbie Blakely (Oller)

Peanuts in Dr. Pepper.
Ice cream at the Galleria.
Real mums at homecoming guaranteeing allergy flare up.

Gary Champ

Our Class is so large, that it is amazing, even still, getting to know Reunion and Mixer attendees that

we did not get a chance to connect with at Waltrip.

Sterling Dickson

Riding the Ram Mascot down the hallway (school Spirit got me detention)

Tom Hardin

Was new to the area so did not know many of my classmates. The friends that I had were terrific.

Michael Long

Going to jail on prom night

Robert Mahnke

After we knew we graduated I drove my '63 SS Impala & David DeVries drove his VW Bug around the track @ school. Coaches came running out chasing us away.

Hal McCurdy

I ran track , sang in the choir.

Mike McDaniel

Hanging out with friends

David Nowak

All three years were great, what an eye opener coming out of the Catholic school System. Where did these people come from, took me years to almost recover.

Donna Payne

Ask Kim Bowman. She remembers everything I don't about our past. (But I think she makes up a  lot of it).

Twila Pirkle (Cooper)

I remember the counselor discussing my career options. She said, "Well women don't make much money. You can either be a teacher or a nurse." (She excluded secretary because I couldn't spell or type.) I remember thinking that I didn't want to be any of these things- Too funny-look at me now!

Gregg Reese

Boy that's been a while. I was part of the Inwood Forest bunch including Mike Mitcham, Jeff Webb, Jon McMahon, Tommy Sisk and Blake Johnson. We all went to Waltrip on transfers to get the hell out of Aldine HS.

I remember smoking a lot of pot back then, going to a lot of rock concerts and playing Linus in "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown".

Vicki Wilkins (Herzog)

Totally committed to choir @ Waltrip.(Now...just need to be committed ....ha ha.)

Nina Wood (Daniel)

Was so ready to get out of school. If I had to do it all over again, I would that it all at a slower pace and enjoy being young.

Mark Young

I tell a story about Tommy Graves who helped bring me out of my shell. It's a great story. You'll have to ask me about it.