To begin a post with a cliché is, well, cliché. But I wasn't called “Cheesy Josh” in college for nothing (in high school it was “biggest mooch”, so I guess it’s an improvement). But after this year’s Brat Reunion, I’m reminded of one of the well-known lines from the St. Crispin's Day Speech of Shakespeare's Henry V – here comes the cliché – “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers”.
Some history, before I begin...I grew up in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. I lived there from ’83 to ’91, almost ten years. From 7 to 16. The formative years, they’re called. It’s probably the last place on earth you would ever think of wanting to grow up. Looking back, though, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. There wasn’t a whole lot to do there, really. So if you wanted to have any fun, you had to find your friends and make your own. And that’s what we did. I don’t think there’s any group of kids who could do it better. And that’s what makes living in Saudi such a memorable and life-shaping experience: the people. The people.
There’s a bond, a special relationship that we all share. You can feel it when you’re with everyone. We’re unique, and we all know it. We lived the same experiences, we saw the same things, were taught by the same teachers, went to the same parties, danced to the same music, have the same horrible prom pictures with shiny cummerbunds and bad, bad hair.
But 20 years later at the reunions, when you see these people you haven’t seen in what feels like a lifetime, the curtain falls away, and you remember. The memories come flooding back. Bottle rocket rocket launchers, running from Security, the Sid that melted those white, wax-coated paper cups (and then you drank it), developing a hard, leather-like covering on the soles of your feet from running through your front lawns so much, meeting in the park to smoke a cigarette, 3rd St. pool, “chicken-shawarma-only-meat”, jumping off the dune at Half-Moon Bay, then having to climb all the way back up. Everyone has their own special memories, but there’s an element that’s shared in all of them – the people.
Here’s to the people who made living where we lived such a remarkable and memorable experience. Here’s to the people that make the reunions happen and so bring us all together (thank God it’s only once every two years). Here’s to the people that come to the reunions and make them such a mind-blowingly, ridiculously good time. Here’s to you.