Pack Up, Class of 1994 – You’re Retiring in Arborg

It’s an idyllic thought.

The other night, retirement came up when I was messaging a friend. I giggled when I went to bed.

Because wouldn’t it be awesome if the entire Class of 1994 returned to our small town Manitoba roots to retire? Back to the Town of Arborg?

So, I propose, when we’re all cool, badass, 60-year olds we converge home. To the town we knew as the Village of Arborg.

Class of 1994 – we’d go for coffee at Chicken Chef. Just the 38 of us. Every day at three o’clock. Like the countless coffee crews before us.
twkgrad11Only our coffee will be spiked. With Baileys. Or Peppermint Schnapps. Because we’re rebels. Rebels who know who the designated drivers are – the same ones from high school. Rebels who own awesome mid-life crisis Corvettes and motorcycles. Rebels who are gluten intolerant with too many allergies to fit on our medic alert bracelets.

We’d go to socials for kids who – at the time of this blog – are in elementary school. And we’d freak them out with a flash mob of the Macarena. No music. Just show up and dance. Then sashay, bathroom right.

We’d go to Three Mile, Beer Alley, and the Maze, and make a fire in a CSA approved pit. Drink Shiraz and eat gluten-free granola bars while listening to Dance Mix ’92 and ’93, but not ’94. It wasn’t that great. We’d spin The Tragically Hip, Bryan Adams, and Nirvana on a duct-taped CD player – and convince someone to leave the hatch of their Nissan Crossover open. Almost like old times.

Instead of talking about crushes or having drunk fights, we’d whip out photos of our grandchildren or great-nieces and nephews and argue about politics.

On Halloween, we’d meet in town and go trick or treating. Dressed as two cardboard feet, Jason Voorhees, Catwoman, Scarlett O’Hara – and to throw people off – a payphone telephone. And we’d trade candy. Swap my sugar-free, lactose-free chocolate bar for your soy-free licorice.
c60b32f879ba236750eca4e9f1f562daAt Christmas, we’d gift exchanges. The days of the “10 nail polishes for $10” are O-V-A. But forget grown up gifts. We’d exchange the ones we never received from Santa. Such as the Snoopy Sno Cone Maker, Easy Bake Oven, and the Hot Wheels Garage. Or those CDs Santa deemed lyrically explicit. So, here it is in the coolest, newest music format.

The anniversary of our grad would be a massive celebration. With fireworks. And gluten-free, paleo, vegan-friendly cake. With an annual montage documenting our shenanigans. From the age of five to 60, and beyond.

Because we’re aging together – and still looking awesome. After all, we survived the decade where hairspray held up skyscrapers and makeup was applied with a spatula.

Eventually, we’d take over the personal care home. Imagine. The entire class of 1994. In the personal care home.

Racing wheelchairs. Blowing spitballs. Shaving off people’s eyebrows when they’ve fallen asleep. Plugging bathtub drains with towels – and getting a six of Pepto Bismol and watching the water cascade into the hallway.
We’d huddle in the common room with our sleeping bags and yearbooks to reminisce. Parties, air band contests, dances. Car accidents, skiing accidents. That protest, that gas leak, that near miss.

But, one morning we’d wake up and learn someone didn’t. It’d hit us. We couldn’t stay an idyllic group of 38 forever.

But we’d have 37 people to lean on, who remember when the class of 1994 mattered more than anything. And the only fight at the memorial would be who’d do the eulogy. We’d go to the Arborg Hotel after their service, because as a member of the class of 1994, they’d want us to tip back a beverage. And we’d feel a little less empty.

Despite the fact we’d know 37 becomes 36. Or that one day we’d be down to two. A rock, paper, scissors contest no one wants to win.

We’d know in the end, though, it was idyllic.

Because we had 1994.