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Storyteller brings humor to reunion program

Successful author and Park Rapids High School graduate Will Weaver holds up a TIME magazine the year of his graduating class. (Kevin Cederstrom/Enterprise)

 Will Weaver, Park Rapids High School Class of 1968 and successful author, entertained alumni as emcee of Sunday’s all school reunion program held at the school auditorium.  With his wit and polished storytelling ability Weaver led alumni along on a brief comical journey in moving the progam along.  “As we attend the reunion events and see those faces swimming into focus… or close to focus, our eyes go to that orange button and we look at the name, and more importantly, at the year of graduation,” Weaver said.  

He spoke about the importance of the class year with some holding more importance than others, noting there were graduates of 1930s and forward at the reunion. Arguments can be made some of those class years are more important than others, he noted. For example, while rummaging through some of his stuff he found a TIME magazine from 1968, “the year that shaped a generation”.  

A lot of serious stuff happened that year – the assassination of Martin Luther King, Robert F. Kennedy, the height of the Vietnam War, the Tet Offensive, also the height of the protest against the Vietnam War.  

“I’ve got to be honest, for me those events seem very far away. They seem like a different year, a different universe, because my orbit was right here,” he said. “It was Main Street, was Schmider’s, was the Dixie Drive-In, was east on 34 to our farm in the Dorset area, back around Fish Hook Lake. It’s what muscle car had recently been seen in town. Who was on the A team or the B team,” he continued.  “And certainly a lot of what Park Rapids has always been famous for - it’s beautiful girls. Yes guys, am I right? I just wanted to see if there’s still life in you fellas out there.”  Weaver acknowledged some class years have more of an iconic value with the history there. The 1940s were the WWII years. The 1950s were the baby boomer years, producing very important numbers. The 1960s were pivotal years in some ways. And 1976, the bicentennial year. “You guys had a great float in the parade,” he said.

In 1989 the Berlin Wall fell. Nothing in the 90s, he added. “Some years have more value to them in terms of their historical resonance, but I think things were pretty much the same for all of us in our orbit,” Weaver continued. “We had our friends, we had our families. We had our teachers, our coaches. As I look back it wasn’t what I learned but who I learned it from. We all had those teachers who were key in moving us forward. It’s great to be back to where we began.”  

Prior to introducing the other speakers and reminding them to keep it brief Weaver explained they’d be standing over a trap door, controlled remotely by Dave “Lefty Anderson” who could send them into a virtual reality where you relive all the really unpleasant things from high school, Weaver explained.  “That date with that really icky guy from Nevis. That time you missed the shot that would have beat Bemidji. Missed it! That costume party you went to in 9th grade that was not a costume party. You were the only one.”