Mega Band gets back together for Reunion Tour!
When discussing great bands from the 1970’s it is impossible to overlook those four young mopheads from a small seaside suburb that changed the course of history. Led by seasoned musicians, Chuck (The Kid) Fleming, Jim (The Itch) Hildebrand, Rip (The Chord) Gray, and Tim (Showbiz) Touhey, they became the sound-track of our lives and catapulted many of us to find new routes to class.
How the band began has spawned more rumor and mystery than Area 51. Legend has it, the seeds were sown when a classified ad was placed in the Lake Washington Enquirer, “WANTED: Extraterrestrial Trumpet, Trombone, and/or saxophone players to join other musically inclined aliens to conquer earth.”
But, when asked, they confess never remember meeting, just a bright white light.
By June 1977, the band embarked on their first U.S. tour. With 10 concerts in 5 different locations on campus plus
the Moss Bay Days Parade in just over two months, it was a brutal schedule made even tougher by an unprecedented level of mania. Fan, Karen Jones (Scheitlin) , who remembers being “surrounded by lots of girls, crying real tears, and so besides themselves. ", adding, "But, I think they were also waiting for the after-school bus that was late, and it was raining.” For the bandmates these live performances represented the absolute pinnacle of success. As Jim “The Itch” comments: "playing in a yellow no-parking zone to people walking by - after that you just think to yourself, man, what more is there!”
However, everything seemed to conspire against the group just as they were launched into international stardom. “Showbiz” Tim recalls, “We only had 8-track tape players in our cars, so that’s what we used to record our music. The popularity of cassettes caught us by surprise. Still can’t figure out why?!? I mean, 8-tracks are awesome! They never need to be rewound! They never end, they just go on-and-on-and-on-and…”
But, by the spring of 1978 cracks appeared in the once tightly unified band. We all remember the day the music died - it was graduation day - when “The Kid” turned to a Mr. Moeller and flatly said: “well that’s it, I’m not a Kang anymore’. Soon after the band scattered to the four winds to pursue their own interest, Classmates and teachers knew it, they had left the stage. it was the end of an era.
"Now, after a forty year absence, speculation has been growing of a reunion”, according to Senior Beat magazine. When asked to confirm, Rip “ The Chord” didn’t acknowledge nor deny the rumors, simply replying, “Hah! Wow…guys, Where the hell did all our hair go????”
Lake Washington High School Mascot Retires, Reflects Back on Distinguished Career
KIRKLAND, WA— Lake Washington High School Mascot Nick Elliot annouced today, “that after forty years, it’s come time for me to live without my purple suit. I am excited to spend more time hanging out with my mom and dad, explore some creative projects, and be open to the possibility of getting my GED".
Elliot, who in his Sophomore year had established himself as the go-to kangaroo, passing up the opportunity of the more fun and rewarding job as class clown, said, “If I could tell my younger self one thing, it would be to go with your gut and take a shot with following your dreams, because if you don’t, you’re always going to wonder what might have been.” Acknowledging, that he would have been "Big Bird" or "Barney the Dinosaur" if he had the chance to go back and do it all over again. Ironically, despite an influential career as the mascot, the 58-year-old always felt like a "loser' for not following his childhood dream.
When asked what motivated him, Elliot speculated, “Guess I was the only one willing to wear the suit”. Confessing, that when he was chosen to be the high school mascot he was too young and naive to grasp the full repercussions. “Look, sure I would have liked to be the Valedictorian and graduate with the class of ’78, that’s great and all. But, high school rewards people who follow the rules, not people who shake things up. Mascots don’t
follow rules.” So, after Elliot’s '78 senior year he returned to Lake Washington each fall. “I discovered , surprisingly, that wearing this kangaroo suit just allowed me to blend in”, then as he pondered philosophically, “It wasn’t easy seeing my classmates leave each year. But at least I stayed in school .... I didn't dropout.”
Kangs hold class reunion in Yoville. Couldn't believe how perfect everyone looked!
YOVILLE, FB - It came as no surprise after the success of the 30th reunion that everyone wanted to meet again as soon as they found their cars. But planning another reunion in just five years was no easy task, as recounted by classmate Megan Martin (Higdon). "We brainstormed and came up with some ideas. From air guitar karaoke to bungee bowling". However, while the committee pushed ahead to book The Eagles, it became apparent that they were low on cash. "Yeah, no matter what we thought up, somebody always remined us that we had only $14.32 leftover from the last reunion. Obviously, they should get a life and stop being such party-poopers", quipped Dinah Flegel (Fink). While this would derail most people, the '78 Kangs rose to the challenge. "First we panhandled off the I-405 exit 22, but kept getting yelled at by a guy named Gypsy for stealing his 'hummer dog'. Honestly, I have no idea what that even means!", relayed Pete Scheppe. "Yeah, I thought this begging gig would be easy, especially since that's how we all got dates in high school", said former class treasurer James Neir, "but, I guess things never change, it didn't work then and it still doesn't work now".
As the committee focused on which venue to host this once-in-a-lifetime event, the familiar names like Hyatt, Sheraton and Westin were quickly replaced by Motel 6, King Oscar, or Bob Couch's driveway. "We were getting desperate when someone mentioned a small town on Facebook named Yoville. Personally, I didn't believe this place eexisted. Heck, it's not even on the map. Strange how sheltered I had become living my whole life in the real world. As soon as I saw this town, it was like magic". said Eileen Vague (Forster)
The committee members quickly reached out to the Yoville community, taking part-time jobs at the widget factory, gambling at the casino, and socializing with the many locals. "We were worried that all the other high schools would book the venue before us", confessed Sandy Bearwood (Burke).
"However, we lucked out when our classmate Nancy Lynch (DeBruler), who apparently had 23 homes in Yoville, offered to let us use one of her enormous tree-house mansions for the party".
On the day of the big event, the atmosphere was electric, bustling with digital activity while the classmates all looked like they were a list of celebrity who's-who. "I'm always excited before reunions, but a little nervous, too.", mentioned Annette Kelso (Stephens). " There is one universal truth about reunions that everyone can agree on; You want to look amazing." While the mostly fifty-plus year old classmates still think and acted young, it was obvious by Facebook profile pictures that they coincidentally looked like their parents. But, this reunion was different. None of that mattered, as everyone was represented by an avatar of their own making. "It's the night of my dreams, so of course I look like a Disney Princess", bragged Janice Richkoff (Bangs), "just waiting to meet my Prince Charming".
"My avatar looks hot! It's looks just like me, except that in reality I have no hair, my eyes are dark sunken circles, I wear thick glasses and weigh fifty pounds more. Okay, honestly, my avatar looks WAY better than me in real life, but don't tell Donna Curtis till after the evening. I'm trying to get lucky", exclaimed Michael Smith.
In a self-absorbed moment, Trish Mahnken (Lindstrom) explained , "I was born a quiet child, and grew into a simple, thoughtful, and conscientious woman; however, that’s not going to stop me tonight from flirting with all these hunks. I made my avatar look just like Farrah Fawcett-Majors. It's like throwing raw meat into a wolf pack."
Lake Washington Class of '78 Modifies Reunion Invite from "Everyone is Welcome", to "Everyone, except Ralph Leavitt"
WASHINGTON - In a bold policy reversal, the Lake Washington High School
reunion committee has altered their invitation for the upcoming "Come Sail Away 30th Class Reunion", to exclude former classmate Ralph Leavitt.
According to the committee spokesperson, who requested not to be publicly identified, "it was apparent by the overwhelming barrage of emails from alumni that we needed to take quick action regarding Ralph Leavitt. When we began planning for this amazing event, our mission was to make sure no one felt intimidated regardless of where they were in life today. Hence, the Hawaiian dress code and real cheap ticket price. But, it became apparent that if we had to compare ourselves to Ralph Leavitt one more time, it was not going to be pretty"
To discover the motive for this landmark decision, we interviewed many former classmates. "Look, don't quote me, but I gotta tell you, Ralph could dunk a basketball better than both Tom Brennan and Chris Carlson combined", said former classmate Larry Fowler. "It was obvious by our first basketball practice that Ralph was so talented that the other four players wouldn't even be necessary on the court during games.", added Mike Gunder. "So, we told Ralph practices were at Ingelmoor High every forth Tuesday and games were on Sunday nights. Thank goodness he didn't figure out our deception until after the season was over."
Although the Lake Washington School district administration remains vague on Ralph's years at Lake Washington High School, it is clear that his classmates remember him all too well. "Yeah, I remember Ralph, he was the son of a local nuclear political rocket surgeon, and had an IQ of 1.3 million or something like that", recalled Jon Pugh. "He was so talented, we all hated him. If I had a dime for every time my parents said 'why can't you be more like Ralph', I would be as rich as Bill Gates".
However, not everyone remembers Ralph Leavitt. According to Ed Gardner, "I checked my annual and I can't find his name or picture anywhere. Of course, I can't remember going to any classes either. I hear there is a kegger at Scott Chapin's house Friday night, are you going?"
So where is Ralph now? Good friend Kevin Nooney told us, "I'm a big fan of Ralph's, and I have followed his life and career. I can still remember when he graduated from high school and enrolled in Harvard and Yale simultaneous on two full-ride academic/athletic scholarships. Then, later, peering through his window, I saw when he developed the first fully-functional prototype of the perpetual hydrogen-fission engine, then when he invented the internet with Al Gore, built a space shuttle in his garage, and patented bottled-water." Even former teachers were envious of Ralph, "anyone that says they do not remember Ralph is just repressing their memories. Look, we graded on a curve in my class, and if Ralph was in the class, even if you got a 98% on a test, it was only a "C". Ralph was that much better than the entire human race." , said Mr. 'Duke' Sorenson.
"All I can say is, I am pleased the reunion committee finally decided to exclude Ralph Leavitt.", exclaimed an excited Brian Reese. "Now, I plan to buy my reunion ticket and just feel good about who I am." A sentiment also echoed by Marcia Smith (Garcia),
"It will be nice to hang out with ordinary people and reminisce about high school without comparing myself to that damn Ralph Leavitt".
In a statement issued to the national press, the reunion committee spokespersons Kristen Krumm (Olsen) and
Dave Winter stated, "Fellow Kangs of the class of '78, we - and by 'we' we mean everyone except Ralph Leavitt - welcome you to your 30th class reunion. Please take this opportunity to buy a ticket , except you Ralph Leavitt, and share an evening with your humble friends. In the spirit of our childhood, we sum up our reunion in these simple words - "Come drink with the Class of '78, and this time not Ralph."
Rival Juanita High School President Admits Kangs Are Best!
WASHINGTON —In a surprise announcement with wide-ranging implications, Juanita High Class President, Frederick Wimple acknowledged Monday that, "Even after thirty years we are exactly the same, yet the Lake Washington High School alumni just seem to keep getting better and better - damn it."
"Apparently," said Frederick, addressing reporters after posting this proclamation on the school reader board, "contrary to the our long-standing conviction, while Rebels are not losers, it appears that the Kangs were just amazing people, and quite frankly, just awesome. So, today, after years of wishful thinking, we officially capitulate to the Kangs, and apologize to our classmates for giving them any false hope that it would change." Minutes later, school administrators suspended Fred, only saying that his use of the words 'damn' in a sentence without proper punctuation was inexcusable, and he won't get a passing W.A.S.L. score on the sign because he failed to show his work even though his answer was correct.
In response, former Lake Washington High class president Rip Gray said, "I understand Fred's frustration. As a young man, I'd heard rumors but never truly understood them. Now, looking back, I can't believe how naïve and childish we were", said Rip, pausing to take a long, contemplative sip from his Hi-C easy grip sip-pie-cup. "No one likes to admit defeat, It took thirty years, but I'm glad they finally came to terms with the facts and publicity acknowledged their mistake.", stated class secretary Annette Lang (English) "Now, if they would just apologize for beating us in football, basketball, soccer, and air guitar, I think I could finally forgive them", added cheerleader Nan Robinson. (note, this is an obvious joke, we all know they never beat us at Air Guitar!)
So how does this announcement effect Alumni with kids currently enrolled at Juanita? "I've been telling my kids this for years, but do you think they believe me? Heck no. Now that Fred has come forward and this has been reported on a respectable website like Kangs78.com, they have to believe it. Finally the truth is known.", said Scott Shinstrom proudly. "It's been a very emotional time, I mean, look one day you're an almighty Rebel, the next you have to envy your parent, who turned out to be a pretty hip Kangaroo. It will just take some time", said Melissa Tallman (Elchlepp). "Heck, I'm gloating!", exclaimed Lori Takahashi (Fitzpatrick) while busting a cheerleading move, "first thing tomorrow I'm gong to T.P. their car with purple and white toilet paper, yah, yah, yah, go Kangs!".
According to a recent survey, many classmates trace the roots of this rivalry to when Juanita was created from a part of the Lake Washington High student body (that "part", we believe was the buttocks)
. "Sure, we'd all appreciate a little nod of affirmation, a pat on the back, a 'good job' for some of the things we've done," said Gay Meyers (Mason), a Licensed Massage Practitioner in Duvall. "Really, all it would have taken was a quick 'Thanks for sharing your students with us so we could have our own school. Your awesome.' That's it. But no, nothing."
While the news of the announcement did not come as a surprise to most, it was so many years overdue, many forgot who the Rebels even were. "Really, high school was kind of a blur. I'm still looking for a misplaced library book so I can get my diploma", recalls Julie Johnson (Neri), adding, "Yeah, I remember a few strange kids lurking around at Herfy's, must have been Rebel's, they only ordered a small french fry, ya know, kinda wimpy if you ask me."
"Don't get me wrong, I appreciate them coming forward and all, but it would have been nice if it happened while I was still young enough to enjoy it. You know, like, when I was thirty-five or something.", acknowledged Marsheila Braucht (Kenow). "In the end, it's nice to know nothing has changed since high school. Lake Washington Kangs still Rock!"
Lake Washington High School Alumni Rule, Current Seniors Drool!
OLYMPIA —The Washington State Department of Education released the results of an extensive thirty year study on Tuesday, announcing that 1978 Lake Washington High School Alumni's "Rule
This dispels a long held belief that current Lake Washington
high school seniors, many of which drive nicer cars, sleep-in till 3 p.m., and live rent-free, are better than 50 year olds. "We started this study in 1978 on the senior class of Lake Washington High School. After spending millions of dollars in taxpayers money, and closely following this group of classmates, we were pleased to find that our research team still had jobs that allowed us to drink beer at work and play golf during weekdays when the courses are less crowded", said Kevin Brown, a department researcher.
The Brown team cites the unique qualities of the seniors of 1978, that has allowed them to stay "culturally connected" even though they have lost touch through the years. "Many of the alumni indicated their intention to remain 'Friends Forever,' a remarkable sentiment considering that life would take them down many diverging paths," Brown said. "Our evidence suggest this was the direct cause of their proactive yearbook communications, such as, "We need to get together this summer, for sure", "Hope to have a class with you next year", and "You're a good friend, but kinda weird".
Most striking is that after thirty years the Lake Washington High School
Class of 78 still "rule" the halls of Lake Washington High in absentia. According to researcher Patty Boyd, "even as Sophomore's, we noticed that these classmates were somewhat different and extraordinary in their tenacity, humor and physical elasticity. Even back then the Junior and Seniors used to cover their eyes and run away mumbling obscenities when seeing one of these classmates. It is not surprising to us that these Alumni would come together thirty years later to rejoice in that special bond."
In celebration of these conclusive findings, the Class of 1978 is holding a reception and party September 27th in Bellevue, Washington. Something they call a "Come Sail Away Reunion". If you belong to the Lake Washington High School class of 1978, you are invited to attend, because, people, you Kangs still RULE!
Articles © NELI Productions (Neir-Livingood). Creators of "See The Monkey - 25¢", as seen on classroom desks everywhere! Also, order your copy of "Why won't the Lion call if the Car starts the Moss?", now in paperback at a Goodwill store near you.