June 3rd, 1986.
The date of one of the greatest graduation parties ever.
Unless Aerosmith or The Beastie Boys showed up at your party, just stop right there.
There will be no topping this party.
Many have tried. All have failed.
It was a party right out of the movie Weird Science.
It was supposed to be about 30 or so people from the class of 86 who had just graduated from McGavock, gathering at Bill Bryant’s house, near the lake, in Donelson.
His sweet mom had given the OK for a party and rightfully so, we were all a bunch of good kids who NEVER, I mean NEVER, got into trouble.
Oh, did I say 30? I should have added a zero. Or maybe another one because 300 probably showed up, but it seemed like 3,000
“Joe, get over here now!”
Bill called me, his voice full of panic. He will deny it to this day that he was panicked, but he was.
“Let me grab the music and I am on my way. Is anyone there yet?” I asked.
“There are so many people here, I don’t know where to begin.”
Bill was one to never embellish anything so I knew there had to be a ton of people there.
My house to Bill’s was about a 10 minute drive.
I pull up, almost no where to park.
“What the hell?” This is far more than 30 or 40 people.
There were cars and people as far as you could see.
I park in the corner of Bill’s yard and make my way to his house.
People everywhere. Class of 86. Class of 85. Class of 84. And on and on.
There were classes of people from other schools that showed up.
This was in the time before social media, which makes this party even more surreal.
Word spread like wildfire.
Bill had a badass house with a basketball court out back and a deck, concrete one, that over looked it. You would walk out of his den downstairs and start playing basketball.
And the laughing. I will never forget everyone laughing.
For hours, everyone laughed. And more and more people kept showing up.
Bill’s front yard was covered with cars.
Tony Cortez was out front telling people not to turn in the driveway because there was no where to park.
Still they kept showing up.
There were no fights. There were no almost-fights.
The only injury, a guy named Mitch fell off the balcony onto the basketball court and busted up his mouth.
Music was playing, everyone was dancing and everyone laughing.
And the people. Everywhere.
It was like a block party. Dancing and more dancing.
To this day, I will come across someone who was at this party. And they have a story to tell about it.
You know, time has a way of adding things to events and making them seem bigger and larger than they actually were.
This is NOT that party.
In fact, if you add anything to this, it takes away of how epic it truly was.
A party like this today would be full of fights, things broken and the cops called.
Another reason why this will go down as the greatest graduation party ever.
There were people there that night, I have not seen since then. It was like we all knew this was one of the last times we were all going to see each other and we were going to go out in style.
And we did.
Nearly 30 years later, that night still makes me smile.