Reuniting After All These Years

Reuniting After All These Years

Graduates reflect after leaving South Lakes High School two decades ago.

It repeated throughout the night: “You look so good.”

It was the Friday night mantra for seven women gathered at a home in Reston before a series of scheduled appearances later that evening.

Julie Frutchey, who used to be Julie Charron, hosted. While most of them lived in the area, Frutchey was the only one still in Reston.

Colleen Melk, who arrived wearing jeans, was relieved to find others in similar casual attire. “I’m so glad you wore jeans,” she whispered to the first person she saw.

It wasn’t long before they started quizzing each other; remember this or what about that?

Tara DerrWebb, Jenni Dugan and Daphne Gillie were cheerleaders. Cathy Cannon was on drill team.

BUT THAT WAS 20 years ago and the names were different.

It’s not all that’s changed. Gillie produced a picture of all seven from their junior year. They all agree on two things: hairstyles and clothes in the 1980s were funny.

“Look at my picture, hello,” said Joanne Copperthite. “I had that shaved thing with the ‘V’ in the back. That was the worst hair ever.”

In celebration of South Lakes High School’s 20th reunion, the seven longtime friends were kicking off a weekend full of festivities. The formal party was planned for Saturday.

“I’m a little nervous,” said Gillie, as the yearbook was passed around and scrutinized like a textbook before a test. “I’m afraid to see people and not know their names.”

Many admitted they studied names and faces nights earlier.

WHILE IN HIGH school, the close-knit group dubbed themselves the “PAs,” short for Party Animals. “Which we were totally not,” said Dugan, a nurse and mother of three, one of which will soon enter high school.

But then someone mentioned that incident at Beach Week.

“Getting evicted,” said Tara DerrWebb, who married her high school sweetheart and now lives in London.

“We got kicked out at two in the morning,” said Cathy Cannon, a mother of three and personal trainer who lives in Roanoke, chiming in. The group, which has stayed close, is now more occupied by play dates for their kids and “girl’s night out” dates.

The graduates, who grew up in Reston before town center, admit there wasn’t much around, but they were never bored.

“We always went to football games,” said Gillie, who now has three kids and lives in Ashburn. The basketball games, too, were not to be missed, the group said.

Other mainstays were hanging out at Lake Audubon, shopping at a now defunct store called Harvest, which was at the South Lakes Shopping Center, and partying at classmate Jeff Pope’s house.

They traveled in typical 1980s style: a large van that said “Leisure Van” across the side. “It had orange interior,” said Melk, a stay-at-home mom of two children. “We could all fit in it.”

IN A GENERATION that grew up with heavy doses of Michael Jackson, Prince and Duran Duran, the friends remember when MTV actually played music videos.

As reflections got more serious, the friends said they felt lucky to have grown up in Reston. “Most of our parents still live here,” said Dugan, who now lives with her family in Sterling.

“It really was a great community to grow up,” said Gillie.

“We could walk everywhere,” said Copperthite.

They said Reston has grown up. “I come here to shop, which is so weird, because it used to be Harvest was it,” said Copperthite, who now lives in Leesburg, reflecting on changes.

They agreed that traffic and congestion in the 40-year-old planned community is surprising.

“Reston has become more of a metropolitan area,” said Gillie.

Frutchey loves that her two children are growing up in Reston. “It’s just a great place to raise your family.”