The following is an excerpt from the longer blog entry to give you a small sample of what is inside this article.

(Part of the first Top 10 list...)

Jeff Shelley (Number 8)
I think Jeff has benefited from the Simpson Syndrome as well. His fuller face seems much more attractive to me. Those of you that think it's weird me making this observation, just know that I have actually shared a kiss with Jeff Shelley on the mouth for four full seconds. In 1988, right after the State Championship football game ended, I ran over to the crowd for high-fives and Mr. Shelley grabbed both my cheeks, and wrapped his hand around the back of my neck, pulled me in, and locked lips with me with a veracity that I will never forget. (And by veracity, I mean tenacity.)

Jeff remains the only other man besides my dad that I have kissed on the mouth.

The reason this is on the list of pleasant surprises is because the amount of smoking and beer drinking Jeff did JUST COUNTING the times we played golf together senior year through college, I anticipated seeing him come to the reunion around 320 lbs!

The Spring Valley Class of 1990 20th Reunion Recap

I purposely am writing my blog entry before I read anyone else's to see if I come up with any similar thoughts. I know Kevin Ginsberg and Craig Savage will be writing entries as well, but I wanted to write mine without being influenced by theirs. I will write reactions to theirs I am sure!

I would like to confess something that my comedy audience already knows, but blog readers need to know in order to put this entire ordeal into perspective. This may come as a shock to some of you, but my virginity was something that I protected proactively and on purpose until I got married and I have remained faithful to my wife for that entire time, so I have only ever been with one woman. (Come see one of my shows, I talk a lot more about that.)

My high school days were ones that were filled with great times and many accomplishments, but the lasting memories for me are ones of heartbreak. Being told time and time again by girls that I had mega-crushes on that they just wanted to be friends or that I was too nice to be their boyfriend and they would never want to lose my friendship.

I thought the girls who told me those things were always just saying, "Marty, you are not as cute as Tripp Laval, so wait here while I go make out with him for a while, but don't give up on me because I will want to talk on the phone still."

And while it is true that I was not as cute as Tripp Laval, (who was?) he was always a good friend, so I never really was upset about his successes. I was just more confused by my failures, or what I thought were failures.

The truth turns out to be a little bit different from the way I perceived it. For the most part, all the girls that told me they just wanted to be friends back in high school, actually meant it! Wow. And it turns out, I was actually someone that many of these folks cared enough about to want to keep in touch with, and that felt really good to find out!

I would also like to thank all the girls that ever told me they just wanted to be friends and broke my heart, because you all laid the groundwork for how I would finally land the woman of my dreams.

Photo By Ty Sanders

After dating Ashley for only 2 weeks in college, (which consisted of 13 dates and close to 35 hours of telephone time after those dates,) I said boldly, "If you are going to tell me you just want to be friends in 3 months, let's get that over with, because I am not interested in being your friend. We have only known each other for 2 weeks so we are not even friends yet. You need to be in or out girl. What's it gonna be?"

So to all my Spring Valley Crushes, THANK YOU for teaching me how to be a good friend! I hated some of you for it back then (briefly, then got over it when you called on the phone 'just to talk') but now am eternally grateful for your actions. And please know, I had crushes on a good number of you at this reunion! And seeing most of you 20 years later didn't make me question why I had those crushes, it simply confirmed it! But remember, my wife knows my history, and she knows some of you by name! (Maybe that's why she didn't want to meet you?)

Photo By Cris Garrick

So now - on to the blog about the reunion!

I have broken my entry down into two categories.

The Top 10 Most Surprising Positive Things at the Reunion,


The Top 10 Least Surprising Things at the Reunion.

(Noteworthy: I name names. If I left you out, don't take it personally. It just means your interactions with me weren't easily translated into funny stories, or put another way, you were boring. I am just kidding, sort of. Jeff Shelley, you were boring. And yes, I just typed that because I know it would get you all lathered up and have you texting me the funny things you said to me at the bar.)

Top 10 Most Pleasant and Surprising Things at the Reunion.

Number 1 - I start with the number 1 instead of counting down from number 10, because I know most won't read the entire blog so I am not strategically holding on to the most important information until the end.

Amy Stahl (Leftoff) [Number 1]
Amy's married name is Leftoff. Don't be confused and think I was trying to imply that she was omitted from the list or something!

Seeing Amy Stahl brought back so many fond memories of 7th grade. (Noteworthy: It made me sad Elise Marks wasn't there to laugh with us also.) I remember sitting in front of Amy in 7th grade for a class that wasn't my homeroom, but one we switched into like Language Arts or something. I just remember turning around and talking all the time to Amy and Elise. I remember racing Todd Beller to get the seat closest to Amy. (Those that remember Todd can find him on Facebook!)

Photo By Marc Leftoff

I remember thinking to myself that these two girls were really fun to talk to and to be near. I remember thinking,

"I wonder why these 2 girls are not part of what seems to be the wildly popular group of people. This confuses me because I think they are awesome."

Then I remembered,

"Well, I wouldn't know, because I am not a part of the group either!"

It is thoughts like this that make middle school so difficult. Watching kids become popular for whatever reason and then wondering why your favorites are not part of that group...wondering why YOU are not part of that group. That type of thing makes you question your ability to judge character qualities and people in general.

But then, at your 20th reunion, all your thoughts can be validated. This was the case with Amy Stahl. I watched Amy be sweet and nice and funny and great all through 7th grade, and often I thought to myself that she seemed like "one of the good ones."

I would also see her struggle but never act phased by it. And when I say 'struggle' what I mean is I would see her have a low opinion of herself in some way, and often in some way that I disagreed with, but she always had this low opinion while carrying a smile or a giggle. This goofy, humble quality is what I think I liked most in her.

Then she would go on to high school and become a cheerleader and be one of the popular girls, which always made me happy inside. Through high school we really didn't remain as close as we did in 7th grade. We had one of those relationships that I am sure many of you have had, where the bond you made in the early years was enough to serve you well through the later years. Amy and I may have not spoken as much in high school or called each other on the phone, but there was always a common element to our friendship that went back to 7th grade that would cause me to be happy if I was seated next to her in a high school class or I was able to walk with her to Wilson Vocational across campus.

It was that same bond that caused me to be so happy for her and her husband as I saw them at the reunion. First of all, her husband seemed so genuinely nice, which made me happy for Amy. Second of all, did anyone notice how amazing Amy looked? She went from a goofy, cute 7th grade girl laughing at her own mistakes, to a stunningly beautiful thirty-something year old. Amy's stylish look with the glasses makes Tina Fey and Sarah Pale-in comparison.

For those of you reading this thinking it is a tad awkward for me to say such things, rest assured, my wife and I both told these things to Amy and to her husband!

So to Amy Stahl, I say thanks for all the memories and for being yourself with me in 7th grade. The foundation it provided for me as a young man was a strong one that many other friendships were built upon. Each of these lasting friendships with girls would ultimately lead to the ability to be a great husband. For that special time in 7th grade, and for the brief conversation my wife and I got to share with you and your husband, Amy, I am eternally grateful.

The number 2 thing will follow the number 1 thing, again, because most of you won't finish reading and I wanted you to read the first 2 things the most.

Number 2 - What a fantastic attitude everyone had. It just seemed like so many people were so genuinely excited to see each other and talk and catch-up and hang out. I guess only the folks that WANTED to do that came, so it makes for a good demographic, but still, it was quite shocking how many awesomely friendly and heart warming moments were happening all over the building.

I realize some outsiders may say that the reunions are only for the popular kids or the successful people in the business world. Well I will say that this wasn't true at this reunion. When I asked what people did for a living I was told by more than one person, "I just got laid off and am on unemployment." These folks were just being real and I appreciated that from them. I am blessed to have my job, but I sure wasn't at the reunion to judge anybody or begrudge anyone else their success.

To the contrary, I feel like we were all family, so when Lisa Goldberg meets the president (or more impressively, meets Jon Stewart!!!!) or Craig Savage and William Hall cash at the World Series of Poker, or Chris Ewart looks at naked women all day (he is a plastic surgeon,) we all get to share in that experience vicariously. This synergy was created 20 years ago at pep rallies, and bond fires, at football games, at White Roads, or where I currently LIVE at Longcreek Plantation!

Endless first week at the beach celebrations, spend the night parties, float decorating at the Savage's house until 6 a.m., all came rushing back to me as I talked and talked and talked with everyone.

Number 3 - (Again, I am counting up for a while since most folks won't read the entire blog.)

My wife actually showing up! (Number 3) Probably for some of you the number one most surprising thing was how gorgeous Marty's wife was, right? But two months ago my wife truthfully said to me that she didn't want to attend the reunion. I was fine with that, because I was terribly bored at her recent 20 year reunion. At hers they had a large screen television that was playing the USC vs. Alabama football game on it while everyone partied. So there were 30 husbands all gathered around this projector screen outside!

I even posted on facebook, as some of you know, that I was wearing a sign that said, "This is Marty's wife of 16 years, she didn't want to meet you," and the truth was she really just didn't. But then, the more we talked about it and the more the date came closer she started having second thoughts. She started to realize how much my classmates meant to me and how much sharing that with her would bring joy to me. So, Saturday evening, unwillingly, she rolled over from her nap after taking the kids shopping and said under her breath, "Hey, I might wake up later and roll down there, so print on your sign, 'she might show up later.'" And that's exactly what I did. (See how well she knows me? She knew I wanted to maintain my joke of the sign and she didn't want to mess that up by coming! So she gave me the alternative to print on it! And she said to print "might show up later" because she knew she might sleep all the way through it too and she wanted no pressure!)

She showed up at 8:30 p.m. and partied like she was one of us until 4 a.m.!

I was so glad that my friends got to experience the fun loving woman of my dreams and see why I fell in love with her. She asked me what she should wear, and I knew right away what I wanted to see her in. She showed me a dress and I said, "Nope, you are wearing blue jeans and a simple top with your hair pulled back and your blue necklaces, and flip-flops. I want my classmates to see the Ashley that fell in love with, not the 'I have to wear a dress Ashley'"

Photo By Ashley Simpson

I lost count at 11. After 11 people separately came to me and said "You wife is SO adorable" or something similar I quit counting. Noteworthy: Roc Swindler did say to me at least a dozen times, "I bet you're glad she showed up, because no one would believe you married her!" And I was!

A special thanks to my mom, Kathy Simpson, for providing that extra push that she needed to come to the party.

Now the count down from 10 for those of you willing to finish this long blog.

The Number 10 Most Pleasantly Surprising thing at the reunion - The fact that some people actually recognized me!
I am sure the folks that quickly recognized me had most likely visited my blog or my website prior to the reunion and were quickly familiar with my lack of hair and extra weight. Either way, it was refreshing for those of you that recognized me right away!

Number 9 - How good everyone looked!
I realize many of us look different from our high school days, but that didn't mean we didn't look good! My wife has continually told me that she thinks the weight I have gained in my face actually causes my face to be more attractive than my skinnier high school face. I was disappointed to find out how many of you agreed with her...seriously. And some of you agreed so quickly! I am not sure how to feel about this information...

Let's face it, (and she will be the first to tell you) my wife was always attracted to my best qualities. In her words, there was my sense of humor, my kindness, my sweetness, my broad shoulders and my butt. (Presented in reverse priority order of importance to Ashley. Yes, she's a butt man, anyone else?)

I was blown away by how physically attractive our class was now that we are old.

To be politically correct and show my sensitive side I will mention a few guys that I thought looked good. The list is longer than the ones I will mention so get over yourselves if I don't mention you.

Jeff Shelley (Number 8)
I think Jeff has benefited from the Simpson Syndrome as well. His fuller face seems much more attractive to me. Those of you that think it's weird me making this observation, just know that I have actually shared a kiss with Jeff Shelley on the mouth for four full seconds. In 1988, right after the State Championship football game ended, I ran over to the crowd for high-fives and Mr. Shelley grabbed both my cheeks, and wrapped his hand around the back of my neck, pulled me in, and locked lips with me with a veracity that I will never forget. (And by veracity, I mean tenacity.)

Jeff remains the only other man besides my dad that I have kissed on the mouth.

Photo By Cris Garrick

The reason this is on the list of pleasant surprises is because the amount of smoking and beer drinking Jeff did JUST COUNTING the times we played golf together senior year through college, I anticipated seeing him come to the reunion around 320 lbs!

Craig Savage (Number 7)
I know Craig was always a "handsomed face" kid, but I think in his wiser elderly days he has grown into a fine looking gentleman. I think I may just be wooed into thinking he is so desirable because of this picture though ---

Photo from

Also, Craig and I went to Kindergarten together, along with a few others from the class of 1990. Just like the bond I had with Amy Stahl in 7th grade, I had formed that same bond with Craig early on. A bond strong enough to carry us all the way until the reunion even though we hadn't really stayed in touch until recently on facebook.

Morris Morgan (Number 6)
Morris Morgan was still at "playing weight." I recently went to lunch with a former teammate from the Gamecocks who played offensive line, Rich Sweet. Rich's playing weight was around 330. He has trimmed down to a modest 240. I had worked my way up just north of 235 when we had lunch so we looked about the same. A friend of his stopped at our table to say hello and when Rich said, "Meet Marty Simpson, my former teammate..." the guy he was introducing me to said to me, "Oh, you played o-line with Rich?" That was the day my diet started. However, I would like it noted for the record, that I look GREAT for a former linemen! For a former kicker, well I probably could lose 20 (or 45) pounds...just as long as I lose it in my gut and not my face (right Ashley?)

All that to say, Morris Morgan still looked like a Spring Valley undersized middle linebacker that earned All-Area honors in 1988 and 1989.

That's all the quasi-homosexual-tendancies I am willing to divulge at this time. Men, if you think you looked better at the reunion than you did in high school, just know that I probably noticed and just don't feel like devoting more of my blog to it. (So no bitter comments on my facebook page Chris Ewart! (Number 5))

The Number 4 Most Pleasantly Surprising Thing at the Reunion - Women that looked better at the reunion than they did in high school in my opinion...OH BOY this could get me in trouble. Even as I type this I feel like there is no winning with this one. You see, if you were a total hotty in high school there would be no way for you to look "better" now, and if you do look better now, it probably means something negative toward the high school version of you. Either way, this category seems like it's not worth mentioning, so let's make up a new one on the fly, shall we?

How about I list 2 fantastic looking pregnant women?

Kelly Altman Hawkins and Ferris Holwadel Lasater (Number 3, Kelly and Ferris make-up #3) - These two ladies looked great. Glowing. And to think, Ferris did all that planning and stressing while pregnant. Much love to Ferris for that! And congrats to Kelly for marrying a fine YOUNG man!

The Number 1 thing, (drum roll...) ...and the number 1 thing has already been mentioned above, weren't you paying attention? It was Amy Stahl.

Honorable Mention: Jeffery Siceloff's wife, Becky was a wonderful positive spirit. They seemed so happy together!

You may have realized we skipped number 2. Actually I have been typing this blog entry on my droid phone while doing number 2 that's why it's so long and poorly formatted.

So to those out there judging me for not using proper syntax and punctuation please realize that it does say in Strunk and White's Latest version of The Elements of Style that if what you are typing is being typed while you are currently on the toilet, you needn't worry with orthodox grammar.

But the Number 2 Most Pleasantly Surprising thing was - How many folks actually remembered me being the class president (or even Student Body President.) The reason this actually means something to me is the simple fact that I never once, from 6th grade through 12th grade, ever won a popular vote election. I lost elections to Bunnie Lempesis, (who embodied greatness didn't she?), Christie Tucker, Bubba Samuels, Chris Hart and Cade Gibson. So thanks to those of you that actually remember me winning! I appreciate the credit without having to do any of the work.

Now for some more fun.

The Top 10 Least Surprising Things at the Reunion.

10. David Amrol, Chris Ewart, and Rick Shrouds being successful doctors. (Sorry guys, you are boringly predictable...success, success, blah, blah, blah)

09. Shannon Scruggs looking exactly the same.

08. Brad Halliday marrying Meredith Brown. (Oh wait, I think this one was supposed to be on the other list...)

08. William Hall still being shocked that so many girls oodle and google over him...seriously

07. Laura Grubbs running from Gentle Ben, scared he might talk to Phil Grubbs.

06. Lisa Goldberg meeting with the president twice!

05. Roc Swindler and Cade Gibson continuing to be two of the genuinely nicest guys on the planet.

04. Tons of the nice guys from high school having happy wives. (e.g. Jeffery Siceloff)

03. John Covert's face being buried into Eunika's chest.

Photo Cris Garrick

02. Craig Savage winning 60 grand in the World Series of Poker Main Event. I have a vivid memory of losing money to him on a 7th grade ALERT field trip to Williamsburg and Mrs. Edwards getting really upset that we were playing poker in the hotel.

Photo by Marc Leftoff

01. Amy Stahl making a wonderful wife and mother. While I have her atop my list of Most Surprising things, it seems contradictory to the logic behind this that she could also be the Least Surprising thing. Well, here is my logic. Seeing how beautiful on the outside she had become was my favorite surprise memory from the reunion. This completely validated my crush on the goofy, quirky 7th grader. However, the least surprising thing to me was seeing how she grew up into one of the finest wives, mothers, and human beings the Class of 1990 produced. (Because I knew all along!)

Photo by Lori Davis

Truthfully, the least surprising thing to me about this reunion besides how awesome everybody turned out to be, was how everyone loved my wife! How could you not love this woman? Right? What an amazing journey the last 20 years has been, but I am more happy about the simple fact that I have spent 18 of those years either dating or married to the best woman in the world!

Marty and Ashley through the years.

The Spring Valley Class of 1990, I say cheers! Already looking forward to the next reunion (And Poker Tournament!)


From coach to comedian: Marty Simpson is a former USA Today high school All-American and collegiate Academic All-Conference player for USC who scored the Gamecocks' first 6 points in the SEC. During 8 years as a high school varsity coach, Simpson led his team to the state finals and saw one player advance to set an NFL rookie record. Simpson now divides his time between his family, running a multimedia company named Blue-Eyed Panda and getting the same pre-game jitters by performing stand-up comedy nationwide.

Check out Marty's performance dates here.

7 Response to 'Spring Valley Class of 1990 20th Reunion Recap'

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