29 May 2013

High School, 50 years on...


We've all changed in 50 years; some remarkably, some quite well. Some of the attendees I'd not seen since graduation, others at our 25th reunion or beyond. I visited, had dinner, listened to old tunes, danced, received my "golden" diploma and felt glad to be alive to do so in the light of absent classmates. Afterwards, I went to a party graciously hosted by two friends, now married. We had the chance to sit and share memories, happy, sad and painful in such an intimate way that I felt moved, privileged to be there to bear witness, sorry for the experiences that shaped lives in hurtful ways, grateful for the ones that shaped us in positive ways and finally aware of how little sometimes separates one from the other. We each had our story, of course. It was precious little time to catch up and hear even a bit of those stories. Left me wanting to hear more. I'm not sure what I can do about that but it's a niggling, recurring thought at this point.




I stayed with my best friend from high school, Ann, and had the opportunity to tour some of her world, meet her fiance, daughter, grandchildren and talk the days away in our effort to bridge the gap of too many years. It won't be that long again, we vowed, and retirement can make that resolution a reality. I liked and admired her in high school and found that I still do. We sang as girl scouts: "make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold." She's gold.




We toured some of our old haunts the day after the reunion, a perfect Boston spring day, and just enjoyed each other's company. The beaches I frequented as a high schooler stretched before me, stirred memories held for years and grounded me once more in home. Put together with the memories of my classmates, it rounded the picture of where I came from, the complexity of what shaped me, good and bad, and generated not quite a nostalgia, but a desire to know and understand more.




I also had the chance to see my father, now 96, and spend the day with him and his companion of sixteen years. They had been dancing the day before, spoke of their outings with other seniors and discussed current events, so I'm holding him as my aging mentor.



It was only five days but they were full and impacted me in ways I'm trying to understand more fully. I'm glad I went.

16 comments:

  1. Your post touched me deeply ... my 50th was back in 2009 (almost ready for 55!) ~ you described what I also experienced. The stories, laughing, exploring our old haunts, missing classmates who have passed away. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a lovely reunion! And your father is definitely an aging mentor, Mary. Congratulations for still having him around to love and cherish! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was lovely all around and he's a hoot!

      Delete
  3. I'm so glad you went also. I treasure my high school friends. We are fortunate to meet every three months for lunch. We share our struggles, our fears, our victories, and most of all our ability to be girls again who love to talk and laugh. I'm so glad you had the opportunity to meet these friends again and explore the landscapes of your lives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like your phrase- the landscape of our lives. Sounds like a good book title.

      Delete
  4. Yes, I felt a stronger sense of my roots when I attended my 50th and compared experiences and outlooks with classmates. In catching up with them I somehow learned more about myself, and this happened more at the 50th than at previous reunions. Glad you went and had a good time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder why it happens more at the 50th? But what you say is right on point for me.

      Delete
  5. I really enjoyed reading this. How very special to spend time with your best friend from high school and others. Sounds like the reconnection was wonderful for all...

    ReplyDelete
  6. That just looks wonderful. Your father is my aging mentor, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And his attitude is just outstanding.

      Delete
  7. smiles...how cool...the best part would have been staying with the old friend for me...and seeing all the old haunts...have never been to a reunion but you have me thinking on my 25 year...

    ReplyDelete
  8. and great pic of you in the end...smiles...good to be able to see pops...

    ReplyDelete

Let's chat.