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.