Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Piece of Each.....

Last night I attended my 35th high school reunion. I hadn’t been to any prior reunions but my new Facebook page connected me with so many old classmates, I began to feel nostalgic and curious. I didn't know quite what to expect from the rowdy bunch that I had not seen in so long.

Of 356 students, 105 attended. I found that most of the women were comfortable in their own skin. The men still jockeyed about a bit as they did in school. The women I knew readily but with the men I had to check their badges first as they seemed to have changed the most. After a moment or two, I would catch a familiar glint of the eye or smile.

My first boyfriend was there and he gives a great hug. A sweet woman that I never really knew, turned out to be the person I most wanted to talk to. Funny how that goes. We had a lot more in common than I would have imagined.

A sense of poignancy lingered in the air long after a soft spoken classmate with cancer had taken her early leave to get home to bed. Some talked about the recent sad losses of their parents. One man, who was the smartest boy in the class, has gone on to work for the EPA and brought his pretty charming wife. I was glad to see he found a happy love, having also been rather solitary in school. He shook my hand warmly and then pulled me close for a massive embrace. I wondered why I hadn't noticed in school how gallant he is.

I learned a beloved Government teacher had died and those of us in a smaller private circle toasted him with gratitude for the things he taught us that we still call upon in a world so far away from 1974. On a table beside a box of old photographs, there was a card to sign for our class president who was residing in a local nursing home and couldn’t attend. No one was left out – not even the unclaimed photo ID cards that remained lined up at the entrance.

As our songs were played, old friends stood fast and conversations began just where they had ended many years ago. Everyone was hugged and teased in turn. I cannot remember when I've had such a wonderful time.

Later, as I drove down the long, dark highway home, a pull on my heartstrings told me something. Wherever I had been, whomever I became, I had taken a piece of each of them with me.

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