Wednesday, July 2, 2014
There are Places I Remember
I'm amazed at how many times I was hugged and squeezed and how many times a classmate reached for my hand or draped an arm across my shoulders while we talked and moved in circles like an ever-changing human kaleidoscope. I was deeply touched when a classmate sought me out to say that he had googled something related to our childhood and found my newspaper editorials about our collective experience. Many of us had brought along school artifacts, newspaper clippings, and photographs. I contributed my high school scrapbook which is filled with dried prom flowers, fabric scraps from dresses, notes passed in class by my best friend, and report cards. It is an astonishing but warm rush to see an old photograph of oneself from long ago for the very first time.
I had a "moment" with more than one old friend. I was able to tell a classmate some happy memories I had of her mother not knowing her mom had died recently. With misty eyes she cupped my face in her hands and thanked me for giving her the precious gift of remembrance. Another friend whose face I hadn't seen in forty years, met my eyes over the buffet table. Our plates were quickly abandoned as we hugged and wept through smiles. I was asked to guess the identity of one classmate. As soon as he grinned and winked, I knew...our journeys had begun together, far beyond yesterday in a kindergarten classroom. Even the classmates who went before were honored with the quiet recitation of their names and it was truly heartrending. We never forget, this class.
Not a single person was unkind or aloof - we were just so grateful to be able to spend some time with each other again. We talked about our children, grandchildren, careers, and places we've lived. Our memories overlapped and grew with each others' embellishments. I was delighted when a friend remembered my grandparents. Where else can one find such poignant familiarity, if not from a schoolday friend?
Someone who reads my Facebook posts jokingly told me that I need to get out of the 18th century. I wouldn't mind doing 1974 again as long as they come too. It was the best club I've ever known. And in my life...I've loved them all.