A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world. – Leo Buscaglia
Recently I attended my 40th High School class reunion – yes, it amazed me, too. 40 years. Where does the time… well, you know. I had actually never attended a reunion before. I was in town for my 20th, I think I had even signed up but I chickened out while I was ironing my outfit. Somehow it felt like I couldn’t compete with the success I imagined everyone else already had achieved. I wasn’t in a relationship. I was struggling to get work as a singer but was actually making my money working as a secretary. Somehow the pressure felt to great and I didn’t go. Spent the evening with my mother watching TV. She wasn’t unhappy.
Now, 20 years later, all of that success stuff didn’t seem so important anymore. I just wanted to see some people, to reconnect. A Facebook page for the graduating class made me feel more connected to everyone there than I have felt in years and as my pragmatic brother said, “If you want to see any of these people alive, you better come now.” That was part of it. Mortality is making itself known. The list of people I have had to say goodbye to – or even couldn’t say goodbye to – is getting longer. So I signed up and I went.
I was nervous, probably just as nervous as 20 years ago but I am older and wiser now and I still showed up. It was great to see people, some of whom I haven’t seen in those 40 years. There were even teachers there who were teaching when we were in school. It was great to see them again, too. I spent a lot of time with one of my best friends from high school who I haven’t seen for 30 years. Somehow it was like we had only separated a couple of months ago.
But the most fun was the presentation with photos that some of my classmates spent time to put together, bringing up memories of times gone by, buildings that no longer stand, people who are no longer here. It made a sense of community, a sense of belonging to us all, I believe. Something we share, something that those before us and behind us didn’t experience in the exact same way as we did. Maybe because we were all about the same age with similar dreams and ideas about how the world was going to be. That was an exciting time to be young. The violence of the late 60s was over, the feeling of freedom and power of the 70s was in full swing. A different world and even if we didn’t all know each other back then, we all were there, together and we remember.
It was a special moment. Glad I was there to share it with you all.