Last night, some high school friends gathered here for a few drinks. They are all in town for our thirty-year reunion. Somehow, they were convinced to detour to the farm before the opening event. I am so glad they did. We were just delighted by their visit.
It was so hot the fire pit wasn’t lit; it didn’t matter one bit. In fact, they hardly made it off the driveway, so busy catching up with each other from the moment they arrived. A few brought their chids, one brought her sweet pup. They all brought great energy, warm memories, and departed too quickly.
Most people would say, “Reunion? Ugh.” And I get that. I skipped our tenth and twentieth high school reunions for the same reason. And then, along about our twenty-fifth, something changed. I think it was me.
Sometime between my late thirties and early forties, I got comfortable in my own skin. I also came to terms with the brevity of life, mine included. From that point on, it has been pure joy to seek out and reconnect with those who knew me when, who don’t need background info, who get me, my family, and all of its quirks. Especially then, it is so easy to just be me.
I observed our friends’ interactions last night and my thoughts turned to three decades of collective challenges. We’ve lost several classmates prematurely to illness or accident. Among us were survivors — to near-death trauma, the death of a child, death of a marriage, death of parents, life-threatening and long-term illnesses, and untold heartaches. But we are more.
We are adventurous global travelers, successful professionals, happy homemakers, proud parents, aunts and uncles. We are musicians and writers, teachers and technologists, pilots and farmers, doctors and nurses, administrators and managers, executives and business owners. And we are friends.
Remarkably, three couples among us were high school sweethearts, still going strong. I think there are five such couples in our class — quite amazing. News flash: two of us are anticipating grandparenthood! Yes, I’m gonna’ be a GLAM-ma!
When we stepped off the gymnasium platform with diplomas in hand, walked one last time over the big star and past the golden bear, none could imagine the depths of pain or passion in the journey ahead. It’s just as well. If we’d known, courage might have failed us on the spot. And then we would miss out on joy sweet as this, celebrating with the classmates of ’82 who have come through. Deb, Marc, Dede, Lo, Tom & Kim, Dave, Tracy, Colleen & Russ, Moe, and Deb: thank you!
And an extra special thank you to The Hubs. Our next thirty-year celebration is our own, come November. :=)