I’ve heard a saying something like this: “Cousins are your first best friends.” I agree with that, but I think our childhood friends come a close second.
There’s moments when we revisit our life experiences – we find ourselves taking stock and consider where we’ve been…and…where we are.
A few months ago I attended a unique reunion. It was the 85th anniversary of the elementary school I attended – from Kindergarten through 8th grade. My particular class graduated in 1969. In eight years a bunch of us grew up together – literally. There are a few others who joined us along the way – staying for just a year or two – and yet, even those few remain implanted in our memories as part of those growing-up years.
Dare I say – it’s been years since I walked through the halls of that school. And, yet, as I entered the doors to the gymnasium it seemed so much like I just lived it. The smells, the familiarity of the classrooms and lockers lining the walls. Not much seemed to have changed – except for me and several other gray-haired, slightly pudgy, and wrinkly individuals meandering where we once stood as children.
It didn’t take long to see and recognize those from my own class. Once we found one familiar face, another joined us and our circle grew and divided into more.
You see, spending eight years together you really can’t help but feel a strong connection. Oh yes, I can think of the pranks, the silliness, the immaturity of how those years played out. But here we were, grown up, wanting to connect and ask those questions – the first usually being – Do you have grandchildren?
There was an invisible bond. There were stories to tell. Where have we all been? What has changed us? What hasn’t? I saw the once known pranksters had softened. I saw life aged some of us more quickly than others. I heard pride as each talked of their kids and grandkids. I was amazed at how many have traveled and enjoyed careers and small businesses of their own making.
We remembered together. We nodded in agreement over the teachers we thought were cool and the others we knew were, well, not-so-cool.
We experienced Marriage. Careers. Kids. Divorce. Death. Abuse. Travel.
I wanted to know – what made them who they are today? What wow moments affected their life decisions? Are they at peace? The questions could only go so far because there were more connections and the questions started all over again.
No judgement. No comparisons.
We were just – us.
It was an especially precious evening.
If only those halls could speak.