This past weekend I attended an informal, monthly gathering of Coeur d’Alene High School’s class of 1972. The hosts were gracious, the food was plentiful, the sangria was tasty and everyone I re-met greeted me with a hug. I was moved.
I’ve never attended a formal reunion. I missed one because of work, one because we were moving into our new house, one when my husband was gravely ill. So when a friend of mine from junior high urged me to go, I went. Who knows where I will be when our 50th rolls around?
If I’m honest, I don’t have many good memories of high school. I was not as smart as some, plainer than many and from a family so disfunctional that, once I graduated, I just didn’t look back. Somehow, I managed to keep two good friends: one from fourth grade, one from junior high. Both were at the Friday night gathering and, in long conversations before and after the party, the years fell away as we caught up on our lives.
At the actual party, I struggled to remember some names, to recognize faces touched by time. Everyone was welcoming. I chatted with a few folks, listened in as those who have stayed in better touch made lively conversation. All in all, I felt like I was back in high school: awkward a lot of the time, not very good at small talk, content to observe.
But the weekend got me thinking about my own sons, who had lots of friends in high school and somehow have managed to stay close to many of them all these years later. At 32 and 30, with wives and homes and their own children on the way, they spend Sunday afternoons with high school friends, travel far and wide for weddings and beach weekends and easily share friends with each other and their wives. It is one of my greatest delights to sometimes be included in the vibrant company these young people keep.
Like most parents, I hope my children accomplish more in their lives than I did in mine. And I guess when it comes to keeping friends, they are well on their way. And I guess this weekend was a reminder that I haven’t been particularly good at cultivating friendships, but it may not be too late to salvage some.