My Back Pages: 50 Years Later Memories of High School
My Senior PhotographClick thumbnail to view full-size
Memories are like recipes. You pull them out once in awhile when you need them. Such are my memories of my sweet high school years.
My Back Pages
If you are facing a 50th high school reunion, which means you are also facing arthritis and bad backs and aching feet, put all of those “ailments” aside and commit to going to your reunion. I don't think most of you would regret it.
Even if you aren't facing one and are still young enough to actually stay in touch with your high school friends, this is a good reminder for that time, not all that far off (trust me) when your own 50 year reunion will be upon you.
I am a big believer in memories and keeping the past alive as much as is possible. Probably for many personal reasons, my high school years were easily some of the best of my life. School, for me, wasn't just about learning. It was a place to escape the unhappiness of my home life after my Dad died. At school I found just the right amount of discipline and structure, translated “caring”, which I so desperately needed. But I found so much more than that. I found friends beyond my grade school friends, whom I still loved dearly. And I found a place where I felt bonded and belonged to.
When you're a teenager, you are growing in different directions from childhood. And spending 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, in a smallish conclave created a strong sense of community. I went to a small, Catholic, girls only high school. So understandably not everyone will identify if they went to a mega school. But for me, the size of our school worked perfectly.
Re-connecting this weekend with all of the girls who made it back was like literally stepping into a time machine. I think fifty years is a long time. But it honestly felt as though we had just walked down the aisle to get our diploma's together. I think that's the bond I mentioned. It's unmistakable, unbreakable and unbending.
For sure there were grey heads, too many pounds and more than a fair amount of wrinkles. But that isn't what I saw when I hugged each of those girls who shared my life, contributed to my life and helped make 4 years of my life well worth remembering.
What I saw were the same women who endured the same stern faces of nun's who were tasked with turning us into smart, successful, strong, Catholic young women. What I saw were the same women who remember, as do I, that we had to change class in single file lines and in silence. What I saw were the same women who knew what an honor card was and that too many demerits meant a Saturday school. What I saw were the same women who came of age in the tumultuous 60s, lived through it and came out on the other side strong, productive career people, mother's and wives.
And finally what I saw was the shared recognition of who we once were and who we now are and the beautiful realization that while much might change, much also stays the same.
I loved every, single second of it. Thank you my fellow grads for a memorable walk down memory lane. It isn't true that you can never go home again. I did this past weekend. And if we make it to another reunion, walkers and all, it will be the same thing all over again.