Last week I had a chance to meet up with old high school friends that I haven’t seen in about 40 years. While many people don’t like Facebook and are not part of that community, I find Facebook is a chance to stay in touch with family and friends that are scattered all over the world. For me it is a way of staying connected with my kids and friends that I don’t see often. So I log in daily and catch up on what is going on in my world. That being said, I also don’t let myself get sucked into the politics on Facebook. I realized a long time ago, before Facebook, that no one can really change another’s mind once they are set in their beliefs and thoughts regarding controversial things. Doing that has saved me many a hassle in life and it keeps my blood from boiling over memes and comments that I don’t agree with.
But back to meeting up with friends from high school. A couple of them that live out of state mentioned they would be in MInnesota for a bit and it would be fun to get together. After many messages back and forth, we finally had a plan made to meet up on a Friday afternoon halfway between the Southernmost and Northernmost people. All of this was planned and reservations made long distance thanks to our Colorado buddy. She always was the best at getting things planned and organized.
So text messages were sent to those not on Facebook and everyone was planning to come that day which was a week away. It gave me a week to think about what it would be like getting together after 40+ years from seeing one another. All those dumb questions running through my brain…Would we still have things in common?,Would the whole time be spent just talking about the glory days?, Where had life taken all of us after all this time?
Back in high school we were all pretty closely connected and did many things together. Mostly it consisted of hanging out together and maybe a few times getting in trouble with things like skipping school, smoking in the girls room (not me…I wasn’t a cigarette smoker), and of course our famous Senior Skip day down at Minnehaha Falls. It was all fine and fun until the police found us that day. But being we were from an all girls Catholic high school and not being too loud, the Minneapolis police just had us gather our stuff and leave. Back then most of us were 18 and that was the legal drinking age. And I don’t think they wanted to deal with 30-40 high school girls with no female police officers there.
Well the day came and off I set driving an hour into the Cities to meet up with everyone. We had reservations made at a sports/family bar and restaurant, the halfway point for us. It was a nice place, and we had a table for the 7 of us. Drinks were ordered and as our waitress left lots of greetings and hugs were passed around. Other than gray hair for some of us and bifocals to read the menu, there wasn’t much change in anyone’s physical appearance. Amazingly, we pretty much had all gracefully aged without much change. I would have known each of them at first glance had we run into one another somewhere else.
The next few hours as we had lunch together, we did talk about the “glory days” of high school. We had some great laughs over some of the things we had done and of the escapades we had gotten away with back then. We got to remind each other of the times spent in the principal’s office and having to speak with the guidance counselor a few times throughout the high school years. And honestly, we all pretty much spoke of gratitude for being educated in an all girls high school by the Dominican and BVM nuns. They truly cared about each of us and we all got a good education, even if we got in trouble here and there along the way.
As we sat there together we shared pictures of our kids and grandkids, and talked about our careers that have recently ended or are about to end with retirement. Each one of us had a story to tell of life together when we were teenagers and life pursued into our adult years. There were stories of sadness and loss and there were stories of accomplishments and not losing sight of where we all have come from. It was a great day to get together and be grateful.
As the time came to an end, we all walked outside and decided we needed to find a spot to take a group picture before we all parted ways once again. You just never know how long it will be until the next time we can be together. We walked around until we came to a place that had a bench in front of the building. But it was in the shade and not a great photo spot.
So what would the “younger” us do to get a good picture? One by one we walked over to that bench by the building and picked it up and hauled it over to near the parking lot where there were some trees and sunshine. As people watched and thought we were stealing it, they started coming our way. We let them know we were bringing it back in a few minutes. So they just watched us. We assured them that 7 women in their mid-60’s weren’t stealing their bench. I mean how far could we carry this bulky bench anyway?
One by one we each found a place to sit or stand behind the bench. A person that had been sitting in her truck watching us got out and came up to us. She asked if she could take the picture for us. After hearing this was our first time together in 40-some years she took a bunch of pictures for us.
When we were done and the bench returned to its proper place, a group hug and many promises to get together again were made. Off we all went in different directions, back to our homes out of state, to our lives and families post-high school years. As I drove home there was a big smile on my face. I have a feeling the smiles were on all of our faces as we drove home. Safe travels until we are together again, old friends.