Incredibly, my high school graduation was forty years ago. I can’t begin to imagine that it has been that long ago. But it has. Our class had our 40th reunion this last weekend.
I was blessed to go to an excellent school which I believe contributed greatly to making me the person that I am today. I started my years at this all-girls school when I entered eighth grade, much against my will. But my mother was smart enough not to listen to me and my whining, and now I am thankful.
This past weekend I saw “girls” who had been a part of my thinking and my memories for so very long. The years had been kinder to some than to others. Some, of course, looked quite different from the young ladies they were years ago. Others, honestly, had changed so very little. I believe I fell somewhere in between.
I talked with old friends about careers in nursing, education, business, and volunteer work. There were leaders and heads of departments, and there were gardeners and homemakers. There was such a feeling of goodwill and good wishes among us, with everyone genuinely interested in the forces and events that had shaped our lives along the way.
Overall I sensed that the one common bond that we all shared – our high school experience – united us more than we might have expected. No matter our circumstances or our current roles in life, we each had a sense of empowerment and contentment that came, very likely, from being taught – and shown – that women could and should be whatever they choose in life. We had each taken that belief and lived into it, in one way or another.
Having been a teacher for these last thirty-four years myself, I found it interesting (and a little concerning) that at one point there were calls to the group for volunteers to come forward and imitate one of our own former teachers. These impersonations were funny, and not all were flattering, and yet it showed that these educators had definitely made an impression on all of our lives. I wonder what my former students would say (and do) about me.
As is always the case, we all said, “Let’s not wait for another five years to pass. There are enough of us here locally that we should get together more regularly.” What a grand idea. But somehow in the busyness of our lives we let such grand thoughts slip away.
Maybe we’ll do better this time. Vivre ’74!