...50 years ago these little girls met in kindergarten, and now a lifetime later we can still play nicely in the sandbox together.Our parallel lives allow for the commonality of our local life history, then tighten the circle to our classrooms over the years, play dates, birthday parties, sleepovers, grammar school, middle school, high school, boyfriends, marriages, divorces, husbands, babies, toddlers, adult children and now we chatter on about grandchildren. Aren’t we lucky to have this bond?
Sonoma Avenue school, kindergarten for 5 of us, Joe Michell school for 1, and then I was switched over to Joe Michell as well, Mendenhall middle school, and Granada High school.Our high school class was about 350 and we’d grown up with so many we walked with that day in 1978. Our brothers and sisters were in each other’s classes, we had church in common too …
Take all of this scramble it up, toss it around and watch and see where it lands … we picked up our pieces at our class reunions as we moved along in our lives, as if we’d never been apart. Our babies were born; some of us moved away from town, a few of us stayed put firmly entrenched in our own little place, Livermore. Some stayed closer at different times, than others, due to the proximity of living in the central valley together.
We had a few moments which led us to our annual visits, our 20 year reunion in 1998 reconnected us once again, and then in 2001, when another dear one was ill with cancer. We decided to make sure we enjoyed our time together, and I hosted these wonderful women at our cabin in the mountains of Arnold. We cried when we lost our dear friend in 2004, we’ve laughed at every gathering remembering her and our high school exploits. What a lesson she gave to us, spend the time, enjoy it now, so we do.
4 of these ladies all grew up on El Caminito within a few blocks of each other, so they had closer interactions during their childhood. I was a catechism, church and school friend, until middle and high school when we gathered again as a “class unit of friends.”
When we gather we catch up on our families, remember what order our children came in, where are they, their careers, our partners, our jobs and our parents. We’re now the sandwich generation, we’ve cared for parents, some have lost one; some both and we can sit and reminisce and cry together. The tears can be there in a moment, then laughing the next. We analyze our childhoods, our parent’s styles, and our families of chaos and how did will all survive? Resilience … We’ve forgiven our parents for their shortcomings as parents as well as naming the wonderful attributes we’ve inherited… we hope our children will do the same for us one day. We watched our parents become grandparents with their do-over grandchildren and excel in so many fabulous ways, overcoming the faults and foibles of raising their children in the 60s and 70s. Superb in the grandparent department and now we’ve learned from them as several of us are now grand parenting our own little ones.
This weekend’s gathering was just as wonderful as those of the past, and we had a very special treat. Our Terryl brought a box of memorabilia along for the weekend. We’ve always had the yearbooks, out at every gathering, but this was different. We had class rosters, middle school graduation announcements, dance cards, flyers, buttons and photographs. Terryl was part of the yearbook staff, so what wonderful photographs we were able to laugh though … However we had to use a magnifying glass a few times, we are getting older! Notes written by teenage girls one to the other, with all their earnest silliness, the drama done in the pencil and paper format, precursor to the internet! Seeing all of that and listening to the conversations spinning around the table fills my heart. We take our snippet of time; we go from current day to yesteryear simply on a word, breaking in to song over a memory, a lyric, a “what was that song?” moment… We shed tears over the loss of friends and family members. We look through the yearbook, “remember so and so and this and that” and the memories are so vivid and clear, even remembering the weather at the time of events, and more world events which added depth to our days.
We also found our Facebook friends, we’ve reconnected with this friend or that, reminisces of our younger selves, but we revel in loving each other as we are … as we chatted and snapped pictures before they departed, one of them said, “no one in my other circles of friends knew me as that girl, only you all.” Wow how true, we know each other as we were, and love each other as we are today. Three of us have our husbands we found during high school, they remember us that way, don’t they?
As we stood laughing and giggling about taking our group shot this time, one of my neighbors walked by, she agreed to snap our group picture… as we told her of our connection, she couldn’t stop saying how fabulous this is, “I’m 82 I grew up in Michigan and don’t know anyone from my childhood or high school days, you are so lucky.”Yes we are …
We cleaned up, packed up and tucked our younger skinnier childhood versions of ourselves away; we hugged our squishy soft selves and calendared our next date to gather…. Because we can…