Sunday, November 27, 2011

53 - 18 = 35

You may remember I posted about the incredible moment of serendipity when I met an elementary school classmate from Rhode Island, while visiting in Seattle back in June. That led to a mini-reunion in Rhode Island in late July. On a hot and humid Friday afternoon, ten of us gathered at our Catholic elementary school for a private tour. No teachers, no administrators, just a group of adults touring the school grade by grade, letting all the memories tumble out. We laughed; we hugged; many of us cried; all of us agreed it was a powerful, transformative event. After that cathartic tour we moved on to a friend’s home, where the reminiscing continued, but laughter was the rule.

That chance meeting on the other side of the country and the upcoming mini-reunion on this coast caused me to do something I swore I would never do: join FaceBook. I was convinced that FaceBook consisted of all of the worst parts of high school writ large and splashed across the public square. But almost everyone going to the mini-reunion was on FaceBook and they were all smart and funny and kind. So I did it. I figured I could just join quietly. I would “friend” just that little group, upload a few pics from grade school and later some photos from the reunion itself.

Turns out, it’s not easy to join FaceBook “quietly”! My best friend from elementary school went to college with a couple of gals I went to high school with. Within a few hours of my chit-chatting and friending within our little circle, I began to get friend requests from high school pals. Unbeknownst to me I went to high school with the 21st century FaceBook equivalent of Paul Revere! I was suddenly in the thick of catching up with high school kids I hadn’t had contact with in decades. And it was a whole lot of fun! The biggest surprise was that none of the kids who had been miserable to me in high school was on FaceBook. WTH? and Thank Heavens!

Last night was my 35th high school reunion. The folks on FaceBook I had reconnected with all just assumed I would be there. Eventually I took a deep breath and bought our tickets. Chuck and I drove down to Rhode Island and spent about five hours hugging, talking and laughing - with one dance thrown in for good measure. It was terrific. I felt right at home. Most of the folks there I had not seen in 35 years. Others I had stayed in touch with through college and for several years beyond that. But some deep pain in my life caused me to abruptly absent myself for 23 years. My disappearance was so complete that when I did materialize on FaceBook a friend asked: "Well, well, well, just get out of the witness protection program?"! Pretty darn close!

As you might expect I got a bit nervous before the event. So I did what any 53 year old woman with a Twitter account would do, I told a few Tweeps what I was doing and asked: “Am I Crazy?” Some seemed to think I was, in fact, crazy, but they all wished me luck and helped to buck me up. One of them, CookieCrumb, gave me some great advice which became my mantra as we drove to the event and walked through the front door: “You have nothing to prove and nothing to lose”! She was absolutely right.

Oh, and one of the kids who had bedeviled me in the high school halls was there. Mid-way through the evening I had occasion to walk by him. We made eye contact and I said “Hi ____” and kept on walking. He didn’t say a word. Yup. nothing to prove and nothing to lose is a sweet place to be!

Layout by LMR/Pink Granite. Inspiration: CookieCrumb. Font: Helvetica. Software: Apple iPhoto ’09 and Adobe Photoshop CS5 for Mac.


Anonymous said...

Good for you!!!!!!


Pink Granite said...

Hi Gail -
Thank you!
Had you asked me 6 months ago if I would attend my HS reunion I would have said no way!
- Lee

Sue said...

I have only just had time to read this post. Obviously knew via twitter that you were going, but I'm so glad that it went so well! And what a great mantra.

Sue X

Wendy said...

so happy its all worked out so well. I like having you on both my social networking addictions :)