I have had a very weird experience recently that has turned out to be one of the coolest things. It all started months ago during a “tea and cookie” reception after my youngest daughter’s confirmation. Some lady found my daughter and told her that she knew me from a long time ago. She came over to where we were standing and introduced herself.
I could not place who she was. It was a little uncomfortable for me as I could not place her until she gave me some more details. It turns out that we went to grade school together. Way back then we had grades K-8 in the same school building. After my brain finally engaged, I remembered her. I had not seen her since probably 1974…that was 35 years ago! It was a nice blast from the past and my kids got a kick out of it when I told some of our stories.
Fast forward several months to when I start getting “friended” on facebook from this classmate and some others from our class. I should explain that we all went to a small Catholic school. The group of us essentially spent all day long together for eight years during school. No changing classes like students do today and generally had the same teacher all day long. I think that we may have actually changed classes in eighth grade.
One surreptitious thing is that the only reason that I had a facebook account was because one of my daughter’s cross country teammates sent me some photographs for a slideshow that I was making for the team banquet. The only way to get the photos was to join facebook.
Our class was rather small by today’s standards and my former classmates kept finding more and more members. Most of us ended up living north of where we grew up. An initial attempt to get together was scheduled and most of them met at a restaurant. I could not go, but got to hear some of the stories.
Persistence paid off and another meeting was scheduled. I had been really busy that day and was starting to waiver about going, but one of our classmates was in town from his home in Florida and another had traveled from across the state so I went. I was a little late arriving and everyone else was there. Six of us showed up and the hosts were classmates who had married to make eight.
I had not seen any of these people for over thirty years and most of them looked remarkably the same. Older and wiser, but essentially the same (I had to add that wiser part in case they read this). I sat down and joined the conversation. I should explain that I am not by nature a mingler (one who easily mingles) and some of them had been in touch before and I was the last one to arrive. Oh and did I mention that I had not seen or spoken to many of them for over thirty years.
Knowing this in advance, I had told my family that I would not be too late. I guess that I expected a class reunion kind of feel. I went to my first class reunion, but have not gone to any others.
Now for the weird part, the gathering was not weird in a bad way at all. It was weird, however, in that it felt so comfortable and natural enjoying an evening with them. I had a great time, an left a little after 11:00 PM though word is that a few of them lasted until 3:00.
We laughed about the stuff that we did, reminisced about a friend who had tragically passed, and wondered what happened to some of the odder classmates. There is a possibility that one classmate’s sister has possession of Sister Mary David’s boat oar. I don’t believe the good sister was a boater, but she could heft that oar across a behind. I can still visualize her barging into our eigth grade classroom carrying that paddle. Paddling was allowed back then and was sometimes followed by a spanking when we got home for getting in trouble in school.
After we all went our separate ways, one commented in an e-mail that “it’s like brothers and sisters getting together w/memories to reminisce long after the fact.” That is how it felt. I guess that all of the shared experiences made us close even though we had not been in contact for decades. Maybe growing up in a strict Catholic school made us a band of brothers and sisters with such a strong bond.
I am truly looking forward to our next gathering.