The sweet smell of nostalgia...
The last two weeks have been a tidal wave of sensory rich nostalgia. Yes there's been life happening too that's complicated the whole thing but I've tasted, touched, smelled and bathed in the warm tide waters of nostalgia. What a cool word! What a cool feeling. I've never participated in a class reunion before so I didn't know what to expect, only that I wanted to be part of it. Sure, I wanted to see how everyone was but it was more than that. It was connection. Slowly, over time, we grew up. We've lived each day twenty-four hours at a time but we remember high school as we perceived it. We've been left with fleeting snapshots of school, classmates, Tis Allegany fight songs and high school antics. And then all at once in a colossal moment of fusion, all that was came full circle with all that is. And we call it nostalgia.
It felt like swimming in a deep tropical ocean of azure blue, with find white or golden sand depending on which AHS I was reuniting with. I was surrounded by faces that confused me, they were young in my mind, still the children I grew up with, but my eyes told me they had gray hair, or no hair or facial hair. We were bigger or smaller, some were much the same, those Jazzmine boys still sang on key. We were us but we were different, wiser maybe, living life but wanting to remember what we used to be. The waves crashed, good memories, good times … and not so good ones of bullies and blunders and stupid parlor tricks. I was so afraid as a child of who would laugh at me, who would be my friend and if I fit in. Twenty years later that didn't matter anymore. We didn't compete, we weren't comparing... we were one. The geeks, the jocks, the nerds, the short, silent contemplative ones. No longer us against each other but together we were us against a world that sucks us in and eats away at our youth.
Together we hang on to what once was, somehow reviving our souls with our shared energy. Together we share our dreams, real-life dreams for our families our children, our businesses and grown-up adventures. We talk about how we became who we are and what we did before we knew who we were going to be. We plunged into what was and back-stroked in a safety net of unique connection.
And it is unique. Of the seven billion people in the world these are the ones who know me. Not well, at least not most of them but I know them and they know me. We are forever connected by a past we alone share. No one else on the planet can share what we've shared, know what we know, or understand our school culture. What a glorious reconnection!
The best part was making the most of the time, though I wish I'd had more with so many old friends. I was finally able to say things I've wanted to say for so long. Things that won't change life as it is now, but words that hopefully stitched up old wounds and ended run-on sentences. I saw places that that are memorialized in my mind and found out that in many instances the places are quite possibly more special all these years later than I ever realized they were back then. I made peace that was long over due and I learned that even twenty years later I'm still so ashamed of what I said to some people that it was too hard to talk about it. But to see the faces and know they are well. To remember the classmates that we've already lost. To wonder if any of our pictures will be added by the next reunion. To celebrate how incredibly fortunate we all are for the most part. To be one with the few others who share this common bond was a precious gift.
I am so grateful to have done this and am eagerly awaiting the next round. I am hopeful it will be just as meaningful.
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