When I moved north there were lots of unexpected benefits. I mean unexpected. One of those was reconnecting with high school friends and I’ve given this a lot of thought. Unlike some people, I did not keep in touch with anyone from high school once I graduated from college. We were a small high school class — around 100 — in a New York City suburb that was developed in the mid- to late-1950s to accommodate the American dream of children of immigrants. Developments of split level and ranch homes were springing up over farmland providing more room and a lifestyle that our parents worked hard to attain. I can remember going to model homes with my parents as they looked at homes that all looked alike to me but in different locations on Long Island. Having settled on Jericho, I finished junior high school and moved on to the brand new high school.
This is part of the history I share with my high school friends, so when we met recently for lunch in New York City, we settled easily into conversation about when we moved to Jericho, housing values now and then, people we were curious about, and our lives now. It occurred to me that I was sitting with seven women who had interesting careers, experiences, and whose lives were like mine and not like mine. Our small group was animated and a bit loud I think but we had such a lovely time laughing, remembering, and for me, realizing how much we still had in common. That said, some of the women kept in touch over the years (I’ve already admitted on this blog how many yeara so I don’t feel compelled to do so again!) and knew a lot about one another and about others from our class. In that respect I was a bit of an outsider I felt. But…on the other hand, we were so comfortable with one another and the shared memories reminded me of what a strong connection we had. I think it’s because of our shared history and shared parental expectations — it would have been unusual for one of our graduating class to not attend college.
When I try to parse this out, I say to myself that I left Jericho after college, but I didn’t. I moved home for a brief time after getting my first teaching job. Then made the move into the city and lived there until late 1973. So, there is no reason why I didn’t keep in touch when others did. It’s not important now because we have reconnected. Jean and I discussed the benefits and disadvantages of being on our own. Phyllis and I talked about caring for aging parents, collecting, and family. Corinne, our real estate expert, talked about how she puts up a morning update on Facebook EVERY morning among other things. We all had a chance to visit with one another and learn things about lives past and present. I think I smiled all the way home reflecting on the power of a shared history and shared memories. Hopefully we will get together again soon. As more of us retire, maybe our group will grow. I feel so lucky to have rediscovered these amazing women and to count them as my friends.