One of the great pleasures of moving north was reconnecting with high school friends. I know I have mentioned this before but it is no small matter. Before I retired, during the sale of my house, getting rid of a lot of possessions from 37 years in the same home, and moving north, I yearned for a “quiet life.” My job was demanding, I taught college classes as well, and I just wanted peace and quiet. Luckily I had the perfect place to do that — my home in the mountains of Pennsylvania only a 2-hour drive away from Manhattan. Once the decision was made to move, I contacted the one person from high school with whom I maintained recent contact. Barbara immediately drew me into the reunion planning group that met for lunch once a month in New York City. This happy circumstance led to a great reunion and even better continued contact with a remarkable group of women.
Yesterday, seven of us met at The Atlantic Grill on West 64th Street for a lunch at which we could catch up, share stories of travel, children, grandchildren, mutual friends, and other things that longtime friends discuss when they get together. It sounds simple, but for me it is never simple. First, there is the dilemma of what to wear. I often feel like the country mouse when I go into the city particularly when I meet with friends that seem to have a lot more sophisticated activities than I do. (This by the way is not a complaint — just stating a fact — I wouldn’t want things any different in my life right now. OK — maybe a couple of things but that’s for another blog!) I will not share here what I go through to choose an outfit that always ends up with black jeans, a simple shirt (also usually black), and a vest. We won’t even discuss shoes! Second, I worry about whether I have enough in common with my high school friends to participate in the conversation. I did not stay long in the New York area after college. A few years of teaching on Long Island, a few years of working in Manhattan for Off-Track Betting Corporation’s President, Howard Samuels, and then off to Tallahassee where I stayed for 37 years. There is no third!
I am here to tell you that none of this matters. What mattered was how warm and caring these friends are. I do need to point out that we weren’t all good friends in high school — friends yes, but it was a small high school in a small community of like-minded people for the most part so that is not surprising. Thanks to Facebook we all keep in touch in a superficial way but these lunches are special. The face-to-face contact, the personal conversations, the sharing of experiences, and the updates on mutual acquaintances and friends by those who keep in touch. I’m pretty sure I smiled on the entire drive home. Instead of being tired from the long drives, I was energized by my friends. There is so much to talk about I think — ways to find out what we have in common beyond our high school experience. Each time we meet I look forward to the next time. It’s too bad we have to spend time eating I have thought; too bad we don’t have more people join us; too bad I have waited so long to rekindle friendships. Enough said. I feel lucky.