Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Back to the Future

There has been much excitement at my house... Zach's yearbook has arrived!!!! He showed us his class proudly and his teacher from last year and showed us where the kids were that we knew from his pre-school. Very exciting!

After a while, he decided it was time to go outside to play, so I sat and looked at the yearbook by myself. I found a picture of me when I joined the 1st graders in their costume parade on Halloween (I was dressed as a wizard). I looked at the teachers, the lunchroom ladies, the janitors, when I got to special area teachers I saw the coach and her first name - and the penny finally dropped.

Ever since I first laid eyes on her nearly two years ago, I've had a nagging feeling that I knew her from somewhere. I'm 44 now and that's a lot of years of seeing people, so I didn't think too much about how familiar she seemed. Now I know her first name - and I know where I know her from. It's actually a shock to me that I recognized her. We were in high school together. We weren't friends or in the same cliches, but as an outsider (read very shy) I spent a lot of time just observing people. She had a distinctive face; not the bland pretty-girl face, not unattractive either. Just "strong" looking. Then I worked on the yearbook in my junior year and saw all the pictures of students. One of her stood out. She was running. Just running. I don't remember why it caught my eye, but it did. Unfortunately, it didn't make it to the yearbook. I wasn't sure what year she was in (my high school mixed up all the students in its classes), so I poured over the two yearbooks that I bought, and after about an hour, I found her. I showed her to Zach. "Yup - that's her alright!" he said. Coach Jones went to school with Mommy.

The future past hasn't finished with me.

I had lunch with my cousin. We are rekindling our friendship, which had gone sort of dormant with the demands of men and children and making livings. We are both working on getting our bodies and minds back in shape and working towards becoming better selves. We walked to our picnic lunch today, and back. We decided to be diet buddies and keep each other accountable in our efforts. We'll lunch at least once a week and check in on each other. It feels good to have her back in my life.

And then tonight, it was email. Another childhood/high school friend has emerged once again from the on again, off again dormant past. I hadn't' really heard from her in a couple of years. She's married again, her boys are nearly grown, and the last I'd heard, they were thinking about moving but I don't know if they ever did. Another life to catch up on.

By the time my 30th high school reunion rolls around (in 6 more years), I might even have people to hang out with this time!


Alice in Wonderbread said...

There's something very kathartic about going back, too. My rock and roll high school boyfriend found my blog and emailed me out of the blue, and phew- it was such a relief to let go of all the anger of unrequited love (he dumped me the third time so he could go out with other girls- owie owie owie!!!). I am able to see him eye to eye now, and even got exactly what my 19 year old heart wanted to hear all these years: that had he known then what he knows now, he would not have tossed me asunder.

I mean- we're both glad things worked out the way they did- I know I am. But it's really nice to go back to your past without the angst of young emotions and instead have a level playing field to operate from.

I don't know if I'll go to a reunion though. I have a strong feeling I'll get the same exact anxieties. I am better off taking one person at a time, then seeing my past in a gigantic herd bearing cocktails and pictures of children.

Sayre said...

My 10th was okay. Still the outsider, I watched as all the doctors and lawyers (my class was heavy with these) sized each other up, along with the spouses and the cars in the parking lot. I was just clear of my first marriage and showed up in cowboy boots.

The 20th was a little odder. I had put on a little weight, was married, but was still an outsider. Not a "power broker-type" which was what seemed to interest folks most. My husband and I hooked up with my friend Sam and his wife and talked fishing. I also spent some time at a table with one ex-cheerleader who seemed to have a thing for her own brother. Weird.

I am assured by my mother that the more years that pass, the more you actually have in common with those chums from school. You've experienced hell from the adult perspective and you're still there. The playing field evens out. 30 years is still 4 years away. I know I'm different than I was - but am I also more the same?