Monday, November 16, 2009

The Reunion

Recently a friend that I went to both Grammar School and High School with found me through Facebook and she very kindly invited me to a reunion. She said many of the 'girls' had been getting together twice a year for the past few years. She said that in the Summer she has everyone over to her house for a barbecue, and then in the Fall they all meet at a restaurant before the holiday rush begins.
She had emailed me with all the details of when and where, and she also said that they had a tradition of exchanging Christmas ornaments, she said she thought it was a nice idea to have something to trim the tree with that would remind us of old friends and good times. I thought that was so sweet.
So I went with my little ornament tucked under my arm and wondered if I would recognize anyone and if they would recognize me!
I hadn't seen most of these girls in thirty-seven years and some even longer than that!
But I did recognize the twins right away (I went to school with them from fourth grade through high school) and they recognized me too! Whew!
At first there were just a few of us waiting to be seated in the room that was reserved for us, and then everyone else began to arrive.
It was great getting together and catching up on everyone's lives, but the time was too short (only three hours) and we were seated at two different tables so I mostly got to visit with only the girls at my table but it was still wonderful to see them all.
It was amazing to hear about the basketball star now being a teacher in a Catholic Grade School, and the pretty cheerleader became a bartender and then went on to be a train engineer! There were a few nurses, a lawyer, a high school principal, a dental assistant, office managers, a few owned their own businesses, some stay-at-home Moms, a lot of them are sandwiched in between taking care of almost-grown children and elderly parents, a few of us are grandmothers, some have been divorced, some remarried, some are widows, and sadly, some have buried children.
We were saying how hard it was to condense thirty-seven years of our lives into a short conversation, along with recalling old times and old friends. Our 'hostess' Helen had made up name tags for us with our High School graduation pictures, and she brought along the Senior Yearbook, and she also brought our 8th Grade graduation picture (we were babies)!
We would page through the book and point out faces and shout out names asking what happened to this girl and that girl. A few of us would be able to answer that this one had moved to California and that one is in North Carolina now. And some would bring us the sad news of one lost to cancer, another died from complications of Multiple Sclerosis, another died in a car accident, and saddest of all one committed suicide by jumping from the balcony of her apartment building. That broke our hearts.
And I learned many things that I had never known back in high school. I learned that some girls were carrying such heavy burdens in their home lives back then (far beyond what teenagers should have to carry), and that going to school and being with their friends was the highlight of their days, school was a haven for them. They said that their friends became their family, and even though they never unburdened themselves back them, they still felt that just being with their friends was an outlet, and a feeling of security for them. So over the years many of them have kept in touch, they've held each other up through divorces, job losses, financial losses, addictions, sicknesses, and deaths, and even imprisonment. I thought about how these women too had created their own 'village' of love and support. I could easily see the positive impact they had on each other. In listening to their stories, I could see that they found strength and encouragement in each other, I could tell that they upheld each other, and I could see how well they served each other over the years. It was stirring, and moving, and heartening.

I emailed Helen right away that night after I got home to thank her for inviting me and for making all the arrangements, and I told her what a nice time I had (although it was bittersweet, there's a story about another school friend and I'll write about it in another post).
Helen wrote back to tell me that she was happy that I had attended the reunion, and she was happy that I had enjoyed myself, and she said that she is glad that I am back in her life. How sweet is that?!
God Blesses me at every turn!


  1. It is wonderful to have old friends back in your life. I completely understand your happiness Eileen, I get together once a month with 12 friends from grade school days. In fact, I'm going to one this Saturday, we have two birthdays to celebrate this month. We meet at a local diner just up the road from my house and last Christmas they all came here. I have blogged a little about it.
    Life is made better by friends, I know how much I appreciate all of you in "The Village"!!!

    Luv and Smiles,

  2. Wow Eileen,What an evening that was. I have often wondered what happened to many of my past school mates. I didn't really have any friends in high school as I met my first husband when I was fourteen. But I had many in grade school. It would be fascinating to learn what has become of everyone. I can only imagine how you must have felt going home that evening. All of the emotions and memories of the past. I would think that you had that on your mind for quite awhile. Do you know where Marcy is? I've emailed her but have not heard back.
    Love Di


    Oh my - such an amazing time was had by all. I think it is just so wonderful. Sad to hear abpout the losses and tragic news, and of course, I was unsettled to hear someone died of complications from M S.
    On a brighter note it was so nice to hear of all the happy events, careers, kids, AND I think the ornament sharing was a lovely gesture. There is nothing better than old friends - 'except perhaps new ones! :-)

    Lovcew to you & Happy Monday

  4. What an evening to remember. There is just something to unique, about high school friends. That was an era all its own and a world all its own. I would love to connect up like you did. What a great idea! Thank you for sharing the details of this experience. You write in a way I can picture it. Please keep us posted on your next adventure together. I think it is fascinating learning what happened to friends of long ago. This has always been a passion of mine.

  5. What a special day. I'm so glad you had this time with old friends, Eileen. It really does give us pause to stop and reflect on our blessings and how to help others. Loved reading this!


    Sheila :-)

  6. Eileen, oh I love reading that you met up with your old friends....I am a real believer that woman should always keep their women friends in their life....I know it has been important to me and we have always been there for each other. There is just something about women that understands, supports and encourages each glad you have reconnected...Hugs to Mia and Jayden....:-) Hugs

  7. Isn't it wonderful to get together with girlfriends. Since I retired a group of us get together monthly to have lunch. We have a total of 68 in our group but usually 40 show up. Different girls at different times. We laugh and talk, share stories, and support one another. At first I didn't know how it would go but I look so forward to that day each month. I hope you will keep in touch with your girlfriends too. The older I get I realize just how much we women need women. I'm glad you had such a good time.

  8. I went to my 20 year high school reunion last month. It was the most amazing experience and like none other. I did not want the night to end and I enjoyed every second. Glad you had a great night too Eileen. xx

  9. Eileen...I am so happy that you were able to reconnect with your friends. I'm sorry to hear about the tragedies...
    I know that they are glad they 'found' you again...They couldn't have a better and sweeter friend than you.
    Smiles from Jackie

  10. Eileen,
    What a wonderful opportunity!!! And how great to be able to catch up with old friends...but always sorry to hear of such heartbreak...You will be a blessing to many of them, I know!! You are such a caring, compassionate and encouraging lady!!!Love you! Janine XO

  11. WOW isn't the internet an amazing tool when used for the right purpose! I would love to be able to connect with friends. I have done so with a few on Face Book too, but living 300 miles away from the most of them, I try and keep up so by the way side. Maybe some day...:) So nice you were able to reconnect and what a WONDERFUL IDEA of exchanging ornaments! The village should consider doing something like that!

  12. Hello Eileen!
    I'm glad to hear that you had such a wonderful time with your friends from school..
    That was a wonderful idea to bring an ornament..a really nice touch :)
    Did you all decorate a tree there or did everyone actually exchange ornaments?
    Have a happy week....
    Love you..Jerelene

  13. I "lived" your reunion with you, Eileen. I've had a couple of those experiences recently and find them very heart-warming (and revealing, also). I won't be surprised that this opens up a whole new realm of relationships for you!

    I, too, liked the idea of exchanging Christmas ornaments.

  14. What impresses me so much is that you have so many former classmates so closeby!! Even after my first HS reunion, we had girls scattered (I was one of them) far and wide from Chicago.

    I usually comment from the bottom of the blogs on my side bar, on up, but I really have to get out to get Michael's medicines today, make a payment at the mall and do major grocery shopping today!

    Everyone has been kind of laid back on posting and it is too easy NOT to post if you get out of the habit!! BY THE WAY YOUR POSTS ARE NEVER ANYWHERE NEAR TO BEING BORING!!

    So sad about your camera but please use Ray's as you capture such good stuff!

    blessings and cuddly hugs,


  15. Dearest Eileen,

    I just wanted to stop by to wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving Week with your family!!! Sending you much love~Janine XO