Tuesday, May 18, 2010

forever young

I am slowly recovering from a Fab50 reunion with six of my closest girlfriends from high school, all graduates during the late 70's.

When I mentioned this visit to people, I was met with incredulous looks.

High school? You're still friends with girls from high school?

I do realize that for some people their best-friends-for-life were met in college. For others, as the psychology department head told we incoming graduate students, this would be the place where sacred, lifelong friendships would form.

But for me? It's always been my high school buds. No question about it.

I was really lucky that way. I moved to a new area the summer before my 8th grade year. A few weeks before school started, two nervous, 13-year-old girls knocked on my front door to meet me. The mother of one of the girls made them introduce themselves, I was to find out later. It was probably more our of nosiness about the new family in town than genuine concern for my wellbeing. But whatever the reason, these two girls became my friends and introduced me to a larger group of girls who became some of the best girlfriends I could ask for.

I've met many friends since then who have become very good friends. Excellent friends. Cherished friends. We relate in a way my high school friends and I don't, or can't, or won't ever relate.

But there's something singularly special about hometown friends. All the shared experiences, a shared larger network of friends and towns people, memories of some of life's most difficult heartaches.

Over this past weekend, here we all were, gathered in my home, the first time a few of them had even been to Texas. All of us 49 or 50 years old. (Come think of it, only ONE of us was actually 50. Poor woman. The rest of us will remain forever 49).

But here's the remarkable thing. As I looked at my friends sitting around my living room, or on my back porch with the sunlight fading, or on a river bank cooling our feet in the spring fed water, I was taking them all in.

I saw not their crow's feet, nor their varying shades of color enhanced hair hiding the gray, nor their extra-padded midlines.

What I saw were laughing teenagers. A seventeen year old running beside me during a field hockey game. A young woman chugging down her first beer and wincing at the god-awful-taste-of-it. A girlfriend crying over a boyfriend betrayal, the first of many.

Over the past recent years, when I have met someone new, someone my own age, I would see a middle-aged woman.

But my childhood friends? The years drop away in an instant. Disappear. Gone. In each other's company, for just a weekend, we are ageless, timeless, forever young.


Magpie said...

i sort of kind of know a few people from high school. one was a recent reconnect on facebook. another lives in my town - we chatter on the train.

Hip Mom's Guide said...

I love this honest expression of love, of the understanding of different kinds of friendship, and the value of age. :) You're lucky, all of you, and I can tell you know it!

Vodka Mom said...

that touched me. I will always see those smooth cheeked, smiling, happy faces of my youth- and they remind me that all is well with the world.


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I married my best friend from high school, so we see each other all the time!

Jenn@ You know... that blog? said...

That was beautifully written :)

Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with a number of people from high school. In my case though, while we have become friends on a different level after meeting again as adults, you simply "can't go home again". We don't connect in the same way, and for most of us it's been 25+ years since we last laid eyes on each other.

Consider yourself lucky that you have the friends that you do, from that time of life! It's a rarity, I believe.

Jocelyn said...

Oh, you make my heart a little swoopy with all this--especially the specific memories of those teen years. AHHH.

Susan said...

I am still frineds with my best friend from high school, but the rest of the gang dropped way. Even though we only see each other every so may years we pick up like no time has passed.

Tammy said...

I'm lucky enough to still have my friends from high school, we get together regularly and you are so right, I see them as the teens we were, not the middle aged woman we really are! Great post.

Mental P Mama said...

Wonderful post...and so very true. Class of '78 here!

Reinvent Dad said...

Very good post. All my true friends I've known since childhood. I see them the way you describe your friends...without crows feet. Unfortunately, I don't have many friends except those I know via work (when I used to work), and through my kids' school.

bernthis said...

I have a few friends from high school and you are so right, we all look 16 to each other. I treasure them and they are closer to me than my own sisters

sherry said...

I just recently reconnected with my best friend from high school and with other friends from high school. My HS best friend is a guy so my experience is a bit different.

I enjoyed reading your post.

(Class of 1977)