Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Keeping in Touch With Old Friends

A mini-reunion of my Los Altos High School Class, at the Oakland Museum.

Growing up in Los Altos, California, there were a group of kids I started out with at Loyola School (where we began in kindergarten) moved on to what was then called junior high school (seventh and eighth grade) at Covington, and then went on with to Los Altos High. We picked up new faces along the way. 

When I see any of these faces today, I feel as if I am seeing members of my family.  I can pick up the conversation, wherever we left it off, no matter how many years have gone by.

My affection for these people goes beyond logic to some spot in my brain that remembers them as friendly little people who walked with me, played with me, learned with me, fought with me and protected me. I find myself so comfortable in their presence.

This past weekend we held a small mini-reunion of my high school class in Oakland, and some of the kids go all the way back with me to grammar school. When we lost one of our classmates this year to a heart attack, a group of us decided it was too late in our lives to spend too much time standing on ceremony. Why not get together when we felt like it?

I don't find many in the group wasting time dwelling on the past: though we do laugh a lot about our old teachers and things they said and did. 

We also talk about our parents--whom we are all losing or have lost--and their impacts on our lives. We talk about our spouses, marriages, divorces, careers, and our political views and how they've changed or not changed or returned to old views over time.

I find myself so comfortable in their presence. I feel they tolerate my eccentricities and can laugh with me about my life because they do, in fact, know where "I'm coming from." They came from there with me as I did with them.

I think in the old days, when we remained in our home towns, we had people like this around us all our lives. Now, we are scattered all over the place and we have to make an effort. 

I'm so glad this group has joined in making that effort. They have enriched my life. (Even those annoying little boys, who all grew up and turned out to be much less annoying than they were back in the first grade.)

My first grade class. I'm second row from the bottom, fifth from the left. I've already started wearing my collar up to hide my long neck! At the end of the same row, far left are, I believe, Claudia Nord and Lois Lamb. Anybody else recognize himself?

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Don Meuler said...

I have found that I remember my grade school friends better and more fondly than those I met later on. I don't really keep in touch with anyone from high school, but have re-connected with classmates from much earlier. Strange. I guess I don't like how clique-ish people got in high school...

Robin Chapman said...

You are right about high school. The good news is we all recovered!

Janet Grunst said...

I wish I'd kept in contact with more friends from those days. When I went to my 20th year LAHS reunion no one remembered me, than than my best friend who went with me.

Robin Chapman said...

You were too beautiful, Janet. Everybody was probably really jealous!