My forty-year high school reunion is next week… I reprint an article I wrote eight years ago…
I had dinner with friends last night
I had dinner with friends last night. We try to get together once a year. Some years we have missed, our lives caught up with family obligations and evolving priorities. But when a date has been set, we tend to make the time to attend. There were ten of us yesterday. We came from Coquitlam, White Rock, Vancouver, Delta, Richmond, West Van and Adelaide, Australia. Tess moved East years ago and visits by call in…There was a time when we lived within ten blocks of each other. When we come together, the years slip away and we are those girls again. The room quickly fills with hugs, laughter and a bond which is so rare that we make the time to acknowledge our privileged lives.
The privilege enjoyed by the stability and friendships made from attending school with the same group of children, in the same neighbourhood for twelve years. I have known these women for over 40 years. Most started kindergarten together at Dr. R. E. Mckechnie School in 1962. None joined later than grade 4. I don’t feel 50 when I sit with these women. I am not a mother of three. I am not a wife or caregiver. With these women, I am just Me and I have come to share in the stories, laugh and enjoy a glass of red wine with 9 amazing friends.
After the drinks were poured and the dinner served we sat in a circle in Mary’s living room in front of the fire…. I think Barb went first with her vivid elementary school memory. She described a game we played with a tennis ball in an old nylon leg. We would stand against the school wall and swing the ball across our chests and under our legs as fast as we could in various patterns.
Jane mentioned square ball and someone mentioned Ouija board sessions at sleepovers… We went around the circle two or three times and each memory triggered more. Once again the room reached chaos as we would all be talking at once. The laughter taking over the conversation as, again, Jane is hysterical. Nothing is healthier than spending an evening listening to Barb and Jane laugh so hard they cry. I have enjoyed it for forty five years… I look to the couch and again Rea and Wendy have fallen into a hug as they dissolve in laughter. Mary is incredulous at a story; I think Hilary is a little shocked. Syd and I share a glance acknowledging the shear bliss of the moment.
I brought Mardi gras beads for us all to wear last night. In deference to the Red Hat Society, I thought we deserved an original plan. We all looked suitably glamorous in our group shot. As I wore the forty strands of beads heading out to the dinner, my husband asked “what is the point”. I told him the whole fun of being fifty now is that we don’t need to have a point. This time we wore beads, at our next lunch maybe we should all wear socks with toes. It will be fun for no point at all.
Mary, Jane, Barb, Wendy, Rea, Jennifer, Hilary, Tess, Susie and Syd…