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Looking back to a lifetime ago

Moseyin’ Along

August 22, 2012
By Joyce Schenk - COLUMNIST ( , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

Last week's mail brought an unexpected announcement that pushed my nostalgia buttons. It was the official invitation to the 60th reunion of my high school graduating class.

Sixty years! How did they pass so quickly?

I closed my eyes and thought about those long-ago days in Arlington Heights High School in Fort Worth, Texas - the long, locker-lined halls, the bustling cafeteria, the desk-filled classrooms, the spacious gym with its tiers of spectator seats. I could see it all in my minds eye.

At a pivotal time in my life, I walked those halls, I studied in those classrooms, I cheered the teams in that gym. But, that was a lifetime ago.

Try as I might, my memory couldn't bring back one clear face of the hundreds of students I shared those happy and hectic years with. I thought of my two best friends, Marty and Carmen, but even my attempts to envision those pals, so important to me throughout high school, brought no images to mind, only hazy memories.

It's not that I've forgotten that part of my life. In fact, a few years back, I decided to try reconnecting with Marty and Carmen. My research uncovered the fact that my lovely, dark-haired pal Carmen had passed away a decade before from cancer.

But, thanks to the Internet, I was able to locate Marty. She was still living near my old hometown of Fort Worth. I learned her family was grown and on their own and she was now a widow.

Marty and I had a long, warm chat on the phone, catching up on where the years had gone. But, after a few more calls and some letters, our contacts dropped off. It was obvious we had both moved on and were a long way from the teenaged girls who shared secrets through high school.

In today's ever-mobile society, after six decades have passed, it's safe to say few folks still live near the school they graduated from. And, that old saying, "out of sight, out of mind" still holds true.

I must admit that I feel a bit of envy for people like daughter Sherri. She has maintained a close friendship with a group of best friends she had been with from grade school through high school and past graduation. In fact, last spring, three of them met for a "girls' weekend" in Savannah, a time for reconnecting and savoring their special long-lasting bonds.

But what Sherri, Lisa and Rochelle have is quite rare in today's world of fleeting friendships.

So, when I read the invitation to the upcoming reunion of my graduating class, I thought of the folks I'd see if I decided to attend. I'm sure I wouldn't recognize one face in the gathering. And I'm equally certain no one would recognize me.

That's the reason that on Nov. 3, when my fellow graduates are gathering in the Hacienda Room of the Worthington Renaissance Hotel in downtown Fort Worth, I'll be here at home, enjoying the people who mean the most to me, those who are part of my todays, rather than my long-ago yesterdays.

I don't have to try to impress this home team. I have nothing to prove. They know and love me, warts and all. At this stage in my life, hanging out with these folks is my favorite activity.



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