I left south Florida at 8:30 on the morning after Thanksgiving, and I was landing here again fewer than 36 hours later, at 8 on Saturday night. A week later I have a sense of what took me back to a very different “south”–South Carolina–and what I brought back home with me.
There were name tags to help us remember our natural hair color:
Thirty-six of eighty-nine former classmates smiled for the cameras:
With the exception of my friend Michelle, I hadn’t seen my classmates since graduation.
We talked about where we live, whom we live with, our families, what we’ve been doing since we graduated from high school.
Even though I had been separated from them by geography and time, I realized that those relationships–close friends, casual acquaintances, and people whose lives I only imagined–shaped me and many of my core beliefs about myself and the world. Some of those beliefs I still hold onto, and some have been dismantled by life, but their origins were with me last weekend and are here in this picture.
I would have liked more time with my former classmates, a second night of reuniting, maybe, when, thirty years of ice having been broken or at least chipped, I could learn more about their lives. Today I received a newsletter with more of the stories I wanted.
And I have a clearer understanding of who I am and where I’ve been because of reconnecting with some of the people who surrounded me when I was seventeen.