Sunday, September 01, 2013
I wanted to attend our ten year. I'd been back in Indy for a couple of years, but I didn't get an invite until three days before the event and couldn't get out of work. This time around the organizers were much more on the ball and, thanks largely to Facebook, I knew about it well in advance. I had a small gathering at my house before the game with a two close friends from my class who would be staying with me over the weekend, and another wayward friend whom I had know since kindergarten, but hadn't seen, or even spoken to, in the twenty years since we moved our tassels from one side to the other and tossed our caps high in the air. As he walked in the door of my house childhood memories flooded in technicolor vibrance on fast forward through my mind. It was as if a missing part of my past had been downloaded back into my brain...from where, I do not know, but I'm happy to have it back.
That should have prepared me for what was to come. Those moments would happen over and over again, throughout the next 48 hours, as faces from the past became people in my present once more. My twenty year reunion was far more than just a gathering with people I had spent four years of my adolescence with. These were people I had known since childhood. The kids that I played with in my backyard when the Thunder Cats was our favorite cartoon and we argued over who would get to be Lion-O and wield the stick that we were using as the "Sword of Omens". These were the girls I had my first crushes on but was too afraid to tell. These were the people I had gotten into fights with, the people who had excluded me from their groups, and the people that I had excluded from mine. These were also the people whom I never noticed, and who never noticed me. The most amazing thing to me of all...without exception we greeted each other with broad smile and warm embrace. What made the difference, you might ask? Simple, from my perspective, the teenage angst was gone and, for many, we were able to be ourselves with one another for the first time since those early childhood years.
It was difficult for me to keep my emotions in check, especially when reconnecting with the people I had known the longest. When one of the kids that grew up around the corner from me, whom I don't even remember having a relationship with in high school even though we were still living in the same houses we grew up in and neither of our parents have moved to this day, introduced himself to me and then pulled me into a bear hug the moment I said my name, I fought to hold back tears. With each old connection that was reforged I found myself thinking...I almost didn't make it. So glad I did! Thanks to all involved for a wonderful reunion!