Do you go back?
I’ll be honest. I have not been a great Re-uner myself. But I thought I should give this one a try.
Emma looks great. In fact, it crossed my mind while I was there that the Emma Willard campus is more beautiful than we are. Almost.
It is an ‘interesting’ experience, heading back to a boarding school you attended 40 years ago. A school where you spent three years of your teenaged life, from ages 14 to 17.
14 to 17. Yes, in many ways we grown and capable, and yet we were so, so young, looking back. High school, and boarding school, and the ’70’s. It was such a period of transition; years of angst and empowerment both.
Our immediate context was hippies to prototypical preppies. Landlubber jeans and bell bottoms, to painter’s pants and Levis 501’s. Hiking boots, clogs and Dr. Scholl’s to Kork-Ease’s platform sandals. Flannel shirts and sweater vests to Fair Isle sweaters. Indian print t-shirts, and embroidered peasant blouses. 13 button wool sailor pants from the Army Navy Surplus stores, and 50’s circle skirts from Goodwill. Layla, The Dead and Bread. The Firesign Theater. All ‘vintage’ now, as we are.
(Not to mention The Vietnam War, The Pentagon Papers, Nixon in China, the voting age to 18, Watergate, and Roe v. Wade.)
In those years, you knew your classmates by the childhood nicknames they no longer use. You have to remind yourself, case by case, if you’re allowed to call out “Kitty”, or “Bucko”, or “Dimmie.” Sometimes you are allowed, because you knew them when…
But here’s the amazing thing, having just spent three days and two nights in the company of those supposedly vanished girls: we were then who we are now. The consistency of personalities and outlook is astonishing to me.
The optimists are optimistic. The critics are critical. The elusive are still pretty darn hard to pin down.
Here’s the thing, ladies. You are great company. As you were then, as you are now. You are honest. You are brave. There was sadness and joy in the sharing. And empathy, understanding, encouragement, approval, and safety. There was love.
I enjoyed my time with you.
I may turn into a re-uner after all.