This past weekend I did something I have wanted to do since the early 70s… I got to attend the homecoming festivities in Mineola, TX, the town where I lived through the first half of my 7th grade year.
My memories of the friendships I had there and of the places we went when I was living there are quite vivid, even though I have basically not seen any of the people I was in school with since we moved away. I have found many of the people from that period of my life thanks to facebook and that led to my invitation to attend this weekend’s events.
Now I have been back to Mineola many times since 1972. In fact my mom and dad live there now, my brother and sister and their families have each lived there for a time too, but not me. When I would visit family that was it, I don’t recall seeing anyone I grew up with unless we bumped into someone at Walmart or my mom pointed them out at the grocery store… so in a way this trip was a bit intimidating at first, because I kept thinking that just because I remember these people, they may have forgotten all about me… after all, I was the one who left, not them.
I was pleasantly surprised at the reception I got from the core group of former classmates (Class of 1977) who welcomed me into their lives again. In fact, I had a blast. It didn’t matter anymore what any of us looked like…or how much we weighed…how gray our hair was…or any of those physical things that used to be so important. It was instead as if we had a connection that went beyond those things to a time when all our lives were less complicated… when the world was that way too.. less complicated. We talked about who had had a crush on who all those years ago.. we talked about our current families..husbands, wives, children, and grand children…. each of us eager to share a little bit of our world with the others… eager to find out about friends who were not able to make it for whatever reason… some were no longer with us… some facing serious illnesses now… others just decided not to come for one reason or another… some of them are already saying they plan to make it to the next get together. I hope they do, and that I get to be there as well. These people were an important part of my formative years. And while we sat and reminisced about years gone by, we also re-established friendships based on where we all are today. And I like that feeling.