Friday, February 22, 2013
A Trip Home
In November of last year, I got an email through Clasmates.com from a guy I graduated with. I have not been in touch with any of my classmates, had not seen many of them since we graduated almost 50 years ago, but he was informing me that there is a monthly class breakfast in a restaurant just outside my home town. I was glad to hear from him (he was one of those popular boys that all the girls had a crush on) and i thanked him for the information and filled it away, thinking it would be a nice thing to do.......someday. My email adores was added to the list, and I had been getting monthly updates. Then after Fasnacht Day (Fat Tuesday) I got an email from the classmate who originally organized the breakfasts, talking about Fasnachts and reminding everyone of the next class breakfast. Again, I thought it would be a nice thing to do, and if I wanted to do it I really should before going back to work. I put the date on my calendar as a 'maybe,' knowing full well that the day would come and there would be a good possibility that I would talk myself out of going. Yesterday was the day, and even though I told my regular walk partner that I could not meet that day, I woke up and wondered why I wanted to go. After all, I did not have much in common with these people back in school, I traveled in different circles and hung with different kids. I gave myself a good talking to.......the weather was perfect and I go back to work next week........the conditions were ideal for the trip. I forced myself in the shower, butterflies in my stomach and headed out. I got to the restaurant and told the waitress I was there for the class breakfast. She directed me to the banquet room where there was already several people there, I recognized no one. Taking a deep breath, I walked up to a woman and said, "Hi, I'm Linda Williamson." The name felt strange on my lips, I had not used it for well over 40 years. She gave me a hug and a name I did not recognize....we were a rather large class by the standards of the day, and unless we were close alphabetically or took the same courses, I didn't know all of my classmates. A man came up, greeting me.......his name was one I knew. I walked around, introducing myself and hugging these strangers.....some I remembered, and some I could even look in their faces and see the teenagers they once were. We found seats, I sat between two women I didn't remember, but found out that we now had common interests. The woman to my right loves the theater and musicals, the one to my left was actually on the same bus trip I had been on back in May. Some remembered I had a sister, one remembered going to Girl Scout meetings at my home. One of the guys reminded me that he and I were voted the noisiest boy and nosiest girl in our class; I got an email from him last night telling me how wonderful it was to see me. There was actually only one person that I recognized, and that was the one who originally contacted me..........and I only knew him because we are Facebook friends and i had seen a recent picture of him. We were at a large U shaped table configuration, and just like in school.....the girls at one side and the boys at the other. I had met most of the girls, and was asking about the guys..........ah, I had such a crush on that one and needed to go say hello. And that one was a distant cousin, had to share a hug and greet him also. I could not help but think back to the girl I used to be, and while never a quiet girl, I was always a bit shy with those I didn't know. I was always one to sit on the sidelines, wishing I had the nerve to do things. That girl is no more. If I needed any more convincing that she was gone, it was yesterday as it as I sat among my teenage peers full of confidence and self-assurance. How easy it would have been to talk myself out of going or to just sit there and wait for everyone to come to me, then condemn them when they didn't and chalk it all up to a bad idea. It is a fact: one needs to get out of ones comfort zone and put oneself out there to grow and stretch ones limits. I know it has been said before, and with much more style than I have said it, but the fact is still the fact. I would have missed a wonderful time with great people had I not forced those butterflies down and stepped into the unknown. New adventures are always a bit scary, but you just never know what lies beyond.