Thursday, May 23, 2013

Another Stroll Down Memory Lane

I flew to Western Massachusetts last weekend to attend my 35th “high school” reunion. To say that both my heart and my mind were filled with sentimental nostalgia is somewhat of an understatement. Driving into Pittsfield from Boston was fun. My friend Caroline and I spent the time catching up and comparing notes as to what our expectations were. As we turned off the Mass. Turnpike and headed north towards Pittsfield, things seemed to be vaguely familiar. It was as if our memories were starting to awaken after a long slumber.

Memory is a wonderful thing… when it works. My Mother always told me that I had an incredible memory, and I would agree for the most part. Yet it is always somewhat surprising when I hear another person’s perception of a shared memory that contradicts my own memory. For example, my sister and I were recently regaling my cousin about the time she dumped a milkshake on my head. I had done something equally obnoxious to warrant such retaliation from her. We both agreed on that. We both had that same memory. Yet we differed on “where” it happened. I am certain that it happened at Wendy’s. She is certain that it happened at Arby’s. We both think we’re right, yet clearly, one of us is wrong. Which is it? Personally, I don’t really care. It’s just slightly annoying to spend time wondering who’s right and whose wrong, when I know I’m right. I’m kidding… because in reality, I have no clue, and have digressed.

As I sat at the opening banquet last Friday night, filled with wonder at being back at the school that I love so much, a place where I found myself, a place that saved my life, I looked around the room, filled with fellow alumni… who all appeared to love the School as much as I did. And the stories that were told… some familiar, some “new to me” resulted in laughter and maybe a few tears. Of course there were the kind of variations that come with gossip and rumors. Laughing at our antics in days gone by, I was vaguely aware of feeling… some sort of surprise when I heard of something that had happened right under my nose. “That really happened?” I’d ask. And apparently it did. Of course, I realize that it’s impossible to know everything that happened. And it was fun to see other’s having similar reactions. Someone described it as gaps in our memories coming alive, almost like finding missing pixels from a digitized photo… one blurry, now a bit more clear.

The weekend flew by. It was a wonderful time- reconnecting with friends… connecting with new friends, who have in common a very special place called Miss Hall’s School. It's comforting to know, that we change, places change... many things stay the same.  With appreciation for the many changes we discovered, there was still so much that had stayed the same.  And for that, I was and am incredibly grateful.

Miss Hall's School Alma Mater

In lofty splendor, stand the Berkshires fair,
And there we know no sorrow, pain or care,
For there we always happy are -- and free.
Oh loyal Gold and Blue we sing to thee.

In after years when we are far apart,
Thy name will always ring in every heart.
No matter how far distant we may be,
Oh MHS we will remember thee.

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