Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Old Friends and New Old Friends

by Maggie Sefton

Last Saturday I went to my first high school reunion. My high school was Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, VA. I'd never been to any of the previous reunions, mostly because our family no long lived in the Arlington, VA (Northern VA) area. We lived out of state and it was either impractical or too costly to spend money on a class reunion trip involving airline travel years ago. But my dear friends, Nancy & Diane, who grew up across the street from me in Arlington, VA, had gone to their first reunion a few years ago. They told me how much they enjoyed the occasions and encouraged me to attend the next scheduled get-together. The timing was perfect this year because the reunion date fell right in the middle of the time period when I planned to return to Northern VA to work on the Molly Malone mysteries and visit family and old friends.

I had read through the list of attendees and noticed several names jumped out at me, indicating that those people were most probably
class leaders or members of the Student Council. Our high school class was large like most of the Baby Boom Generation, over 800 students. I made most of my friends from my music activities, specifically the High School Choir. I had a lot of acquaintances in classes, but, most of my friends were in the choral groups.

I figured I wouldn't recognize anyone that evening, and that was true. Hey. . .we'd all aged, so we looked a heckuva lot different than we did years ago. But I did what I always do when meeting a group of strangers: I wandered around and spoke to people all over the hotel banquet room. There were nearly 200 people who showed up, not a bad turnout. I've always met great people in my wandering and chatting, and I wasn't disappointed this time.

When I chose a seat at one of the dining tables, I learned the husband and wife to my right, Jim and Rita, grew up close to my old neighborhood. Jim had attended the same elementary school my friends Nancy & Diane and I had. His house was several blocks away, so we never saw each other walking to school. Rita lived closer but attended the neighborhood parochial school for St. Charles Catholic Church. So, we never met either. But she did know my next door neighbors quite well because they all attended the same parochial school. She'd tran
sferred to Washington-Lee High School when we all did, and that's how she met her future husband.

We really enjoyed sharing old memories and establishing new connections. The lady to my left, Sandra, kept me laughing with her memories of former classmates. Add to that a surprisingly good hotel banquet dinner (I have to eat a lot of those in my line of work, so I've gotten pretty tired of the usual fare) and an excellent Golden Oldies Rock band making music, it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. And---I made some new friends.

How about you? Have you attended a high school or college reunion yet? How was it?

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