We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it – AA Promises
Recently I had lunch with classmate I had not seen in nearly 40 years – no make that nearly 50 years – a friend from grade school. Long story, shortened goes like this:
- The classmate used Facebook to track down 1966 graduates from elementary school
- occasional reunions are held but I am too far out-of-town or out-of-country when they occur
- we stay somewhat engaged on FB,
- I was going to be in my hometown recently, we got together for lunch.
And there is more truth-telling in all of this. Typically, I am absolutely petrified of such reunion experiences. I recollect being a miserable kid, wholly embarrassed by my very existence. I began to drink alcohol by the time I hit the 5th grade and was a total mess before graduating high school. I am always quite nervous to walk down the memory lane of those years.
The classmate suggested we meet for lunch at a local hangout still around today. The last time I remember being in the place was in grade school. As extremely cool delinquents of the mid-1960s, another fellow and I had walked in, picked up some snack foods, walked up to the elderly cashier and said “Hey, we are stealing this” and we ran out, knowing we would not be caught. The last time I saw that fellow he had a rag filled with glue in his mouth. I am told he went on to design nuclear power plants, but I digress.
The recent lunch meeting with my classmate was quite good. We sat and told our mutual stories for about 2 hours. I was quite surprised by the very similar ‘philosophy of life’ directions we both ended up taking – living into the solution, not dwelling in the problem, being open to possibilities. We were both blue collar kids that grew up in the shadow of the auto factories of the midwest. In fact, our hometown existed solely because of employment in the auto plants. She expressed regret that she had gone straight from high school to work. She retired at the age of 48 and through work and pleasure has traveled to six of the seven continents. We talked about the value of sharing meals with folks in their homes across the globe. In our conversation, I realized we had traveled different but sometimes parallel paths over the years.
At the end of our lunch she told me that some 6 – 8 of our 1966 class get together on the last Thursday of the month at the hangout. The next time I come up north, I will try to arrange for the trip to include one of those Thursdays.
A few years ago our elementary school was torn down. I went to the spot and there was no trace that a building had ever stood on the spot, except for a small pile of bricks. I assume they were left by the demolition crew for folks such as me who want to take back some bit of their past. In recovery, I have learned to learn from and embrace the whole self of the past, present, and future.