Tuesday, March 26, 2013
When my 25th high school reunion was approaching, my high school friend Theresa emailed to ask if I were going to attend. (I have lost touch with Theresa over the years.)
“I’m healing from brain tumors and have disabilities, and I need to travel with my partner who is working that week, so I won’t be able to go,” I emailed.
“Wow!” Theresa responded. “Brain tumors and a partner all in one sentence!”
Theresa was such a good friend in high school. Every Easter since high school, I remember the Easter basket she made for me one Easter when we were celebrating our spring break at the beach with lots of other teenagers. There were colorful eggs and yellow and pink Peeps, a chocolate bunny and a bright bow in a brightly woven basket. On top was a note that I still have: “This is the day that the Lord hath made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it! Psalm 118:24”
Theresa’s email made me think about how far we live from each other and how little we know now, and perhaps we knew even then, of one another’s lives.
Recently, I have been back in touch with another high school friend, Becky, who was sweet and a bit gullible as I remember and so I called her “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm,” after a novel. I’m not sure how Becky and I got in touch again—maybe Facebook. I learned on Facebook that she has written a memoir called French by Heart: An American Family’s Adventures in La Belle France. (I’m pretty sure her title’s a mix of French and English: Franglish—a little known cousin to Spanglish.)
I love hearing Becky’s voice again as I read her story. I also love learning about her life now (or then): she and her husband Todd had three kids, a girl and two boys. (I only knew about their daughter Sarah, the oldest. The last time I saw Becky was when Sarah was a newborn and we took a walk around their suburban block. The last time we talked was about my coming out as a lesbian.)
As I read Becky's memoir, I learn from asides here and there of some details of her high school inner life, details I didn’t know at the time. For instance, she loved her piano (I didn’t even know she played!), and she loved her French teacher, who made her a Francophile. (I didn’t even know she took French!)
These musings make me wonder how well my high school friends knew me, too, and then I wonder if my current friends know me—and I know them—as well as I think we do. Maybe we are all mysteries to one another. Which makes sense because I have learned that I am more often than I would think a mystery to myself.
This summer I will travel to NC for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, and if I am lucky Becky will come to NC while I am there. If this happens, I wonder if we will recognize the friend that we knew in one another so long ago. Though we didn't know the details of one another's lives, was there some elemental connection that will survive the course of time?