The first thing that I want to say about my trip back to my home town, Tulsa, OK, and my attendance at a junior high school reunion is that I am absolutely glad that I went. The highlight of the reunion for me was reconnecting with with Susie, a very good friend from my elementary school years. She is on the left in the picture below.
Susie and Gayle
Susie and I were in the same class from kindergarten through 6th grade, took dance classes together. had many sleepovers and spent our summers at the same golf and swim club (where the Saturday night reunion event was held....a serendipity for us). Sharing memories with her and catching up on her life now as a mother, grandmother and church youth director was the best and most memorable part of the reunion for me.
There were others that it was fun to see and do some catching up with, but the surprising thing for me these many years later was that a lot of people didn't seem too interested in visiting with anyone that wasn't a part of their "group" from their school years. I'm sure that was partly because some of them still lived in Tulsa and had stayed friends or at least had some connection with each other over time. I guess I was naive to expect some of those cliquish attitudes to fall by the wayside with maturity. The good news is that it didn't bother me like it might have many years ago. One of the things that everyone seemed to agree about was that we were all fortunate to grow up in a great place in a great time.
The other part of my short trip that was really good was staying with my cousin who lives on the street where I grew up and having time to visit with him and his wife and drive around Tulsa to see things that were the same and things that had changed. This connection with family was definitely the best part of my trip.
On Sunday I went to visit my 94 year old aunt, one of two of the eight children from my mother's family who is still living. She is an absolute inspiration and role model for growing old gracefully. She still lives independently, is totally mentally connected and lives with a positive attitude that makes her a joy to spend time with.
Well, this trip is done and dusted and now I am looking forward to trips to New Orleans and Hawaii in May and June. I can now say I have been to a school reunion. Time will tell how I respond to an invitation to the next one.