I’m a loner. I’m not a joiner. I don’t attend a church, am not a member of any clubs. My writing group in the closest thing to a “gang” I’ve ever been involved in……except for the four kids I hung around with in high school: Carol, Roland, Margaret Ann and Mark.
We hung out together a lot, mostly in Roland’s room. He had the best stereo and we were all into music. I could walk to his house. He also had a car and we all fit into it. Roland dated Carol, who was a couple of grades ahead of us in school. Mark, Margaret Ann, Roland and I were all in the same grade, all in the same home room; we worked on the school yearbook together. We had some great adventures.
I lost track of them after graduation. I’ve never attended a high school reunion. I moved away from the hometown several years ago, and since my father died, have little reason to return. And then because I wanted to “keep an eye” on the emotional status of my son, I did the Facebook thing….and suddenly hometown folks dropped into my life again. Not anyone I really knew at first. But one day there it was…..a friend request from one of my old “gang”….from Carol.
I was happy to answer that request! Carol was someone I’d always looked up to. She was popular, blonde, pretty and had a boyfriend: I longed to be just like her. We chatted back and forth and arranged to get together at our camper.
What a lovely Sunday we had! The hours flew by as we caught up on the lives we’ve led the past forty years. Carol did not judge me for leaving the old hometown to follow my dreams, encouraged me to attend my next class reunion coming up in a couple of years, even offered to go with me. From the moment she drove up to the camper, she brought with her the ease and comfort I remembered her always having with her. I still carry loads of respect for Carol. I still want to be just like her.
I doubt I’ll go to that class reunion. Others won’t be as nice as Carol. They’ll point out the extra pounds (behind my back, of course, and not nicely) and gossip about the son who’s been in and out of jail and the daughter who doesn’t talk to me. They won’t acknowledge the good things; that’s often how it is in small towns, one of the reasons I longed to escape.
But I will keep in touch with Carol, for she remains the same in such a good way. And how often can we say that? I certainly hope to. I’m looking forward to seeing her again soon.