I attended the 45th reunion of the Plainville High School, class of 1971 a few weeks ago. It was four days of clean air, green landscapes and a serious overload of memories. Good memories. Seriously, all good. At least now they are.
We all know that growing up is hard work. Hard work for parents and hard work for the one doing the growing. If it were not so natural or the alternative so, well, final, no one would do it. There is drama, trauma, and unknown stuff all around everyday. When one is as blessed as I was, this is set among a loving, safe, happy and secure family who knows how much to let go while being there for the falls. Looking back I know I was blessed to be raised in the location and family I was. The school I attended was a big part of all of that experience.
There were sixty-three in our graduating senior class and, although I have not actually counted, at least half were in my kindergarten class. That’s right, I attended 13 years of public school with the same core group of classmates. That includes most of the twelve who have passed on.
I was the youngest in the class all thirteen years, which was challenging for me socially but about right academically. Ours was and is a good group of people. We had good teachers who were varied in their methods which were discussed at the reunion. Some were strict, even “mean”, some were temperamental, others kind, yet challenging. We respected them all. The senior boys were especially respectful of a couple of the younger female teachers with great legs! For the most part we got along and although there were groups of friends, there were no serious clicks, at least not that I remember. I attribute that to the example of our elected class leaders and sponsors.
Oh of course we gossiped, had our moments of drama and even a bully or two, but the values of the day seemed to keep things civil and within a certain set of boundaries. Boundaries that were tested regularly and found to be sturdy yet flexible.
The two evenings with my classmates were full of catching up and smiles. There was a memorial for the twelve who have passed on. I was surprised at the tears that welled when I viewed the remembrance table. I had heard about each when they died, but seeing the group all together was sobering. We told stories on ourselves all in good fun. The odd thing is that I always felt like an outsider. In some ways I still do. It is not a rational feeling and has no basis in fact, but rather in insecurities that shadowed me into my early 20s.
I went through a transforming season at that time. An encounter with Jesus Christ as I had never known. I was a Christian, born again at a young age, thanks to the Methodist Church we attended and the influence of the Rev. Billy Graham. I was in church my entire life, but was dogged by insecurity, a form of fear. I didn’t even know it was there, it just was. Once I saw that this was something not really me, I let it go and was free never to go back. It was an exercise in seeing myself as God sees me and in forgiveness. Not toward anyone but rather of a season of shadows that were not supposed to be there. Now, when I visit the places of my childhood I can remember those feelings but know they are not me. Never were, I just did not understand that at the time.
So now, even though I remember the feeling of being an outsider, I know I was and am not. I admire the lives of those I went to school with. Many have made a life not far from my hometown, some left and returned. Others, like myself made a life elsewhere but are still attached to this location, if for nothing else, as the place they went to school. Our class motto is “The Past Forever Gone – The Future Still Our Own”. What a great way to live. Letting go of youthful trauma, drama, skinned knees and wounded feelings; of failures, disappointments and even injustices and looking to what lies ahead. Even after 45 years, the class of 1971 is still moving forward. Bravo.
Is there some aspect of your past you are still living in that needs to be let go so that your can continue the journey of your Stonebridge? It is only a breath away.