It began with the tentative fumblings of name tags with pictures – photographs from a lifetime ago, hanging beneath the faces of people we had not seen for years, maybe decades. We queued up for drinks and clung at first to the familiar – spouses, and the friends we had remained close to. There was almost a stutter step beginning to the affair, but then slowly, the room filled and exclamations of recognition slipped into conversations, and soon, laughter, hugs, and klatches of people truly glad to see one another again.
Whatever old boundaries once existed, vanished in the remembrances we had created in the hallways where we first started to find ourselves; where we began the journey of discovery that is high school.
As disparate as our lives and geographies have become, I was taken by what we shared this weekend. Faces and figures were softened by time and yet the stories we told were as sharp as if they had happened yesterday. Long ago friendships blurred into a group affection, paused only briefly into silence as we watched a tribute to those who had passed.
We collected our thoughts and moved on and the evening refused to end. When the hotel announced it was over, we moved outside and released orange crepe lanterns fueled by flames into the night sky. The silence was palpable. For a moment we were alone with our thoughts.
By brunch-time Sunday morning it was no longer a reunion, just lifelong acquaintances getting to know one another a little better. We traded emails and business cards and promised we'd do it again.
When I sat down to pen this column I intended it as a thank you to our classmates who put this all together and did such a flawless job. But now, back home on a Sunday night in Brooklyn, the gratitude feels wider. I helicoptered into Maryland as a nervous 9th grader on an uncertain path. This weekend, I realized we all were in the same boat.
For all the reminisces we traded over the past two days, it's clear that those four years at RHS delivered so much more than memories. We were blessed with friendships, that time and age and the inexorable pace of change have done nothing to fade.