Steve and I drove to Carmel this weekend so that I could see my buddies from high school at a small reunion 40 years down the line. This wasn't a regular high school reunion, which we eschew, it is a gathering of Merry Pranksters from the Grey Fox Alternative High School, that we, ourselves, founded in the mid seventies. I was on the verge of dropping out of high school because I saw no relevance there, no spark of learning, only rote and bells and attendance calls. It was a grand experiment by some kids and teachers who decided there had to be more to our high school education. In any case, it kept me in school. The thrill of developing curriculum that would speak to us, teach us skills we valued, and take us out of the bland box of standard pedagogy.
After high school we all went our separate ways, off to college and adult lives far from our home town. Some remained, choosing the beauty and familiarity of Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey and Carmel Valley. Who wouldn't? Some raised children, others did not. Some have been coupled since those heady days, but many of us have switched partners twice, or three times. One of the traits that define this small group of people, however, is our creativity. Whether established artists or fine crafts people, many of us have led the life of the artist while keeping our day jobs.
On Saturday we looked through old yearbooks, ate great food that we made (with a little help from delicious pizza from a shop), drank wine that was made my one of our husbands. We were treated to a guitar performance by same said husband, laughed and hugged and marveled at one another.
It was a casual affair in a park, as is our way. It was perfection. 5 lazy hours shifting between sun and shade, sharing stories old and new.
Some of us have remarkably good memories. One friend sang I song that I wrote in high school and I did not even remember it! I had him sing it again and sure enough, small bits of tangible memory came back to me. This was a fellow that joined me in a love of guitar playing and song writing. Good lawd but he has a crystal clear memory!
Of course there were the jokes about getting older. We're all between 58 and 61. Stories of brains turned to mush, bodies that are ailing, spouses who have been ill and some that have died. The Circle Game.
Many times, high school reunions are about showing off the riches of one's life. People struggle ahead of time to lose weight in order to look their 'best.' With this group, however, we consider each other to be one of the best riches of our lives. The enduring friendships that are now made easier with social media. We're mostly still the off-beat, funky, hippie types we were in high school. Quilt makers, bread bakers, musicians, painters, inventors, teachers and massage therapists.
Of course Steve got on with them all. I knew he would.
We began the weekend by having dinner Friday with a dear friend from college whom I don't get to see that often. But we love, love, love one another. Bliss. We ended the weekend swinging through Santa Cruz to have breakfast with my daughter and her family before heading home.
It was a spectacularly love-packed weekend, and I'm full to the brim.