In case you have been wondering why everything in my garden is dead, let me assure you it’s for a good reason. I spent last week on the Mississippi Gulf Coast with my high school classmates who were celebrating our “senior trip.” My bone-dry underdeveloped tomatoes being eaten by stink bugs were the furthest thing from my mind.
No, it wasn’t our high school or college graduation, this “senior trip” was to commemorate our recent matriculation into the Medicare-sucking, social security-drawing senior citizenship. But you wouldn’t know it if you happened to see us dancing until dawn or crying from laughter as we clowned around on
the beach. (Actually, we didn’t go to the beach because they don’t make full length Victorian bathing suits any longer, but the clowning part was very real.)
Okay, so we didn’t dance until dawn but we did make it past midnight which I haven’t done since New Years Eve at the turn of the twenty-first century.
We remembered the shimmering days of our youth, alternating periods of philosophical reflection with hooting hysterically as someone recalled a funny story from the 1950s or 60s. I laughed long and loud enough to add four new wrinkles to my face, but it was worth it.
There’s nothing like piecing together your past with lifetime friends. We met in the sandbox at Mrs. McClain’s nursery school in 1953 and have been meeting with increasing regularity ever since. When we get together, the years instantly fall away and we’re 16 again.
There was a period of time when we were preoccupied with raising our families and trying to climb our career ladders. With all that done, most of us have descended the ladder and gravitated back together like magnets. Now we’re making new memories – no easy task for the increasingly forgetful Baby Boomer generation.
I find myself giggling uncontrollably when I recall a story told by our chum, Ronnie, now a doctor in Jackson. He remembered fourth grade when a fellow student began turning blue and choking in class. The kid coughed up an entire pencil. For some reason that struck me as hilariously funny and I find myself chuckling all over again when I think of it. Funny, I was in the same class and had no memory of that event.
That’s one of the reasons our reunions work so well. We all have different recollections that allow us to piece together those the glory days as if they were a colorful puzzle. It makes me sad for today’s children whose summers are scripted from dawn to dusk with camps, soccer games, music lesson, all supplemented with TV and computer time.
Back in the day, our summer vacations entailed leaving home early morning and taking off on bikes to the public pool, followed by a double feature at the Ritz. Our parents had no idea where we were until well after dark when we were capping off the day with a twilight game of “Fox and Hounds”. Our weekly 50 cent allowance went a long way.
In those days, life’s complications were limited to not getting decapitated by the clothes line while darting through someone’s back yard to get home when your mother starting yelling for you.
I came home from Pass Christian refreshed and batteries recharged. We’ve got two more trips planned before the end of the year. I wonder if I can take a medical deduction on my taxes for “Medical Mental Health Therapy.”