As you know, I have been having a very public love affair with facebook for the past 2 ½ years. Through my virtual lover, I have reconnected with many, many old aquaintances. Social Media has become an entirely new way to socialize, and I find myself running to my computer upon entering my house after any absences of more than, say, 30 minutes. And, facebook never lets me down. There is always a new post from someone, leading to comments from others that I know or have become familiar with through this whole crazy web of “friends” and “friends of friends”.
Having had a fist full of face to face reunions with old buddies, and reminiscing about “the good old days”, I started a page for facebook users that at one time or another attended my old high school alma mater, Sewanee Academy. Being a boarding school, we lost touch, in most cases, right after graduation.
After hooking up online w/ one old bud, we started online chatting about getting us all together in the spring. Since he’s a teacher, we decided it would be during his spring break, which just happens to be 1), April Fools Day, and 2) My birthday. Coincidence? Who knows. More like kismet, methinks.
I regard the rapidly approaching date with a head full of mixed emotions. About 20 of us will be coming together to rekindle old ties and make some new ones. I suspect there will be some healing taking place, as well.
From the hundreds of posts that have taken off on the FB page, someone posted the question “What’s your worst memory from Sewanee?”
The gate to the bullring opened up. Most of the posts were humorous: “pissing on theean’s head from the second floor window”, some sad: “leaving”, “breaking up with my BF”, but a few held on to some past resentments. “Getting busted by xxx” and “getting turned in by xxx and being thrown out of school”.
So one girl from my dorm, Phyllis, described being bullied by “mean girls.” I paused for thought. Had I been one of those girls? I don’t think so, but back in those days, we were all so wrapped up in our own personal drama that maybe we had been cruel to others. I remembered feeling judged by some and the ensuing insecurities that plagued me as I carried on living among this diverse group of strangers.
We were here for a variety of reasons, some from broken homes with broken parents, some were “broken” themselves, others had found too much trouble back at home (or maybe were just too much trouble…) and still others came here for the sake of a better education. (Imagine that!)
Regardless of why we were there, the fact remains that we were, so we had to make it work as best we could. It still amazes me that a mixture of so many personalities could live 24/7 in such tight confinement with so few conflicts. Sure, there were bound to be those that one didn’t like for whatever reason, that is a fact of life, but…
I sent Phyllis a private email. Had I been one of the mean girls? Because if I had, I don’t remember. But if I was, I am truly sorry.
She promptly “faced” me back. Not me, not at all. I was relieved, but realized that somewhere in even questioning myself, I probably had some amends to make. Somewhere. To somebody.
Then, as I see so many posts from so many former classmates facing the same self-doubts or even regrets from our shared history, I realize that we have all grown up, now, and moved on from what damage may have been done those 30-some-odd years ago. I think the only “amends” needed to be made are to ourselves.
So to all my classmates and teachers that I will have the pleasure of re-visiting this weekend, ( and the ones who can’t make it, as well,) let’s pull the bandages off any old sores and allow the fresh mountain air to collectively heal our wounds. Each of you had an impact on me in one way or another, and for that, I love you.