Proctor's Hall

Our Sewanee reunion is now past, and I realize that I haven’t written anything since returning. Part of that has to do with the fact that since quitting his job, HK and I have been consumed with future plans,  including covering our health insurance needs and figuring out what to do with our houses.  Ok, that’s a great excuse. In all honesty, it’s bullshit.

Anyway, the real reason I haven’t written anything is because my head has been swimming with thoughts and emotions after having come home and reflected on the events of our 4 days together on the mountain after so so many years. I’ve tried to describe it to my husband (who did not attend–most spouses didn’t), but his eyes just glaze over and his mind drifts to far away places. Having not been to boarding school, isolated on top of a foggy mountain, I imagine that it would be impossible for him to grasp the experience.

Tracy and I drove into the campground on a cold, foggy Thursday morning. It was a typical Sewanee day, as Sewanee means “fog” in some Indian language.  After checking in the campground staff and the adorable 21 year-old Drew (who quickly became our adopted son), we were greeted by the ever-smiling, long and lanky Stretch. OMG! I hadn’t seen the boy since 1977, but there he was in all his glory, even cuter than I remembered. Instant warmth, and more so as we proceeded to tap the keg (gotta be an ale-cheap beer makes me lose weight says Stretch) and got a bonfire going.

Green's View

It wasn’t long before others began dribbling in, and by that first night, we had a dozen old friends doing what we did so many years ago, drinking beer around a fire.

The next day brought a dozen more, and the mountain was full of giddy school kids in aging bodies.  While I didn’t know a few of the women who had left Sewanee before I got there my junior year, I was amused to hear their introduction. “Hey, I’m Beth, I got booted in ’75”, “Well, I got booted the next semester…” and so on. To identify so fully with peers that for one reason or another were there, and then they weren’t, felt very natural and un- forced. “We’re like family” was something I heard several times that weekend.

One day was spent hiking our old haunts around the mountains that had been home. Albeit our asses were wider and knees stiffer, we all had a blast climbing up and around Proctor’s Hall and other landmarks that made these mountains home. I had to laugh as we passed the bottles of wine as groups of students would come hiking by. I imagined them thinking,  “just who are these fossils and why are they here?”

In a (rare) moment of introspection, I paused to take a look around the campsite. Here was a group of people who had continued to flourish and grow for 30 or more years after leaving our shared histories at Sewanee. One of the friends that I made at the reunion was a Bill, a guy from my class that I never, for one reason or another, really got to know.  He reminded me of something that was said by a faculty advisor during commencement…

” I recall that during our commencement ceremony, Max Cornelius instructed us to look at the people sitting next to us and realize that we would never be sitting with these people in just this way ever again. He was telling us to be in the moment.”  Bill’s reaction at the time was the same as mine- “fuck it- i’m outta here!”

But then, sitting around that fire, I relished the fact that we had each refused to let life get in the way and had made the collective effort to be together once again.

For days (weeks, even) following our reunion, many attendees expressed how badly they realized they missed each other. A few people started a post to start a community living situation together. Maybe it was the afterglow of love and togetherness talking. Maybe not. I do know that when we were together, many of us felt that in some way, we had come “home”. I did. And I plan to revisit my family more often.

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Cravens cafeteria at Sewanee Academy

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.

 

The Cross

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.

Holey Moley!  What in the world have i gotten myself into this time????

Last year i hooked up with my old buddy from Sewanee Academy (a boarding high school), and we went back to our old stomping grounds and spend a very successful day (and night) of reuniting.

This spring, Martina and I got together again, this time with two other old Sewanee classmates, for a long weekend that left us all with a sense of reborn kinship and rejuvenation.  We have since stayed in touch, and 3 of us had an impromptu cocktail party when we discovered that we would all  be in Destin, Fla. for Memorial Day weekend.

I have also reconnected with several old peeps from my past, and have found that some of these relationships are just as, if not more, fulfilling than some more current ones.

Anyway, I got a call from Martina a couple of months ago. It went something like this…

“Potsie! I have a proposition for you!” (My nickname at Sewanee, and on into college was Potsie, but I won’t go into details here.)

“‘What’s up, Martina? Want to meet in Sewanee again?”

“No! I want you to come to Disney World with me and Sara Beth (her 15 year old daughter). She thinks you’re the coolest!!”

Well, how can I resist that offer? I mean, I never had kids, but for some strange reason that is beyond me, teenagers have always thought  I was the shit (that is meant in good ways).

A couple of my friend’s kids call me “Auntie Jules”, and confide secrets and problems to me. I’m a good listener, and they know that I’m gonna tell them my honest opinion, because I remember all too well hating the bullshit that adults fed me when I was a teenager.

So now, at this moment, I am packing my suitcase and heading to the airport bright and early in the morning. I’m staying 4 days in a house they’ve rented, then we’re driving the long haul back from Orlando to Atlanta. This is gonna be very interesting, to say the least.  Check back for the story!

All I can say is, Watch Out Mickey!


Bondage can be a GOOD thing!

Sewanee Gals @ Shenanigans

I’m on cloud 9.  I have just returned from an absolutely amazing weekend in the rolling hills of Tennessee.  And yes, it was because of facebook, once again.

As you may remember, I reunited w/ my old Sewanee Academy friend “Martina” a year ago.  It was my first facebook-generated face-to-face, and I was nervous as a whore in church! But it worked out beautifully.  We vowed to do it again, soon.

So about a month ago, I turned on my computer and I had a new friend request! Ohhhhhh!! I LOVE getting “friended”, (unless it’s from someone I don’t know or didn’t like,) so I clicked accept, and there she was!  Beth, an old dorm-mate from back in my Sewanee days.  Not even a week later, same thing.  Accept friend request. Tracy!!!! OMG WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN????”   Well, you know the drill…back and forth the 4 of us, yadda yadda yadda, giddy as shit with tons of questions.

Having gone to the funeral of an old Sewanee classmate 2 years ago (who just happened to be Martina’s ex-husband), I made a promise to myself that I would make an effort to revisit those people that had made an impact (good, not bad) on my past. I have lost too many friends unexpectedly without having had the chance to tell them how I felt, that I loved them. That was before I was on facebook, tho, and my efforts to make contact were mostly in vain.  Enter facebook and, well, you know that story.

So, last weekend, with very little (more…)

It’s Spring! (Even though it feels like summertime here in Atlanta, Ga, at 90 degrees). When I look back over past entries on my site from last spring, I realize that this is a time for rebirth, renewal, and reunions!

So, in a matter of days, I have not one, but two reunions with old fiends- er, I mean friends, to attend!

Saturday, my old buds that I knew back in Harlan, Ky., will descend upon my home here in Atlanta for FIVE days! YIKERS!!!! They are the friends, if you followed my blog last fall, that I met in Sedona for a rendezvous.    So, we had such a good time together on that trip that we agreed to convene here this spring.  (Drunk-talk, you know—who ever thought it would actually come to fruition????)

So Debbie called me a couple of months ago and told me she got her ticket.  Okay…Next up was Bertha.  Alright. It’s a plan, man.

So…about a month ago, I found two old buds from a completely other life (Sewanee Academy–boarding school, after I pulled the shit that Bertha and Debbie know me for.)  Well, as happens when you first reconnect w/ old friends on facebook, we were all squealy and shit (as squealy as you can get on the computer, anyway). Oooohhhh…we HAVE to get together!!! So we contacted another old partner in crime, Martina, who I reconnected w/ last year, and made the plan. Turns out, the only time the 4 of us could get together was the day after Debbie and Bertha leave.

At first, I considered this a slight problem. But having gone over it in my mind, I actually see this as a really cool thing. For one thing, the two groups and I had very different relationships in the past. Bertha and I knew each other since second grade.  We were mutually respectful of one another growing up through the years, but I don’t think that we ever actually told each other that until our Sedona reunion. Debbie? She was actually one of my first partners in crime, (in the 7th and 8th grades) spending the night and sneaking out, meeting boys, smoking cigarettes, until her parents made her go to the county school to get away from “bad influences”.  I didn’t see her after that until that same Sedona trip last year, where we realized that we were still those two little trouble-makers from way back.

Enter my Sewanee peeps. We’ve got Martina, Tracy and Beth. We’re meeting at Martina’s sister’s lakehouse in Tennessee for 3 days. None of us (except me and Martina)  have  seen or talked to each other since 1977.  And even though we only knew each other for a year and a half, we shred a dorm, a bathroom, the mess hall, and daily life together over that time. Since there were only about 30 girls in that dorm, we got to be serious confidants in a short span of time. I anticipate our time together next week to be a completely different dynamic than the Harlan girls, yet I have no idea what to expect.

I do know that i am  feeling the love,  the joy and the excitement of reconnecting with strong women that played a big part of my past, and hoping that they’ll be playing a big part in my future!

So tune in next week for an update. I’ll be posting from my cell over at the State Mental Hospital. (Hmmmm…anybody interested in a time-share at the Betty Ford Clinic??)

crazycatlady

Well, I’m back from my trip to Tennessee to visit my old classmate–I’ll call her “Martina” to spare her any embarrassment. As you recall, i was quite nervous about what I had commited to in going to stay a night. Nervous, but excited. On the 4-hour drive I played all my old 70’s cd’s, especially Fleetwood Mac and Bob Seger, singing at the top of my lungs.

When I arrived, i was happy (but not surprised) to find her just as beautiful as she ever was. Martina was alsway “the pretty one” in our circle, especially at our 10-year high-school reunion. She seemed normal. She has a 15 year old daughter who joined us on the porch to catch-up, as she had heard lot’s of tales about her Mom and “Potsie”–my identity for many years. Things were going swimmingly until (more…)