It's Halloween. Not much different than any other day. However, I feel like a bit of a Zombie or some sort of Mummy. Or, something. Let me explain.
I have been online with several classmates from my old high school years. We're planning our 40th reunion for homecoming time next year. Because of these conversations I've been teleported down memory lane and into the old photo containers.
Where did the girl I used to be go? The ready smile. The pretty blonde hair. The normal weight. Life without any concerns more serious than whether or not my crush of the week would notice me in the hall or in class.
Some things haven't changed. I'm still talking. Looking at the photos it seems I always had my mouth open. But, the laughter that always accompanied the words isn't so forthcoming these days. I wasn't popular, but I wasn't ostracized either. Kids can be so cruel in every generation. I guess I was part of the "invisible" group. We were there. We were accepted. And, we were happy.
I tell my junior high Sunday school kids, who are all in the popular group, how it feels to be less than popular and how much it means to the invisible or unpopular kids to receive a smile or a greeting from the popular kids.
Funny, though, the lines separating groups diminishes or disappears over the years. This is a good thing. At the reunion in 2002 I got to sit with, dance with and even received a kiss on the cheek from one of the boys I was so in love with back in those days. He remembered me. I was thrilled.
I wish everyone could have had the childhood and high school years I did. I made a major mistake in my senior year by marrying a real jerk without thinking about it. At that time, married girls had to drop out of clubs and other extracurricular activities. Still, I had my friends.
My friends were the best. There were seven of us who spent a lot of time together from our junior high years onward. Go Taylor Junior High School Tigers! We practiced with make-up, talked about boys, planned our futures and vowed never to be separated.
My best friend, Teresa, and I hoped to move to the south and have a horse ranch. That was before I met Mike and she started dating Gary, who she is still married to as I speak. Life gets in the way of those childhood dreams. New dreams take their place.
I was able to visit Lovington in 2002 for an all 60's reunion. Oh, it was fun. I dragged main with my best friend. I stayed at her parent's home with her. Oh boy, memories of slumber parties. I ordered a vanilla cream Dr.Pepper from Ole Jax. I parked in front of the house I lived in during those years. Ate mexican food at a great place in Hobbs I remember from my younger years. Very little has changed. In the New Mexico desert things don't rust and rot as they do in these swamps of Louisiana. I want to be back in the desert . . . I miss being able to look out and see the horizon rather than pine trees. I miss being able to see the lights of neighboring towns from my own front porch.
I'm nervous about this 40th reunion because of the extra weight and the wrinkles. You see, I still see the people of my very happy youth as they looked 40 years ago. I have seen many of them over the years and know this vision isn't real. They've aged just as I have. I want this reunion to be memorable.
I'll be in Lovington, New Mexico next year for homecoming. I'll be loudly supporting the Wildcats at the ball game. I'll probably be wearing blue and white. I'll take my battered and painful body to the receptions and dinners and other festivities and I'll love every minute of it. I will share tears with my classmates when we remember our friends who have died. There are too many of them.
I guess the girl I once was is still in there. She isn't a zombie or a mummy. Her memories still live clear and strong. Her friends still live in her heart. She still hears the noises of a winning football game. She still holds dear the pep rallies held in a hot gym. She can still walk the halls of Lovington High School and see her friends and other classmates. She still wonders what ever happened to the first loves. She is still young at heart and always will be.
The girl that once was is now married with grown sons and a granddaughter.
The computer illiterate woman the girl is today wishes she could figure out how to add more photos to this particular post . . . Technology, ain't it great? When I was in high school the typing lab had only a few electric typewriters. Most were manual. Now, here we are with computers.
Enjoy your memories. Hold them dear.