After all these years…

Vancouver: October 2011

In 1971, I graduated from Delbrook Senior Secondary. I cannot quite get over the fact that such a chunk of time has passed…  there’s been a lot of living packed into my last four decades, and on Saturday night, I found out that I’m not alone.

My best friend from high school invited me to the 40th anniversary class reunion. She and I fantasized about making a grand entrance by squealing up to the door in her sweet ride (a TT Audi Quartro convertible) with “Wild Thing” booming out at full volume. But thanks to traffic on the bridge, we were late… it was too cold to put the top down… and her sound system was on the fritz.

Oh well. No big deal… we unfolded ourselves from the low lying bucket seats, stretched our hips and flexed our knees to get mobile…

We walked into the reception, and I tried to keep the dazed look off my face… Who were all these people? At first, I didn’t recognize a soul. But the organizing committee had tacked a big print-out from the year book to the back wall, and we all received tags with our names and a picture of our former selves. I found myself in good company. At the start of the evening, everyone inched through the crowd peering at everyone else’s chest (where the name tag and visual clues were pasted) Mine kept falling off…

About 100 of the approximately 300 graduates showed up at the Seymour Country Club. I am not even going to try and mention the names of my former classmates because I’ll inevitably forget someone… But truly, it was such a pleasure for me to see each and every one.

I did not have expectations of what the evening would be like, but some of the scenarios I’d heard of did not materialize. The class heart throb did not reacquaint with the former homecoming queen, and incite excited giggles… the Math nerd did not show up with a clone of Cindy Crawford on his arm… As far as I could see, no one has become a rock star, an astronaut, or a celebrated politician.

What I encountered was a roomful of friendly, open, almost 60-year olds, who seemed as blown away as me. How has so much time has gone by. A lot have been married to the same person for 30+ years… most have children and grand children. If they are not yet retired, they are looking towards that. Many have traveled… some to Mexico. Those I spoke with seemed surprised that I had lived there for 36 years.

Most of the group still lives in British Columbia, and a good number of them in North Vancouver. That surprised me. But it should not have, after all this is a beautiful part of the world, why would one move away?

Last night, that question was put to me a couple of times, and once back home,  it meandered through my mind as I drifted off to Dreamland… why did I leave and just as importantly, why did I stay gone?

Initially, I wanted to see the world because I am a curious person. I got an opportunity to go to Peru and work as an assistant English teacher and I couldn’t wait to get on that plane. I guess that I made the break at such an impressionable age, and my time in that Andean nation changed me forever.  A few years later, the romantic start of my life with Jorge in Yucatan turned my head still further. New cultures, people, languages, food, music, and so on were (and still are) very attractive to me. Have I missed my native land?  Oh yes! Very much… but there’s a price to be paid for everything.

Will I ever come back to live in Canada? Probably not… my life is in Mexico, but I totally enjoy every opportunity to return and touch bases. I sincerely thank the reunion committee for all the effort they made to provide this gift to us all. If there is a 50th, and I’m still kicking… I will be here!

*Photos: These were all taken at the reunion, mostly by me… I hope you enjoy them!

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14 Comments

Filed under Family and Friends

14 responses to “After all these years…

  1. Deanna Lagroix

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time connecting with never-to-be-forgotten High School Friends!! You looked fabulous !!

  2. Shelagh Jackson (Jones)

    I was also a bit nervous about attending the reunion, especially since I only found out about it the night before! Eek!
    However, I am still smiling at the thought of all of us chatting away together like it was yesterday, instead of 40 years since we left school!
    It’s great to know that we all turned out just fine!
    I’ll be following your blog too Joannie: and thanks for posting all the photos!
    Enjoy the rest of your Vancouver visit.

  3. Dave Purdy

    I can’t get over how great everyone looked and how easy it was to connect with so many people I hadn’t seen for decades. I had some trepidation prior to arriving, but somehow the years melted away and it was just as though I was back in ’71. What a great group of people.

    I am sure you have found your piece of paradise in Merida. It’s a beautiful city and I have fond memories of my visit there in 2005 (especially the taxi driver that drove for miles just to take us two blocks from our hotel!).

    I’ll be following your blog Joannie and I’ll be looking forward to our 50th!

    Dave Purdy

  4. Kelsey Hunt. (Stewart)

    Thanks for the memories. I thought your hair looked fabulous and I have had more hair mishaps than I wish to recall. Last night was more fun than I expected and you certainly contributed to that. Your warmth and enthusiasm has travelled well through the years!
    Best of luck with your novel, Kelsey xoxo

  5. Lee

    Were your classmates aware of your personal life story? Had any read your book? And please tell me you got the award for attendee who traveled the furthest.

    • Some of them knew my story and actually follow this blog… they found me on the Internet by chance. There were no awards for coming from furthest away but if there had been, I’d have won…

  6. I am so happy you went and I know it had to be so much fun–pink hair and all or maybe even more so…

  7. Couldn’t get the article to open so was only able to read the teaser. However it seems that you are having a grand time.
    Rainie

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