Hubby and I are preparing to attend our high school reunion seven hundred kilometers away.
Our high school experience was unlike most. We attended Sunshine Bible Academy, a private Christian boarding school in the middle of South Dakota. How a fourteen-year-old Manitoba girl landed so far from home is a long story. Suffice it to say I was there of my own free will and my parents’ good graces.
Back in the 1970’s, attending any Christian school usually meant living in a dorm. When you not only attend classes with people but live together, you bond more than you do in a typical high school experience. You become family. During my time, enrollment was higher than space allowed, so we frequently had three girls to a room. It felt like a college experience, except we were much younger. We learned a lot about sharing space and getting along.
Lights out was at ten, but my roommates and I had our own rule. When our digital clock said 11:11, we had to stop talking and go to sleep. Whichever of us noticed first (usually me, the non-night owl), would call out, “It’s ONE-ONE-ONE-ONE!” and that was our cue to shut up. To this day, if I happen to look at the clock when it says 11:11, it makes me grin. Most nights, I’m fast asleep by then.
Sharing a common faith also made our high school years unique. We had chapel every day and Bible classes along with our regular curriculum. Classes opened in prayer. I was never much for sports, but I recall our girls’ basketball team being known in the district for the team that sang in the showers after a game—in beautiful harmonies, even when they’d lost. We tended to walk away from music competitions with most of the awards.
I remember spending spring breaks on traveling choir tours—two kids to a suitcase. One year a spring blizzard cut our tour short, leaving us stranded in the same town with strangers who had only intended to billet us one night and ended up keeping us for three. I could only see things from my own disappointed view. I wish I could go back and be a more gracious, helpful guest.
|So many memories at this place!|
Graduation day felt heart-wrenching because following the ceremony, we’d all return to our home towns spread across the continent. We had little reason to think we’d see each other much, if at all. The internet didn’t exist. Some of us stayed in touch for a year or two, then it dwindled to Christmas letters and cards until an address change caused a letter to bounce back unopened and you thought they were lost for good.
Then, along came Facebook.
In the last decade, I have reconnected with more high school friends than I did throughout the previous three. Because I’ve seen their recent pictures, I might even recognize them! I have a better handle on their lives, their families, and their work than I did in the eighties and nineties when most of us were raising our families. Now we are grandparents!
With forty years of life experience behind us, I know we’ll have far more to share than one weekend can possibly provide. I wonder if we’ll be able to stay awake later than one-one-one-one?