Of course this doesn’t apply to me and all my classmates who are attending our reunion this weekend. The high school reunion. That American institution where we renew friendships, reminisce, and catch up. We remember who we were and we talk about who we’ve become. Last night I had a very nice time talking with many, many old friends.
Back to my title. The Rolling Stones are big fat liars. Mick, Keith, Ron and Charlie. Every one a liar. Pants on fire. The whole nine yards. What did they lie about? They lied about time. Time is SO not on our side. Judging from how haggard The Rolling Stones look, time isn’t on their side either. Especially Keith.
I know where you think I’m going with this, but you’re wrong. Yeah, sorry about that. I’m not going to bemoan how the years have changed my classmates and I. If anything, I was pleasantly surprised by how good everyone looked. My old friends are happy and healthy and doing well. At least the ones that attended our reunion.
In addition to attending reunion activities I also went back to the neighborhood of my childhood. I’ve only been there a few times in the last twenty years. Everywhere I looked there were ghosts. If I looked at a street corner I could see the younger versions of my friends and I goofing around and I could hear the echoes of thirty year old conversations about inane topics. Walking by house after house, memories of incidents and adventures came to life in my minds eye as if not a day had passed.
The most startling revelation however is that apparently since I grew up I’ve become a giant. The parents of my childhood friends are smaller and shorter than I remember them. As my friend and I walked the streets it was amazing how much the houses had shrunk and now look old and run down a bit. The walk around the block which seemed so long as kids is now barely long enough to be considered much of a walk at all.
I know that all these things are illusions. People age and the neighborhood that was a whole world to us as kids suddenly appears small and old when I return to it from the larger world I’ve explored since I left home. Damn it Mick Jagger, you promised that time was on my side. I blinked and suddenly that naive, wide eyed boy from a small town turned into an adult with a mortgage and acid reflux. I guess more appropriately, this weekend illustrated to me the truth in the title of that Thomas Wolfe novel; You Can’t Go Home Again. I tried and although my home and neighborhood are not what they once were, I’ve enjoyed meeting high school friends again who all seem to be better versions of the kids I knew. Here’s to old friends.
As always, if you like what you read at #ThePhilFactor please hit the Facebook share button, especially my high school friends that might be reading this. It was great to see you all again. And thank you to Cindy for all the pictures you’ve posted to Facebook. I’m sorry I couldn’t include pictures of everyone that was there.
Beautifully written, Phil. No, we can’t go home again, and that’s not such a bad thing, either. We can peek back round the corner just enough to see how far we’ve come.
Shattuck looks good!
An uplifting post about growing older? Aren’t you the upstream-swimmer! It really is true, though, isn’t it? Some bullies outgrow it, some jerks get less jerky, some of us get less shy, or less snobby.
Enjoyed the post–the approach via the Stones was clever.
Well thanks O.B. ! You sure are catching up on my blog today!
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Phil, this is great. We had our 40th class (1974) reunion last summer and couldn’t attend, sadly — up in Massachusetts and just couldn’t make the trip. Thank God for Facebook where they created a page and we could watch the goings-on. The thing that really hit us was when they posted a list of the 18 kids who have died. Eighteen? That just really blew us away. Impressions in other reunions we’ve attended is that people are so much nicer now. All the divisions (freak vs. jock, pretty girls vs. not-so-pretty) are long gone to my immense relief.
I so relate to your “I’m a giant” feeling when strolling down memory lane. I’ve had that feeling so often. You are very funny, Phil, you know I love your wit, but you are also rather good at writing about our common humanity.
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