January 3, 2009

A Reunion and A Starting Place

I returned to my California home town in late September to attend my forty year high school class reunion, something I hadn't considered doing until prodded by a dear friend. She and I have a blessed friendship that has weathered many decades of life, location and perspective changes. So when she called to say, "you have to do this", I did. Plus, two more of my favorite people on the planet, my mothers sisters, still nest there. 

The little town is filled to the brim with old memories, familiar haunts and the essence of my family. Parents and grandparents, all gone long ago. The 40 years between graduation and now I lived elsewhere, a lot of "else wheres" actually, until growing deep roots in WA. On this trip, along with the pleasure of reconnecting with old friends, I decided to reconnect with my place. My starting place. Of course doing that had to include one morning of sunrise adventures. The downtown area was covered while clicking and walking as fast as I could to catch the light. Anyone who saw me must have thought my shoes were on fire. A gazillion photos later, another gazillion memories were ignited. Here is a touch of what I saw.

Above is the roof line of the old county courthouse. Great building and still in use, though not for legal purposes. (Jan 13th correction...the purposes are NOT now illegal, it was converted into business offices. Some times it's better to read one more time before posting.)

That is the front of the auditorium. I will post a photo of it's face a bit later. This big building always seemed odd to me. Huge pillars so close to the front doors you risked running into them when exiting with a crowd. In a flash of memory I was up on the stage inside, age four, crawling around in a lamb suit during a dance recital terrified, then on tip toe with tutu by eight and later singing with other high school choir members as background for a traveling Madame Butterfly. High sopranos singing in Japanese. God. Hurts my ears to think about it. All forgotten events until this visit. 

And last, the memorial water fountain. It sits across the street from the best ice cream ANYWHERE. Honest. Behind those stripped awnings is the Superior Dairy and I can testify to the continued goodness of their products having been part of a recent lunch study. 

And what about the reunion? I had only attended the tenth and swore I would never go to another. I think Aliens or something equally goofy had taken over the town on that visit. Forty years out, new story and I'm really glad I went. We had a good time and it was great to catch up with folks. There seems to be an unspoken bond between those who shared the same kindergarten teacher. It was a trip of fun and surprises but the biggest surprise was re-finding my starting place. A reunion of another sort. Thanks for the kick Jose!

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