Boy it is amazing what a difference 40 years makes and how much it does not make. 40 years. We are the group that never trusted anyone over 30. News flash, we are almost twice the age.
I had never been to one of my high school class reunions.
10th year: I had started law school the Monday before and I was totally freaked out about reading a million pages of cases.
20th year: Mary-E would have been about a month old and I was not willing to take her across the state with questionable air condition. Again, I was a bit overwhelmed with the new addition to may family.
30th year: I was not able to find a place to stay when I finally decided to come.
4oth: Nothing was going to stop me! It took a lot of planning and there were some hiccups but I made it.
I had to go. I had to be there. I had to see everyone. I had to drive by our old house and see how big the trees were. I had to try and find Topper. I had to see the long gone Wilma. I had to have Hudson burger, even though I only had one one time.
It was so odd at how strong the pull was this time.
Essentially it was a group of strangers. You could have gathered 140 strangers, put them in a room put a badge on them and we would have all mingled, asked the same questions revealed the same personal details.
Over the days we reverted to that earlier time. We reminisced, laughed about shared memories. We dug up old memories of events from long ago. We connected. We remembered, people we had not thought about for 40 years came back into the front of our memories.
It is an interesting thing to do. Is it necessary? No. Is it something that enriches our lives? Yes. Am I glad I went? Absolutely.
What surprised me the most? How much the time in Coeur d'Alene shaped us as a group. We were on the edge of the hippies, not quite baby boomers, not really very radical. But I think as a group we made an impression. An impression on each other and those who knew us. A kind note in a year book. A time we said hello to someone that seemed left out. An invitation to a party. An e-mail. A promise to say an extra prayer.
As I drove back across the state and the mountains that separate me from CDA, I realized how much of a hold it still has on me.
My family left North Idaho in about 1974 ish. We have traveled from North Idaho to Michigan, California, Canada, Switzerland, Michigan. I have lived in Dietrich Idaho, Moscow Idaho and most recently Seattle.
When people ask me where I am from, I always say Coeur d'Alene. It is the touchstone of my life.
As I drove down the street I realized why I am so disappointed every year in my attempts to grow petunias.