I attended a mini high school reunion yesterday. I once belonged to a high school fraternity (it’s complicated). I had not seen some of these fellows in 40 years. I stay in active contact with two of them, and occasional contact with two others. I had not seen the rest in four decades.
These men have had successful lives. There were 16 people in attendance. Of the 16, there were about 5 attorneys, a physician, two pharmacists, several people who worked in I.T., and a couple of fellows who worked in the pharmaceutical industry.
I should note that I’ve never attended a reunion before. I am not the “reunion type”. I am an introvert, and reunions are not introvert territory. I have received invitations for several high school and college reunions, and always avoided them before.
Several times, someone asked me “do you remember when such and such happened?” The truth is that I did not remember a lot of what was being discussed.
After the reunion, I decided to visit my old neighborhood. I grew up in Northeast Philadelphia, and lived in the same house for over 25 years. I had not been back to that neighborhood since the day of my mothers’ funeral, almost 9 years ago.
The whole process seemed dreamlike to me. I kept looking for familiar landmarks, but most of them had disappeared. All of the restaurants and most of the shops that I remembered are no longer there.
First I drove past my childhood home:
Then I drove past my elementary school:
Finally I drove past the store where I had my first job.
Things seemed kind of grim to me. I saw 4-5 homeless men looking for handouts on Roosevelt Boulevard near where I grew up.
On the drive home from the reunion and my old neighborhood, I encountered a detour, and wound up driving right past the hospital where my daughters were born- a place I had not been in 16 years.
The combination of the reunion, the drive through my old neighborhood, and the drive past the hospital where my daughters’ were born made for one of the strangest days I’ve had in years. I came home and closed my eyes for a while. I had to “mentally digest” everything that had happened. It was fun seeing old classmates. But it was depressing going back to my old neighborhood. And how has 16 years passed since we brought my younger daughter home?
In the song “Uncle Johns’ Band” there is a lyric that goes “what I want to know is…..where does the time go?!”
Where did it go?