Home. We arrived around 10:30 last night. This morning I just want to go through my routine: read, journal, greet the sun, blog, exercise, then today’s task, laundry.
Yesterday, Bernie and I said our goodbyes to cousin, Sally, and headed out for my rendezvous with my high school friend, Roberta, whom I haven’t seen in forty plus years. Bernie had two hours to kill. He planned to go to Portello’s to get some Italian sausage and beef to take home. I looked down at the camera in the compartment between us. I almost grabbed it, then said, “Will you go back to the cemetary and take a picture of my mother’s grave stone for me?” “Be happy to.”
Roberta looked like herself. No need for a name tag with her 1962 face on it. She is outgoing, bright, and opinionated just as she was when we hung out together. I don’t think that I was any of those things. I don’t know, really. I expressed before taking this trip that this journey would be one of self-discovery: Who was I back then? What was I doing? Truthfully, my first two encounters with high school friends on this trip didn’t help much. The gathering with a few friends on Thursday in Lake Geneva was talk about life as it is now, for the most part. These were women who have kept in touch with one another throughout the years. At the reunion luncheon, women talked about what life has been since high school. What did you do for work and how many children did you have? Only one person, Yoshi, the Japanese writer, gave me a hint of who I was in ’62. She is the one who told me I’d loaned her my white dress.
When I met with Roberta, her first question was, “Do you remember how we met?” Not a clue! “I sat behind you in study period. We were both in the back of the room. I noticed you writing in a notebook, page after page. Finally I asked you what you were writing. You told me ‘a story.’ I asked you what it was about and you said you were writing a story about soldiers. I would have understook writing about romance or something, but a war story?”
We spent two hours together before joining our husbands. Roberta remembered so many moments. Rarely was I able to recall the events until we talked about our traveling down to Comisky Park to watch the White Sox play. We’d go early so we could watch the players practice. To get there we had to travel on public transportation, two teenage girls, from the northwest side of the city to the far south side. “What were our parents thinking!” She said. She mentioned the pencil portraits I ‘d done of the players and having them signed. I don’t have them now…lost in the many moves Bernie and I have made through the years. “Do you remember the day we wore your brother’s sailor shirts?”
“It really got their attention,” I said. “And then your sister! She ends up being the president of a player’s fan club!” My memory was waking up.
Roberta said, “She got to go to parties with the players and everything. We layed the groundwork for all that. We did the work and she got the glory.”
There was much more. I can’t speak about all of it here. This is my blog, not my journal. Maybe the other thoughts will show up in the memior I write some day.
The lunch that followed was great. Her husband Michael and Bernie joined us. Our liking one another as couples means we can expect this renewal of an old friendship to go forward. I believe this to be true.
When we drove off toward home, I looked down at the camera still there between us. No picture of the reunion of Roberta and I. To those who follow this blog, that should be no surprise.