I discovered a photo on Facebook this morning that brought back memories of my youth in Southern California. It a gorgeous picture of Leo Carrillo State Beach at sunset that was taken by a classmate who has apparently become a talented photographer. Jeff and I were only vaguely aware of one another when we graduated from high school as members of 72 Skidoo, as we liked to call ourselves. Wm. S.Hart was not a large school by Los Angeles County standards at the time, but it was big enough that while you knew most classmates by name, you mostly hung around with those friends you perceived to have the most in common with. That turns out to be a bit of a shame.
I went to my 40 year high school reunion just about a year ago and was surprised to see how many of my classmates were immediately recognizable to me. Of course everyone has changed a bit …gained a few (or lot of) pounds, added some gray to their hair or have a different hair color all together or not much hair at all, and, sadly, some are no longer with us. But the thing I noticed the most is how genuinely happy we were to see one another. I had long conversations with classmates I hadn’t seen since graduation and some I had barely spoken to before. I recognized that what we all have in common is shared experiences. Not just from school itself, but from the places we visited, the foods we ate, the fads that were a part of our Southern California upbringing, and even the trials we shared as young adults trying to find our way in the world. These shared experiences helped to form a bond that keeps us connected in spite of the years and miles that conspire to keep us apart.