So I was blessed to be part of a graduating class at the late, great Dominican Commercial High School in Jamaica, an all-girls school led by both nuns and lay teachers. We were a class of about 225 or so and many of us have kept in touch throughout these many years since we graduated.
I know there are many people for whom high school was not a happy time. The experience of high school was not necessarily happy for me but the camaraderie and friendships were what made it memorable. When you go to a school, your future friends are selected by chance as the class you end up in is determined by the faculty and administrators. Somehow those women making those decisions did right by me, and many of my classmates too (I suspect), with the decisions they made.
Many people I met when I was 14 in my very first class at DC I am still friends with. I’ve already spoken about Mary and Beans and Karen and Janice and Helen in other blogs and all four were part of that class. My friend, Jeanine, was even back at 14 so smart and intelligent that it was beyond impressive and today’s she a renowned travel author. My dear friends, Maria and Dolores, have been each other’s best friends since high school and, when we had a mini-reunion I had set up a few years ago, brought me a lovely gift to thank me for scheduling it. My buddies, Evie and Lisa, hopped in the car caravan and surprised me at my 60th birthday party.
My friend, Toni, welcomed my great kid and me into her home one Thanksgiving years ago when we had no one to spend it with. My great pal, Maria, who we could not locate for over 40 years literally moved me to tears when we saw each other again at our last reunion and I realized her inner beauty and strength had not changed one bit since I had last seen her. My friend, Nancy, is the sunniest person I have ever known and met her husband when he was the tour bus guide on our junior class trip to Washington DC.
My buddy, Joanne, who I nominated for Cheerleader of the Week in the New York Daily News (she won, by the way!) has raised not only her children but her wonderful grandchild as well. My other buddy, Joanne, along with her husband does fantastic missionary work every year all around the globe. My darling Patrice, adores and is adored by her husband and children and makes me want to live my life as well as she does.
Our class President, Maggie (otherwise called the Artist Formerly Known As Peggy), is a ball of energy and never fails to single out my blogs or give me a shout-out on something I’ve said or written. My friend, Jane, just retired last year after a 40+ years career in the federal government and never forgets my birthday. My buddy from my old neighborhood, Ilse, has proven to be such a strong warrior woman.
My dear Maryellen makes me smile with everything she posts and I am overwhelmed by the support that darling Denise gives me on everything I write about. Because we didn’t share any classes together in high school, I wasn’t friends with either of them way back then but I am so glad that I am now. Letty and I didn’t know each other either but we have learned so much about each other because our sons are so similar and it’s nice to have another mother to talk to. Cathy is as strong and resilient a person as you could hope to know and someone I would always want to be on my side.
All of these women who were randomly placed in my orbit for 4 wonderful years have molded me into the woman, mother, daughter, sister, friend and writer I am today. Every person leaves their mark on you and, if you’re lucky, you are surrounded by people whose very presence makes you elevate your game to meet their standards. I hope I have and I hope I always will.