13 November 2009

Thirty Years Later

Thursday, November 12, 2009
In a year when I have gone to more funerals than birthday parties, it is always a joy when I am reminded of the value of long lasting relationships and friendships. Today I had such an experience.

In 1978, my mother remarried and transplanted my brother and I from Atlanta, Georgia (by way of a short 6 month stint in Savannah, GA) to the Bronx - Fort Apache - New York. C'mon! Just the name alone would strike fear in the heart of the most stalwart, resilient and courageous teenager around...yeah well...I was none of those! I was TERRIFIED out of my mind to be living in the big, concrete, where are the trees?, jungle that was Parkchester, Bronx, NY. [I should note, my brother took to it like a duck to water - what does that say about him? Hmmmm...] I knew I was not going to fall in love with New York the first time it snowed. Now, coming from "down South" where one snowflake can paralyze a city for DAYS, the first snowfall in NYC was my wake-up call to my hate-hate relationship with the city. "Time to get up for school.", my mother called. "But it's snowing. There must be 8 inches on the ground. Isn't school closed?" "No sweetie, this is New York." SCREECH!!! Send me back to Atlanta right now. Where is the humanity in sending me out in that foolishness. And it was at that moment that I began plotting my escape.

And my new classmates didn't make it any easier. "Ooo, say that again. You have the cutest accent." was a common refrain throughout the day at school - and my two biggest teases were two larger than life Hispanic guys, Alex and Santos. Now, to the Atlanta transplant, the whole idea of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic culture was straight out of movies to me (West Side Story, anyone?)...and here were the two hottest guys in our class (my opinion) and they were the full embodiment of "hot, lusty Latin men". I will go no further since both of my parents read this blog, but you get my drift as to the conversations we had. Hot for 9th graders, let me tell you! Throughout the year at J.H.S. 127, Alex and Santos must have been on a mission to make me blush at least once a day - and most days they succeeded. But after graduation, Santos went off to another high school and we lost touch. Alex and I went to the same high school, but soon found new friends and eventually just became ships passing through the hallways.

And then suddenly it was 20 years later and I was involved with the planning of my 20th high school reunion. Some time during either the planning of the reunion (or right afterwards) I got a random phone call from a gentleman asking me "do you remember me?" and it was Alex! He was stationed in Iran at the time (his 2nd tour of duty) and after a few missed international phone calls, we finally got to talk voice to voice and we rekindled our friendship. Through him and the magic of Facebook, approximately five years ago, I reached out and made a similar "call" to Santos and we reconnected. For about that long, we have played hit and miss with opportunities to actually see each other...until today.

Thirty years later, I was reunited with my junior high school friend...and what a wonderful reunion it was (for me). Our reunion was only about an hour in length (due to his having to get on a plane), but it was wonderful to connect with someone who knew me such a long time ago - and who was as interested in the reconnection as I was. That is a true blessing.

Reminds me of a reunion that will be taking place in heaven some day soon. Lots of people I love have been laid to sleep in the Lord - not only this year, but throughout my life. And there are some reunions I am looking forward to having...my grandparents, some very special friends and of course, with my Lord and Savior. I hope to see you there as well. Let's make a date to meet up there - what do you say?

Be blessed.

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