Meet My Friends, They are Just Like You….
These are my Ya Ya’s:
The terms above will be the descriptions I use for the women with whom I spent a wonderful, funny, joy- and tear-filled weekend in North Carolina a couple of weeks ago. I find these words strong and meaningful. As I keep going, they will know who they are.
For some of us, it has been over 30-plus years since we have laid eyes on each other. During our days in a small high school in New Jersey we went in and out of each others’ circles for four years. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes not, but always constant, as the closeness was there because we were all experiencing the same high school things in different ways.
Spending five long and relaxing days in the mountains was suggested a couple of months ago and we gathered on Facebook, discussed and committed to it. Funny how as much as we criticize social media, it has brought so many people together in our huge world to share good times and bad, reunions and family events, when we otherwise may not have known about it.
My four years in high school were filled with many ups and downs, typical roller coaster ride we have all been on. My last two years were fun and I finally felt like I fit in after moving to such a small, close-knit community in the 8th grade in 1973. I’m from the South…can I hear a yay Y’ALL??
So, from all over the country–and I mean all over–Georgia, Florida, the Carolinas, New Jersey and Arizona–we planed, trained and automobiled it and landed at the lovely home of Creative’s parents. The hospitality was amazing, especially since Creative is an unbelievable cook (as is her older brother–an executive chef in the Hamptons). And, since Creative has her own line of baked goods like salted caramel brownies, affectionately called “crack” brownies by us, we were set for a weekend of food, wine, and fun.
I have been to the few high school reunions that we have had and Creative was always there. As was Consistent and Committed. Our bond has been further sealed by our communications on Facebook. They were not my best friends in high school, but they certainly were fun and always nice. I consider all of the Ya’s my best friends now.
We Are Mid-Century Modern
To accept whatever comes, regardless of the consequences, is to be unafraid — John Cagle
We graduated in 1978. Billy Joel, Peter Frampton, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Eagles, the new Saturday Night Live and Welcome Back, Kotter, were part of our pop culture. We were off to school, to work in Manhattan, to travel, to become adults. Through the years we re-grouped and sent letters, cards, phone calls, but as time wore on most of us lost touch. Then came social media. And we rekindled old and new friendships through this unique new channel. I am sooo glad we did.
So in North Carolina we decided that it was time for us middle-aged, no, mid-century modern gals to get together, eat, drink, laugh, cry and re-hash those incredibly crazy stupid days of high school. We talked about crushes we had that we now laugh at, that were totally unrequited and thank God never materialized. We drank entirely too much wine and beer. We ate an insane amount of sweets and steak. We even went to see the local production of Hairspray, where Creative’s daughter had a featured role. There were so many things we talked about and I can’t describe it all here. But there is evidence that we have become stronger and particularly resilient over the past 30 years….
The Ya Ya’s and Why I have Named them So…
Creative because she was our hostess. Love, loss, divorce, single parenting, and re-inventing herself and living her true artful creative life baking in the North Carolina mountains. We do truly adore you and your family. You got us together and made it happen!
Commitment because after living the crazy media life she settled down, had three children, adopted from Eastern Europe, home schooled them and gave up her journalism dreams to be a Christian wife and mother. Two are in a great college now making them proud and becoming terrific adults. I’m thinking the writing will come.
Perseverance left our school in her junior year to have her first-born son and become a very young wife. Over the years and two more kids later, single mothering for a bit, and a cross-country move she has pushed through the death of her parents, her kids’ teenage years, her own horrible bout of colon cancer, the after effects of radiation and raising her grandchildren with humor, wit and good beer.
Determined because she met and married a guy from spring break who her brother said she would never see again, moved to the cold Midwest and raised two children. She endured the sudden death of her husband by a freak accident, the loss of her only son ten years later from a rare form of cancer, raised her teenage daughter to be a wonderful young college student, assists her mother, and still goes to live rock concerts in Florida. And, she’s a secret beach bum but just won’t admit it.
Consistent because she is. She has not changed one iota, in looks or personality. Tiny and quick-witted, she has raised two sons virtually on her own while maintaining her friendships with many of our townspeople in NJ and coordinating many of our reunions. She always has the time to stay in touch, and rescue animals, who make all of us laugh on social media.
Faithful. She only came for the afternoon and dragged along her poor husband, who she met while they were missionaries. She also raised a family and is a nurse. She embodies her faith and lives it–unlike many out there. That’s why I admire her.
We plan to get together now on a yearly basis–and I hope we do. So much of the weekend was a cathartic experience for all of us. Different than a college reunion. Even different than a high school reunion. Just a group of pretty awesome girls who I am honored to know.
And we are now one circle.
This post is dedicated to them.