Saturday, January 24, 2009

Catching Up With the Past

The last year I have been cleaning my basement a little at a time, and finding treasures and memories there along with the clutter. I found old comic books that I had a fondness for, pictures of beloved family members, college "party" pictures, old yearbooks, and lots of letters. Those made me a bit nostalgic and I enjoyed looking through those memories with fresh eyes.

Then my high school and college friends started finding each other on Facebook. At first I was very surprised, and my memory a bit spotty, but I can now say I have fully embraced it. My 25th (!!!!) high school reunion is this coming summer, so the timing couldn't be better. It has also been wonderful reconnecting with some of my best friends from college. I have had a lot of fun catching up.

What is strange is how the memory works. As I have gotten older, my brain has filled with many of my job functions. I have also made many new memories, like getting married, losing loved ones, and meeting new people who are now good friends.

I had to go pull my junior high and high school yearbooks. What I found there amazed me. I was on the yearbook committee in 9th grade, and after looking at the book, I remembered so much! I had a couple of girls I was really close with- Alice and Carol- and I really lost track with them after that. It makes me a bit sad. I also recalled really enjoying my time in yearbook class and realized how much the teacher Mr. Allen helped me.

My yearbook from my senior year at high school sucks and it makes me really sad. I was on the ASB council, which made me very proud back in the day, and the page isn't even titled correctly. My FFA club was completely ignored, and most other groups were as well. The yearbook focused on a couple of yearbook members and their friends. All I can think of is that the teacher must have just let the kids run wild. My yearbook from my junior year is much better and fills in a lot of gaps.

I am just amazed at how much more I have forgotten than I remember. I had blocked a few things out- like getting picked on by the senior girls when I was in FFA and being too scared to kiss my boyfriend in junior high. Those were memories I could have lived without!! I also realized that I was trying way too hard to be cool, when I should have just been myself. That makes me sad.

Looking at a yearbook elicits much the same reaction looking at an old comic book does. I can look at Justice League of America #115 and remember where I was and what was going on around me when I read it. I look at my May Fete court pictures the same way. I can remember betraying two friends who were fooling around behind another friend's back and suffering anguish over it. I can also remember just wanting to be done with high school so badly. It all got in the way of enjoying the fact that for the first and last time in my life I was a princess. LOL.

At any rate, I am curious about this- have you had the same experience? Have you forgotten certain things and found mementos that bring a memory back? How has it made you feel?

Reconnecting on Facebook has been cathartic, and I love every minute of it. These are the people that have shaped my life and made me who I am. I can only hope they think of me kindly.


Sea-of-Green said...

I have the same experience every time I run across one of my old yearbooks. I also used to keep journals in high school -- it's interesting to read through them and see how some of my perceptions have changed, and how some have stayed the same.

I have met up with old schoolmates, but so far it always gets disappointing in the long run. Inevitably, once we get done reminiscing about "the good ol' days," we find that we have absolutely nothing in common anymore. :-(

Heidi Meeley said...

Sea_of_Green: I was really surprised how much I had either forgotten or put to the back of my brain. It was scary to think I have lived enough life to forget more than I remember. LOL.

So far, I have had pretty decent experiences with old classmates, but time will tell. Since my 25th HS reunion is this summer, it will be fascinating to see these people. My dad has always told me that once a person gets that far out of school, there is more of a comradery than a rivalry, so we shall see...

It is always the old reminiscing route that takes precedence though, isn't it? I put a few old pictures on Facebook and was amazed at how people were shocked at how much we had changed. I don't know how long we can tell old "war stories", but I will know soon enough.

I wish you had a better experience with your old schoolmates! It is really awkward when that happens- it has happened to me at the county fair when I see people I used to hang out with and show against. We smile, look bored, and move on. It is a bummer!

I agree that it is interesting to look through old journals, letters, and yearbooks to see how much a person has changed. I want to yell at the old me for trying too hard and being such a dork, but I guess it is a little too late!

Thank you for your thoughts on this. I was wondering if it was just me!