Recently, I had the good fortune to spend some time with my high school friends when four of us gathered in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina for a long weekend. I call them my high school friends, but truth be told, I’ve known most of them longer than that – one since second grade, another since middle school (actually two of them, though one friend couldn’t make it to NC), and the third since high school.
In the years that have passed since graduation, and despite being separated by an entire country (me on the west coast, two on the east coast, and two in the mid-west), whenever we have the good fortune to get together, we always fall back into our easy rhythms of conversation as though no time has passed. They are the women who sometimes know me more than I know myself. My faults and many of my secrets have been laid before them and they have continued to be there for me when my insecurities and doubts have seemed greater than the possibilities of the future.
Originally I had thought of doing a more travel-related post of my time in NC, but the more I thought about that trip, the more I realized that wouldn’t work. The trip to Ocean Isle Beach wasn’t about the beach or the sunsets or the warm breezes that blew across the Intercoastal Waterway through the porch screens and across our sleepy faces as we rocked and sipped our coffee.
Nor was it about the cocktails and wine that we drank while watching the sunset from those same rocking chairs.
Or from the pier.
Or the hilarious and sometimes serious discussions at The Table of Truth while our friend, who happens to be an awesome stylist/salon owner, cut and colored our hair.
Or the long walks on the beach laughing and talking some more.
It was about the precious time spent with dear friends who have known me almost my whole life.
Because of these reasons, a regular travel post wasn’t going to cut it. Sure, the beach was divine and the sun shone warmly on our faces as we rode our rented bikes through town.
Yes, Ocean Isle, Wilmington, and Myrtle Beach were fun to explore. And the morning I spent writing on the porch and watching the boats float by was utterly delightful.
But my trip was first and foremost about the people. So, I decided instead to use the “Where I’m From” template (similar to the one I used earlier this fall, which you can read here) and weave some of my photos from my trip with some photos from the past. Plus, it gave me a good excuse to look at old photos and wax nostalgic for a bit.
So, without further ado:
Where I’m From, High School Edition
I am from a tight-knit, small group of friends who have always had each other’s backs. I am from laughing so hard you cry, sometimes laughing at each other as much as with each other, and remaining friends at the end of the day no matter what.
I am from days spent trying on each other’s clothes, shopping in thrift stores and each other’s closets, and the honest opinions that only friends can give when you’re wearing something totally horrendous. I am from afternoons spent swimming at the lake, zooming around in my friend’s boat, and the numerous failed attempts at waterskiing (actually, that was just me). I am from countless sleep overs, huddling together on the sofa as we watched scary movies, playing with the Ouija Board, and getting a few scant hours of sleep as a result.
The Fantod Pack, recreated by Edward Gorey. Our grown-up version of determining our fate. According to this reading, I’m doomed. Thanks, Mr. Gorey.
I am from nights spent dressing up and going to dance clubs in the city, hours and hours listening to Depeche Mode, New Order, Echo & The Bunnymen, Siouxsie & the Banshees, and Nine Inch Nails (and so many more that I can’t even remember now, though I’m sure they can), dancing to exhaustion, and then piling in the car for the long ride home before our parents figured out where we had gone.
I am from ‘Parking Lot Talks’, staying up until dawn when one of us couldn’t sleep because of what was going on at home or because of a broken heart, and long walks full of deeply profound discussions during which we would plan out how one day we’d decorate our own houses much better than the ones we passed in our neighborhood.
I am from stretching the spiral phone cord to the most private corner I could find in my tiny house just so I could keep talking on the phone with one of them for a few more minutes.
I am from going to see Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, Say Anything, The Breakfast Club and Some Kind of Wonderful in the theaters and seeing parts of my privileged, suburban life with my friends reflected on the big screen.
I am from summers spent playing tennis well into the night, tennis camps, tennis practice with odd and strange tennis coaches, and long bus rides to and from tennis matches that afforded us bonus time to gab.
I am from attending high school dances, band performances, powder puff games, and track meets at the encouragement of my much more socially adept, musically and athletically talented, outgoing friends, without whom I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to go to most of those things.
I am now from friendships spanning a few decades and stretching across the country. I am also from a renewed appreciation for the internet thanks to email, texting, Instagram, and Facebook, all of which makes the miles between us seem almost – though not quite – nonexistent.
Above all, I am from friendships that endure long absences and never wavers in its strength to show me not only what it really means to have dear friends by your side, but also what it means to be called a friend.
How about you, lovely readers? Do you have friendships that have lasted over decades? If so, what do you do to stay in touch? Sit, have a cuppa, and share. I always love to hear from you.