Then we walk uptown and have a treat from the bakery which is totally unchanged from when we were kids. We stand on the street trying to figure out which shop had been our beloved "dime store" when a woman stops and points to it. "That's where it was, and that's where Schluter Drug was--remember?" She too had moved away but moved back years later, and was eager to talk about the town we love and how it was when we were kids. We try to figure out if we had been in high school together and I finally ask her how old she is.
We are in town for the 100th anniversary of the church where we grew up, where our dad was the minister for 20 years. It is an amazing experience to see our childhood friends, now looking like older (yes much older) versions of their parents––as we remember their parents. Once again we find ourselves asking each others' ages, trying to figure out how things were when we were kids. For when you are young, age difference is big. So like the friendly woman uptown on the street, we laugh as we realize only at such an event would you ask someone's age or the year they were born.
My older sister lives near there and joins us at the event. An old friend of hers comes up to her and asks, "Weren't we friends? Like really good friends?" My sister agrees, digging deep for the memory. Such funny conversations take place as we gather up and make sense of old memories.
So for a few brief hours, childhood friends and places we remember as clearly as if it were today, become very real again. It is an amazing experience, sort of in the "top ten" of life events. But then, like the Cinderella story, it is time to go back to real life, but going back blessed with new memories of the old memories. It's kind of complex as I process it all. But I'm very grateful for the bringing forth of the old, as a reminder of people, a time of life and a place, that had much to do with making me the person I am today. Yes, that sums it up the best. I came away very grateful.