Christmas is Florence was a grand occasion, as usual. I spent ample time with my childhood friends and loved every moment of it. It's always a special treat to see my friends of 20+ years and reminisce about our former lives.
Here's what we look like right now:
We're missing one person, but you get the gist of it: despite our crazy childhood antics, we turned out to be well-adjusted women (for the most part).
But aside from catching up and having a drink at the bar, what really takes us back is visiting our old haunts. Mariann and I, for example (she's on the right of me), took a walk around the old neighborhood twice -- and the second time, we visited the old graveyard of the family who owned the golf course and probably the entire neighborhood back when it was a plantation.
It was just as magical to us last week as it was 20 years ago. The modest little picket fence -- I spotted it from across the green and announced that we'd found our destination -- the names of the Muldrow family, most of them born before 1800, and the peacefulness of the place, despite its being in the center of a popular golf course. It's always felt like our place.
That's the thing about the memories I share with my childhood besties -- we share them collectively, so they feel real and not simply a fictional part of our individual minds. Yet, they don't feel so real that everyone else (random golfers) understands. It's a secret, shared history.
Not to sound too corny, but as I get older, I really value the bits of shared history with my old friends. And not just the childhood pals, but those from high school, college -- anyone I've known for years. When I was growing up, my nostalgic mother always talked about the passage of time (she still does, actually) and hinted that nothing survives it: not friendships, not locations, not ideas.
Thus, I am grateful for the people and ideas that have followed me throughout the almost-35 years that I've been alive. As a sensitive and artsy person, I have the tendency to focus a great deal on loss. But honestly, there is plenty that I've kept in my proverbial pockets as the years have rolled by.
Here's to 2015.