“We are at all times constantly our past, our present, and our future rolled into one, a microcosm of our experiences with no set expiration date and all possibilities open to our own interpretations.”
We were all rock stars back then, weren’t we? Our memories are good enough to remind us of that, 20 years later. Imagine that. Alex reminded me today of how much I adored the sticky buns they used to serve at the old cafeteria. Whenever anyone wanted a sticky bun, they went to me because they knew I hoarded them like Hammer hoarded cars. How had I forgotten that? Or, as Jaime recalled, how I had a good singing voice but I was too nervous to try out for Bel Canto.
And Sarah was one of the first people I met on campus, back in the summer of ’90 when we dropped off my sister to do her summer on-campus job. I remember Sarah then because she smiled at me, and I realized maybe the going away to school thing wasn’t going to be so bad after all. She still has that same smile today, and that same way of making me feel like I matter, even in a sea of other people. Those little things are important. I remember them from before, and I am still amazed by them today.
Rodney joked about how we would play tricks on the faculty, and sleep in Mr. Crandall’s English class. He wore those taps on his shoes so it sounded like such a rush of running even when all he did was cross the classroom. Oh, the fun times we had in his class. But Rodney was the prankster, the jackal, and I was the sidekick, at least freshman year, because I wanted to be accepted by the rest of the crew that lived up on Sophomore Hall. I don’t even know if they still have those names for the halls, but that’s what I introduced them as to my children.
The more things change, the more they stay the same, right? Katie is still good at talking the ear off a dog, and I realized while listening to her speak that I had missed her voice. 20 years is a long time between hearing someone’s voice, isn’t it? And Shannon. What can I say about Shannon? She sat behind me in Mrs. Streidl’s typing class. I remember turning around every little bit, between our timings, to look at her and Paola. They were the shortest girls in our class. At least I recall it that way. But they were also the cutest. We remember these things, don’t we, as we grow older?
And Greg. What can I say about Greg? I looked up to him back then. He was smart without being awkward about it, and we spent so much time in his room — Greg, Rich, Zac, Emmett and me — that I honestly thought I should have just moved in at one point. Later on I would share a room with Rich for a summer, and that was fun, but it was also the last summer, so it was bittersweet. Rich couldn’t make it this year, but it was good to see Greg. Yes, way too long.
People who haven’t experienced what we experienced in those years at BMA will never understand, but it is a bond that can never be truly broken, between me and these people, some of whom I haven’t talked to in the intervening years, but we all fit together again like a hand in a glove. Our banter was inspired, punctuated with a laughter that was infectious at times, and reminiscent at others. We flowed from one group to another of our former classmates, ensconced in nostalgia, but also in the glory of our “now”s, the intervening years and where we’ve ended up. It was magic.
I’ve missed them. I’ll admit it, but I hadn’t realized just how much until I saw them all again in one place, in OUR place, because it’s just not as special when we’re somewhere else. Because BMA is what brought us together in the first place, and today felt like coming home, our reunion with each other, but also our reunion with the place, and how the place influenced us and gave us that connection, that bond that will never be broken. Not by time, or by distance, or even by religious difference that may have occurred over the years.
Because when we get back together, we are once again family, and that’s what I’ll take away from this 2014 alumni celebration and recognition for and reunion of the class of 1994. That and a bunch of numbers so we can stay in touch, because our 25th is going to be off the hook. Rodney’s words. Not mine.