I had a wonderful opportunity to visit with a gentleman whom I had not spoken with in a very great number of years. I knew I would see him so I promised myself that I would be courteous. We happened to attend the same high school but were several grades apart so really didn’t have much contact. Once in a while we would likely see each other in a hallway or all-school gathering. High school for many of us were those years of enduring, rebelling, experimenting, and of course stumbling about and muddling through those rights of passage we were all supposed to just smile and move on to the next level. It didn’t take long for us to start speaking of those decades ago.
The more we freely spoke, the more we discovered things about those years that we didn’t know. It was almost as if we were seated at a card table with a half complete jigsaw puzzle in front of us with each staring blankly at our incomplete halves and suddenly finding that I could help piece together his half while he helped to find the pieces that fit mine. As the missing pieces were being placed on each other’s sides, I’m sure we were both finding the partially forgotten memories awakening. Some of them were once again clear recollections of joy as well as sadness.
We compared experiences with teachers we both had at different times, we compared the differences between the two separate grade schools we attended, and we even compared some of the most personal family times without even considering having gone too far in a conversation about our past. I found it terribly refreshing to have had an opportunity to re-visit a decade or two in time with another and hear him speak of how certain social mores in those years were simply un-fair and how too much was dismissed as being just the way things were done without question.
We each suggested a book or two to each other that we considered worth a read. Just before we parted company I said, “There have been times when I look back and consider changing this or that in my past, yet with all things considered, I wouldn’t want to change a thing because I am happy with myself and glad that I live in Mason City.” I wasn’t surprised to find that he felt similarly. Life is what we make it be it for better or worse. His wife who was at the meeting likely thought us acting as two magpies on a live wire.