Through The Looking-Glass…40 years later

Jeanne Marie
Favorite Saying:
Friendship is a horizon which expands as you approach it.
To discover the life of the mind, pursue wisdom,
and to take a place in the world.

Yes, my friends, that is me, a turtleneck kind of girl, sporting a classic high school yearbook pose in 1975. Have you looked at your teenage self recently? Earlier in the month, I took the plunge and went to my first ever high school reunion. Looking at my high school yearbook was the first step in my backwards journey.

It's been years since I dusted off the pages and when I did I had to laugh…blogging was not even a figment of anyone's imagination back then but clearly it was in mine. My 'favourite Saying' and life 'Ambition' smack of all that that has spilled into my keyboard and onto the pages of Collage of Life these past five years.  My friendship horizon is still expanding and I am still in search of finding my place in the world…I should probably be VERY concerned that at 57 I am still writing like my 17 year old self. We will not delve to deeply into the looking-glass on that one, for I am afraid of what I might discover. ;)

As for the reunion, it was a night to remember but getting there did not come easy. I debated this topic a while back here. I missed them all, the previous reunions that appeared on the calendar every five years. Some were missed by choice and most others were due to living overseas. But truth be told, I never felt endeared to the idea of returning. Why step back when we spend so much time looking forward? I can go on and on with every imaginable reason for not going but then suddenly I felt compelled to go. It felt like an unfinished chapter in a book that needed to be written.

In my usual fashion, I was off to a late start the night of the event and barely had time to get ready. I grabbed a hairbrush, pinched the cheeks, added a dash of lipstick, a spray of perfume, threw on the summer whites, my Vietnamese caftan, a few necklaces, bracelet, earrings, silk scarf, sandals and flew out the door for pre-reunion drinks with friends. One hour later, I walked through the front door of the local American Legion Hall into what ended up being three hours of hugs, screams, laughter and dancing. The same string of words were on everyone's lips throughout the night..

You haven't changed a bit.
What have you been doing for the past 40 years?
Do you know who that was?
What ever happened to…?
Who did we just talk to?
Do you remember…?
What was that person's name?
I remember when…
I wish I could remember his or her name….
Do you remember me?

I wonder if this was the same line of conversation 
for the 20th and 30th reunions?

Here is what I learned to be true…

In many ways, we hadn't changed at all and it was lovely to see. Having just looked at our high school yearbook, I was struck by how similar everyone looked to their teenage selves. There were no dramatic changes or discoveries…you discounted the obvious features distinguishing age and looked beyond. My assessment was that we were all ageing gracefully. 

It was fascinating to hear people sum up the past forty years of their lives. Their jobs, families and most importantly, their hopes and dreams for the future. In hindsight, I wished I had put on my old Yearbook Editor hat and noted everyone's aspirations for the upcoming years. It is on my list for the next reunion.

I love the photo below, it is everything a photo should not be, blurry with people looking anywhere but the camera but one truth is evident, their was joy and laughter and even though forty years had passed, once connected again, it was as if time had stood still, in laughter.  In my books, life doesn't get any better than that. 

I tried to sneak out of the shot but they caught me.
Spot the purple scarf.

In the name of ageing gracefully , I decided to do something to mark the occasion. I came across sunglasses in a shop that I once owned in 1986 (my thirty something self, below). Long out of fashion, they seem to be making a comeback..or so I was told by the sales person. My daughter, wise one that she is, felt that they "were me"…so I bought them and I plan to rock them...again.


I was hoping to show a recent pic of me (really) but a funny thing happened this week. I went in for dental surgery and came out looking like a chipmunk on steroids….and then some. Why I tried on sunglasses in this state of metamorphosis is another matter. I reckon it can only get better…right?

So how about you?
Are you in, out or over high school reunions?
Have you looked at your high school self recently?
Have you brought any fashions from the past back into your life, 
just because you can?

My favourite part 
about striding 
through my fifties
 towards my sixties
is that anything goes.
Because I say so. 

Sending Happy Stylish Thoughts your way…

Jeanne xx

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