To Stumble Upon a Gem

It’s been a summer filled with childhood friends.

Some random meetings (two in airports waiting for flights) others planned visits over coffee or lunch.

And catch up we did.

How wonderful are links with the past. Little reminders of what once was.

It’s curious running into childhood friends, especially if you haven’t seen them for decades.

To be transported back to a time when you were six years old and in the first grade.

I remember where my desk was in the classroom (near the front on the far side near the window).

I remember the spelling list written in pink chalk on the board. The “duty” chart taped on the storage closet door (my favourite task was cleaning chalk brushes at the end of the day).

But mostly I remember is how we were all in the same boat. We all were away from home for the first time. There was no nap, no snack, and most traumatically,

no mom.

We bonded under adversity.

A little army of five-hour orphans, parentless, adrift upon the sea called “School”.

And we survived together. I don’t remember ever being bullied or neglected or made to feel embarrassed.  Look at any picture of me in the first grade and I’m smiling a genuine smile.  Open and honest and happy.

Other pictures in subsequent grades have me forcing a smile, or hiding my teeth, or trying to hard to be some one I’m not.

To meet up with those who have shared such a monumental experience as first grade, after a lifetime has passed, is indeed a treat.

For the past to sneak up and pleasantly surprise you when you least expect it is like stumbling upon a gem

when you aren’t even looking.

It was all about the brown polyester!

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