Today I read a blog post about the death of director John Hughes. (I know, I’m on a bit of a morbid roll…) It was written by an acquaintance of mine, Kevin Smokler. (You can read it here.) I wasn’t aware that Hughes had directed so many of the films of my youth, but one in particular happens to be an all time favorite of mine: The Breakfast Club.
I never spent any time in detention, but, oh, how I related to those stereotypical high school kids. And, oh, how I could relate to the rich, good girl in the closet with the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks. (By the way, a few years ago I actually spoke with Judd Nelson on the phone several times — he even called my home, and I have to admit after all these years I still pictured him as that kid in that movie.)
Anyway, this made me think about my high school days, especially as both my kids began school this year. My son entered his sophomore year and my daughter her senior year on Monday. I loved high school. I have such good memories (well…some not so good) of friends, attending sports events, going to parties, kissing boys, and discovering my interests and, to a great extent, myself.
Over the past year or so I’ve reconnected with quite a number of my high school friends and acquaintances via Facebook. That’s been interesting…Yet, I always have said I enjoy getting together with my friends from “home,” because there is a context to those relationships you don’t have with anyone else. They knew you when. They can see how far you’ve come (or not). And they really know who you are at your core, because there was always a kernel of that “you” in existence. Your soul always shines through to some extent no matter your age. (I miss those occasional get togethers in Blooming Grove or Washingtonville, and I didn’t make it to the last high school reunion.)
In the last month or so, two of my old high school friends who have found me on Facebook actually sought me out for advice on issues with which they were faced. (They must read my blog posts and such and thought these were areas about which I had some knowledge.) I was moved to think that they would come to me, that they would think I could help, that they would consider me as wise enough, knowledgeable enough…worthy enough to offer them insights and advice. In high school, I was just that sort of smart, kind of well off (compared to a lot of the other kids), a little bit popular Jewish girl. And today, one of those people responded on Facebook to my last blog post with words that brought tears to my eyes. She said she’d missed my friendship all these years. (And I have so few friends now myself…)
Would I go back to the high school years? Would I relive the angst of my own Breakfast Club? Probably not. I’m happy to have broken out of the stereotypes and to have moved beyond the pubescent, hormonal turbulence. (Hold on…I am in the midst of perimenopausal hormonal turbulence, which feels awfully similar.) I see what my children are going through, and I don’t want to live their lives. Would I like to have some of those old friendships again and enjoy some of those good times, though? You bet. I miss those friends, too. And I kind of like that sense that those who knew me when like the me I am now. Maybe if the me I am now went back in time to high school once again, I’d actually have more friends! I’m sure I’d at least have felt better about myself and more secure about who I was. That would surely have made the high school years easier. If only I could help my kids with that…but one day, like me, they’ll look back and think about their time in high school and those who knew them when.