September 26, 2007

WHO SAID YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN ?



Whoever said "You can't go home again " wasn't from Alabama. I was welcomed as if I were the long lost prodigal daughter .





I knew each one by name, of course, since we'd attended the same school from elementary on up. But I was looking for the faces I knew 45 years ago and while some distinctive features never change, others do , and I was not very successful , to my dismay, in identifying some of them. Most were still living in the area and so they knew each other and I was the only one they hadn't seen in so long so it was easy to pick me out. I'm so sure that if I'd of passed them on the street they wouldn't know me either.

Ginger, the gorgeous , long-legged beauty and head majorette at Winfield High who could've easily been Miss Alabama in her day , hosted a gathering at her lovely home. She was the same sweet girl she used to be as we say down South. As was everyone for that matter. We all came from different circumstances, some fortunate and others no so much like moi, but no one made you feel any different.

I traveled the greatest distance and everyone was interested in hearing what I had been doing with my life since high school. They seemed to be intrigued that I was an artist and garden designer in the big city of Chicago.

The reunion was hosted by one of our classmates in a beautiful home set on about 20 acres on the outskirts of town. It was tastefully decorated by the owner's wife who sewed all of the exquisite drapes herself. Each one was a work of art. Had the house been sitting on a lot in Chicago it would have easily been appraised at 4 million dollars, but because things are so much more reasonable down South, I heard one of my real estate broker classmates say around a half million was the value.

The interesting thing is that my classmate who owned the house was the son of a farmer and , as I recall, he was never that great a student. He was however, hard working and learned a skill - brick laying. With his own hands he built a business and a fortune. Money didn't change him, however. He was still the same unassuming person he was back in high school.

One of my classmates and good friends, Niki, moved back home after many years in Illinois. Her dear mother, who recently passed away, had been like a mother to me and my sisters. We visited with her and she took me around to see all the old homes we once lived in.

At the closing of the reunion the president of our high school class announced that four of our classmates had passed away this year. As the names were called I remembered their faces and distinct personalities and said a silent prayer for their departed souls.

Not only did I go home again but I think that if I stayed any longer I would pick up that contagious Southern drawl rather quickly. I believe it was Mark Twain who said that " Southerners speak poetry. " It sure was music to these ears.














16 comments:

  1. It is great to hear about your reunion experiences!

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  2. Thanks, Muum. I had a wonderful time and now it's back to work !

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  3. Thanks for telling us your story. I've often wondered what it would be like to go back to my hometown. How many kids were there in your graduating class and how many showed up for the reunion? Not that it matters, I'm just wondering. Glad you had a positive experience!

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  4. It sounds like you're glad you went, Carolyn!

    So you don't have any Southern accent? I recently met a woman in her 80's who came to Texas from new Orleans a decade ago - one of the things she missed most are those honey-dipped Louisiana voices.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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  5. Hi Dirtyknees,

    We had 55 in our senior class and more than half showed up.

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  6. Hi Annie,

    I am glad I went.

    After 45 years in Chicago my Southern accent has faded like Scarlett O'Hara in the Georgia sun. " Girl, what a brogue on you " -referring to my Yankee accent is what a lot of my classmates said.

    I don't talk like a native Chicagoan or a native Alabamian, guess I'm somewhere in between.

    I've had friends from Chicago settle in the South and within a year or so they'd picked up a Southern accent. So I guess it works both ways.

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  7. glad you had such a good time, Carolyn! I can only imagine what it would be like, since we moved so often when I was growing up and there are no schools that hold any huge positive memories for me until university.

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  8. Thanks, Jodi. It's too bad you didn't have the high school experience, but I'm glad that you enjoyed university.

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  9. Carolyn, it sounds like a wonderful weekend. I'm glad that you enjoyed yourself and that they welcomed "the prodigal daughter" with open arms. :)

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  10. Hi Kim,

    It was a wonderful weekend and one I won't soon forget.

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  11. CG: The years that shape us have a few sweet memories don't they? I'm glad you had a chance to revisit the early years. It seems that the good times are what we remember and the bad fade away. Glad you made it there and back safely!

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  12. They sure do, layanee. I'm also glad that I went back to my hometown after a long absence.

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  13. I think it was Woodrow Wilson who said, "The South is the only place where nothing needs to be explained to me." Glad you had such a nice reunion!

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  14. Thanks, David. That WW was one smart fella.

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  15. Carolyn Gail, I'm so glad that you had a good time back home in Alabama. You looked lovely.
    I don't usually sound southern, unless I'm talking to my mother. My children laugh at me sometimes when I'm on the phone with her.

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  16. Thanks, Robin. I get a lot of chuckles from my kids because to this very day I cannot correctly pronounce Salmon. Yes, I know the 'L' is suppose to be silent. I wonder why they put that 'L' in there. Just to trip me up I guess !

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