I looked it up, and I like the definition. Auld: of long duration. My college friends – we’re not old, we’ve just known each other for a very long time.
It was 40 years ago, in fact, that we all met at Knox College. Four years we spent living in close proximity, sharing dorm space, tough classes, crushes, late night popcorn and cafeteria food. We survived killer tests, romantic crises, music recitals, unsolvable math problems, swimming and track meets, impossible lab assignments, and sorority life. We were drawn to each other through common values and interests that spawned lasting friendships for the duration of our college years. And beyond.
A few of us braved a reunion or two over the last 36 years. It was fun to see the campus again, visit with old profs and meet up with some good friends. But the nucleus of key people was missing. Those we really cared about were either not there or our encounters were diluted by the myriad other events going on. Enter the Knox Mini-Reunion. Last weekend six of us rendezvoused in the Twin Cities for our own get-together.
It’s amazing how quickly we were able to slip back into familiarity. One I hadn’t seen since graduation, others were almost that long. But the foundation of common experiences bridged the years and the intervening periods melted away. And there was never a shortage of conversation. We talked our way through a Twins game, a walk around Lake Calhoun, Grand old Day in St. Paul and many meals together. We even took a private yoga class – not much conversing there, but good bonding. We’ve all followed different paths since college, but we soon discovered that we are the same people we were then. And we still have the same common values.
It’s wonderful to be among friends who understand you. Stories don’t require explanation or background, they “get it.” It was a rare immersion in friendship that brought us all back to our roots and reminded us of what we gained through college life. Looking back on photo albums from those days and paging through our year books brought a lot of laughs, sparked memories and stumped us when we couldn’t remember names. It also reinforced the good times – both then and now.
It was tough bidding goodbye to my friends at the end of the weekend, accomplished only with promises of another such gathering in a few years. I felt as though I’d been in a time warp for a few days, having focused solely on our little inner circle and letting the world go by without us. But I felt renewed, refreshed and very fortunate.
Here’s another definition. Auld Lang Syne: for the sake of old times. That pretty well sums up our weekend. Till we meet again, my auld friends!