Make new friends, but keep the old,
One is silver and the other gold.
It was years ago that we learned that little song, which we sang as a round in Girl Scouts. But it’s never been more true. And in this summer filled with reunions with family and friends, I have had ample opportunity to appreciate its message.
It was over a year ago that I contacted Zohreh about our reunion. She was the AFS student from Iran during my senior year in high school, and when presented with the idea of coming for our reunion, she jumped right on board. And having committed, even way back then, I knew she’d come. Even after 40 years.
Over that time we had not only kept in touch but we visited Zohreh and her family in Paris, where she now makes her home. And she welcomed our son during his backpacking tour of Europe so that he could see the Tour de France finish on the Champs-Élysées. In between were the annual Christmas letters and occasional emails. But as soon as she stepped into our house in Duluth, it was as if we’d been together yesterday.
We had a magical three days, revisiting the places she’d known so well during her AFS year here and sharing her memories and experiences with her family. Her enthusiasm was infectious, and I loved reliving it all through her eyes. Duluth provided beautiful weather, showing off the renewed lakefront and sparkling off the ubiquitous Lake Superior.
The best part of all was reconnecting with our close group of friends from high school. A small brunch turned into a half-day affair when we all gathered to talk and share our past and the intervening years. Laughing over year book pictures, recalling stories of adventures in high school, and updating one another on our own families easily filled the hours. The luxury of talking in small groups, and having one-on-one conversations kept everyone riveted and ultimately spilled over into a lengthy breakfast together again the following day.
Recapturing those friendships became the heart of the reunion weekend. It’s what made it worth coming together, to renew the connections we made so long ago and still value. It will be the core of my memories of that 40th high school reunion. Spending time with golden friends.