Who says you can’t go home again? Last weekend Hubby and I flew to Cincinnati for my high school reunion. I won’t say which one, but half a century has gone by. I don’t know where it went, as I don’t feel any older. Well, then again, the fact that everything on my body hurts might be an inkling of a clue that time has passed. And I don’t recognize the old woman who stares back at me from the mirror. And the fact that my favorite childhood memory is my back not hurting . . .
I had not been back to my hometown of Norwood, a burb surrounded by Cincinnati, for thirty years. Of course, things have changed considerably, but I was glad to see White Castle and United Dairy Farmers were still there. Hubby filled his White Castle square, and I filled my United Dairy Farmer chocolate malt square. We both filled our Skyline Chili square. Skyline Chili originated in Cincinnati, although it now has 139 locations in the US, including Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and, interestingly enough, Florida (although, unfortunately, not close to me). Still, Cincinnati has 29 locations, which is 21% of all the locations in the US. That’s probably more statistics than you wanted to know, but for those of us who grew up with Skyline Chili (an often-acquired taste for non-Yankees), it’s a big deal.
After filling our food squares, I made Hubby drive me around Norwood to see the old and the new high schools. The new high school was completed shortly before my senior year, so we were the first class to complete a full year in it. Hubby just had to point out that the “new” high school is fifty years old. To me, it is still the “new” high school. We drove past the house I grew up in, and I finally got the courage to walk up to the door to see if I could persuade the owners to let me in to look around. But there was a big sign on the door that read, “No solicitors. Do not knock. Do not ring doorbell.” So, even though I wasn’t soliciting, I told Hubby, “These people are obviously not friendly,” and we hightailed it out of there before someone ran us off with a shotgun.
On Saturday morning, the alumni were given a tour of both the old and new high schools, although the tour guide didn’t have keys to most everything, so basically, we saw the old auditorium, the new library, and a lot of halls. Plus, we were supposed to have coffee and doughnuts, which never materialized. But it was interesting to see the alumni rooms, which were added sometime after I left, and I even found an old newspaper clipping with a picture of me when I graduated from vet school. The reunion was held that night at an events center, and even though I had to spend the evening with a bunch of old people, I had a good time. I just had to keep comparing myself to the others to be sure I had aged better than they had. Hubby assured me I looked much younger than the other old people from my class, but I suspect he only said that because he knows what’s good for him.
The party started thinning out after nine o’clock, although technically, the event lasted until ten. I remember “back in the day” the party didn’t even get started until ten. I suppose the years have caught with me, as I was more than ready to leave by 9:15—and it wasn’t just because we had to get up at 4:30 to take the early flight back to Florida. Although seeing some of my old friends and my old stomping grounds (and missing the grounds I used to stomp at that are no longer there) brought back a lot of memories, the saying, “You can’t go home again,” is true. At least, in my case, lest there be any confusion, they hung big signs on the front door.