Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone!

Don't stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don't stop, it'll soon be here,
It'll be, better than before,
Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone.
Fleetwood Mac

Years ago, my mother cautioned me that life is best lived in the present, a premise I've heartily followed since my teens. But lately, I can't seem to get my head out of the 1970's.

A few months ago, Rick realized that his high school graduating class would be celebrating it's thirty-fifth anniversary with a reunion in September. At my prompting, he opened a Facebook (FB) account, and was immediately friended by people he hadn't heard from in three decades. One thing lead to another and we stumbled upon a FB page dedicated entirely to his class reunion. We were having a blast, surfing through new images of old friends, when it occurred to me that the Lahser High School Class of 1977 might also have a FB page. A few clicks later, and I was staring at images, both old and new, of my high school classmates.

There's something rather sobering about viewing photos of people you haven't seen in thirty years. It sort of puts the passage of time into perspective. Our culture has us so focused on staying younger longer, that I think we begin to believe that we are ageless. And lets face it, very few of us look the way our grandparents did at our age. Gone are the days of the dimple-faced, rosy-cheeked grannies with blue hair. Still, viewing photos of your old school chums, cradling grand babies can be a bit eye-opening.

As I've already admitted, I haven't spent too much time dwelling on memories of school days past, primarily because I've been too busy raising my family, and criss-crossing the globe. Of course, if my family had stayed in the Detroit area, its likely I would have maintained contact with at least a few of those I went to school with. That wasn't an option since Dad accepted a job position in California several months before my graduation.

Because I've lived in so many different places, for short periods of time, I think of my life in literary terms. Each place I've lived is a chapter, and the people I knew while living there, are the characters in the stories about those places. By the time I started junior high school, my family had lived in three different states and the Detroit area twice.

My family moved to Bloomfield Hills, my last year of junior high. Our neighborhood sat just outside of the high school district that serviced my junior high, so a small handful of us headed off to senior high with kids that had attended another middle school.

One might surmise, that all the moving around had empowered me to be more outgoing, but nothing could be further from the truth. With each move, I became a little more introverted.

On the first day of high school, I ran into a classmate from the year before, and we promised each other we'd stick together. We even arranged to meet after each class so we wouldn't have to walk the halls alone and look like the losers we felt we were.

If you wake up and you don't want to smile,
If it takes just a little while,
Open your eyes and look at the day,
You'll see things in a different way.

Don't stop, thinking about tomorrow . . .

I remember dreading the lunch hour. Walking into the lunchroom was like landing on the surface of another planet. The place and the people were completely foreign to me. I considered it a hostile environment and decided to avoid it, choosing to eat lunch outside or in the hall by my locker. Sometimes, I just skipped eating altogether, figuring I might as well make good use of my misery and lose some weight in the process. My equally shy friend followed.

To my amazement, I was fairly quickly befriended by a very outgoing girl in my French class, who also happened to be a cheerleader. We both had freckles and shared the same irreverent sense of humor, especially when it came to our French teacher. I was thrilled and relieved when she invited me to sit at her lunch table.

I couldn't wait to tell my friend from junior high, that "we'd" made a new friend. Imagine my dismay, when she refused to accompany me. I had to make a choice - continue living in the shadows with my old friend, or step out into the light. I chose to take a chance on the lunchroom. Sadly, my friend from junior high never forgave me.

The inaugural lunch went very well. I only panicked once, when the football player sitting to my left announced that I had hairy legs. Oh, my God, could I possibly have forgotten to . . . ? As my face flushed, I looked down and realized that a long black hair from someone else's head, had embedded itself in the knee of my opaque nylons. I plucked it off as casually as I could, tossed him a curl up and die sort of look, and went back to picking at my Nature Valley granola bar.

From that day forward, I was a different person - more outgoing and confident than I'd ever been before. I often wonder how different my high school experience might have been if I hadn't accepted that invitation to lunch. I do believe it was a defining life event, as it was the first time I remember making a conscious, active choice regarding my own future. Up until that time, I just went along to get along.

I'm not sure any of us are ever as socially vulnerable as we are in high school. Teenagers can be cruel and callous and many of us, I'm sure, would love to be able to go back and make a few changes or do some things differently. But alas, we must ultimately live with both our choices and our regrets.

All I want is to see you smile,
If it takes just a little while,
I know you don't believe that it's true,
I never meant any harm to you.

Don't stop, thinking about tomorrow . . .

Its been suggested, that we're all still really the same people that we were back in high school, just older. I'm not quite sure I believe that. Somewhere between the ages of eighteen and fifty, life happened! Surely, all that living must have significantly impacted the person I once was!

Isn't it amazing then, that we even bother to search for and communicate with each other? What is it that we expect to find? Are we looking for the people we knew, or the people we hope they became? Perhaps is goes beyond that. Maybe we're hoping to find and understand some part of ourselves we've forgotten or neglected.

Maybe its cathartic to revisit our past once every twenty or thirty years to confront or embrace the person we used to be. Maybe high school reunions and Facebook pages are the excuses we use to find and reconcile our past and present selves. Maybe they're just another way of putting our lives into perspective.

Whatever the reason, there seems to be a universal need to revisit the past. I'll go along with that. But please, don't hold the reunion in the lunchroom!

. . . yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone.

Don't you look back,
Don't you look back.

My entire extended family helped celebrate my high school graduation in 1977.

The Fleetwood Mac anthem, Don't Stop, was released in 1977 on the Grammy Award winning Rumours album. I absolutely adored that album and will always associate it with my senior year of high school.


  1. Just pulled out my Best of Fleetwood Mac CD the other day to share with the kids. Thoughtful post here, Karen. Good stuff

  2. Is that Baby Christina (aka Crafty P) I see in the background??

    This is Christina's friend, Rachel, by the way. I love your blog, Karen!

  3. Great reflections. Why do we subject ourselves to reunions and reuniting with people we could have cared less about for the past (fill-in-the-blank years)? I was entertained by the fact that you and dad really got into the facebook HS reunion thing. Funny pictures.