L.P. Hartley said “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” This week I packed passport, memories, a few dollar bills. With my heart in my hand, I headed to the Midwest for a school reunion. My own pilgrimage to the past. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.
Driving down roads flanked by seas of sweet corn, sitting in evening shade illuminated by fireflies, warmed by laughter and red wine (though not necessarily in that order), I had time to consider the friendships forged during the year I spent as an exchange student in Indiana.
The boys who teased me mercilessly, the girls who shared the pain of unrequited love over ice-cream at Ivanhoe’s. Pizza and Proms, Baseball and Bruins, Keg parties…kisses, Cheerleaders and Candy Canes. It really was the best of times. But time passes. Twenty five years later I wondered if the friendships made would still be as strong?
They were. I’ve realised that like a good wine, good friendships improve with age. Recollection mellows. Shared experience warms the heart and makes cheeks glow. My past may be a foreign country, but my friends are the reason I will visit again.