When I first heard my nursing school class was going to have a 50 year reunion, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. I was afraid I wouldn’t recognize my friends with their old faces. Did I really want to resurrect 50 year old memories? Would my memories match my classmates memories of the same occasions?
The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to go. Then, because of already purchased tickets, I only had one weekend of the available dates that would be possible. It worked! I believe God opened the way.
We arrived in the States on Thursday afternoon. I flew from DC to Chicago on Friday morning. Carol, one of my classmates, picked me up at Ohare Airport and we drove to the Carlton Hotel of Oak Park. Some of the class were already setting up. We went together to eat lunch nearby.
I tried to nap in the afternoon to get a head start on jet lag recovery. No deal! I guess I was too excited. Jet lag didn’t keep me from enjoying a moment of the reunion.
So what did it mean to me?
Our bodies have aged, we have spent our lives quite differently, but we were the same personalities as we were 50 years ago. We laughed at the same things, we teared up over the same things, we cared deeply for each other.
We all thought that the ‘bad’ things that happened to us in school, only happened to us. With some shame or pain, we harbored these in our hearts for 50 years. When we talked, we found out many others had similar, or even worse, stories about these experiences. How healing and freeing this was!
Members from our class have gone to all 50 states and many, many nations on all continents. We took what we learned and experienced around the world! Many in our class have served in churches or missions, both long and short-term. We have been His ambassadors. Awesome!
Many have taught nursing, as well as practiced what we learned. Many others did not continue to work in nursing, but have used their knowledge and experience in other fields of service. Nothing has been wasted!
Although we didn’t recognize many of our classmates at first, with name tags that had our grad pictures, we soon caught up with each other’s lives. Such good, and sometimes painful stories, we all identified with each other.
Our tour of the hospital, nursing school and dorm was emotional. The hospital has been up-dated, added onto, and changed so much as to seem quite strange to us. But strong emotions and memories poured back when we walked down the basement hallway to the dorm. The ceilings were much lower the wall tiles, and old doors looked just as we remembered them. Our dorm has been abandoned many years ago. We saw where our sweet dorm mothers used to sit, the coat room where a few of our number got their first kiss. We wondered how the bumper pool table fit in that tiny space! The elevators have been out of service for years. The hallways were dark and the rooms were so tiny, we wondered how 2 or 3 girls could ever manage in the space for a year at a time! I guess I’m still processing all of this. I don’t have words yet for this part of the reunion.
I am so grateful for all the hard work done by the organizers to make this reunion so meaningful.