Tuesday, January 3, 2012
The blessings of small town living
I knew I had seen her before, I thought...."Could it be?" As they sang, I was convinced. Her posture was just the same, and her expressions. It was one of my high school gym teachers there before me, one member of a female barbershop quartet singing Christmas carols as part of the special music at the Christian Women's Club event we were attending.
They regularly share their gift of song to local churches and nursing homes. How they must love it when they come....
As they finished their performance, which everyone loved, they went into the foyer and were chatting away quietly amongst themselves when I realized I just had to go talk to her before she left. I walked up and she beamed......I said, "I just wanted to introduce myself, I had you for gym, Tokay High." Imagine my surprise when she popped right back, "Lori Cook," she said with a smile. Mind you, it has been 34 years since I wore that ugly orange gym suit. "Wow," I said flabbergasted, "You are good!"
When we were in High School she was single, but before we graduated she married a coach. It was all very romantic to us girls back then. Ann Ganzer became Ann Braden. I remember one specific day we were all in a circle and she put this funky music on. We were supposed to be learning folk dancing. We were changing all the words, and laughing hysterically. And she scolded us for it.
As I sat back down, my Aunt mentioned that her husband had been in her Graduating class in High School. Such a small world.
There was another lady at our table who I was also trying to place. Then my Mom introduced us...."Ah, Gladys Fever!" We were in choir together at Temple Baptist Church. She was always in a different section, being a tall Soprano. As a short Alto, I was always placed at the end parallel to Marge Jones, the shortest Soprano.
The last time I was back in Lodi, I ran into my Sixth Grade teacher. She knew me too! Before I flatter myself too much I remember that they all know my family and have kept in touch over the years, going to the same grocery stores and running into one another in town.
There is something to this connectedness. I think everyone needs a place where they have been known, and known a long time. It keeps you a bit grounded. Going back is good.
And going forward is very good.
Happy New Year! 2012