Saturday, June 18, 2022

We were young women from the high school class of 1967 / Being there then and now, here and now

55 years ago today, my best friend, an acquaintance of hers who asked if she could ride with us to Monterery, and I, all having just graduated from high school, were in the audience at the Monterey Fairgrounds, astounded and fully engaged by the timeless sacred music of India.    

The three of us were all in the same Advanced English class during our senior year.  Our teacher had connections to poets in San Francisco and a poet named Hilary Ayer Fowler came to our classroom to read her poems.  She and our teacher encouraged all of us to write poetry.

My best friend moved out of her family's home and was living in the Haight-Ashbury a few weeks after we saw Ravi Shankar in concert.  Today she is a grandmother and still actively using her MSW in her practice as a family counselor.  We wrote letters for a number of years after graduating from high school and were somewhat out of touch when she was raising her three sons but keep in touch now with phone calls and emails.  We have not seen each other since the 1970s when she moved to New York State and may not see each other again.  Who knows?  Anything is possible.  

With some internet research, I was saddened to find the 2008 obituary for the Advanced English classmate that we never saw again as our paths diverged.  Now I remember that she was a dancer.  The obituary said that she graduated from San Francisco State University and that she studied at Martha Graham's school in Connecticut and had a good marriage and a full life, dying of ALS at age 59.

In fall of 1967, I began college at the University of California at Irvine.  I had met R the previous December on the beach at Half Moon Bay.  My best friend was with me that day in 1966, just a few months after we had seen The Beatles at Candlestick Park, at what was to be their last concert except for the unannounced rooftop concert in 1969 in London.


Walking in the woods yesterday, I saw another (or the same) Great Horned Owl fly across the path just ahead of me.  Farther up the hill, I looked up and was astonished to see the splendid gift of blue sky.



NewRobin13 said...

A lovely and loving remembrance of your friends from so long ago. How wonderful that you went to hear Ravi Shankar all those years ago. I heard him perform at Woodstock in 1969. It wasn't a full concert, but it was lovely.
I also LOVE that you got to see The Beatles. Wow! The is so cool.
And it's really cool that you saw the Great Horned Owl again.

Colette said...

What a gift to see a Great Horned Owl in the wild! I like seeing the portrait pictures (senior pictures?) from those days, I really love those old hair styles, especially the perfect flip. I had naturally curly hair and really struggled to look like everyone else. Then Janis Joplin came along. I never struggled with my hair again. I think your post has inspired me to write one of my own about hair. Thank you.

am said...

Colette -- Yes! Janis Joplin! My hair was curly, too, and I felt tremendous shame, that is now incomprehensible, about my curly hair. I know that, although my hair appears to be relatively straight in my high school graduation photo, it took a great deal of effort to make it look that way. I hope you write a post about hair.

Sabine said...

How old were you before you started to like this lovely picture of yourself?

am said...

Sabine -- Tears welled up when I read your question. Today. Just now. 72 years old.
Something about seeing myself in a positive way through someone else's eyes. Your question brought me to the knowledge that three months later, R was drawn to the young woman who was me all those years ago. My father told me I was ugly and I believed him. My mother pointed out what was wrong with my appearance and I believed her. Time to let that go. Time to see myself with lovingkindness. Thank you, Sabine.

Joared said... be treasured. Would that you had realized a more positive image of yourself many years ago. All of these girls are lovely though I'm not sure which one is you. I never fully appreciated any attractiveness I had as much I did when I looked at photos of myself during the succeeding years as I aged. I don't recall that being a topic as I was growing up so I didn't have to contend with negative messages as you, unfortunately, did.