Sometime last month, I attended my high school reunion. Actually it was more like a get-together.
I had decided long before that I would attend this get-together because lately, I’ve come to realize the value of staying in touch with old friends. Especially the ones who we grew up with –the friends we had as toddlers and in our early childhood, in our pre-teen days, during puberty and adolescence (I forget –are these two the same thing?) during teenagehood and into our early twenties when we were blossoming into the beautiful ladies we are today. The friendships established during those days have over the years proven to be invaluable. I attended this get-together because I wanted to catch up with former classmates whom I hadn’t seen in over a decade and a half. And some who I hadn’t seen in as many years. Some who I hadn’t seen in months. And some like Irene Were who I see every so often.
We met for a late lunch and it was a good five or so hours spent, remembering our good old days of fighting for plates (why oh why hadn’t the school developed a better system for this?), cooks and their drama (Malova), the school driver and his arrogant stunts making us sprint after the bus and hang onto it’s door just like matatu touts (Mjomba) remembering the school matron (who still owes some ladies their pocket money which they used to give her for safekeepingJ), good ol’ nurse Jane, Aunty the photographer, chief and his pontos, the sale of Britania bikiz for school clubs, dipping crisps in tomato sauce, prefects who would make us shit in our pants (Jean Waithaka, Brenda Amisi et.al)….and ofcourse the ever terrifying deputy headmistress Ika2. I hope wherever Ika2 is she has learnt how to smile and not have that stoneface of hers that used to make our goose pimples stand in attention. We had good laughs as we remembered the punishments we did and mused over the naughty stuff we did and our numerous incidents of truancy.
We also took a moment to remember those who have already left us –RIP Donna Otambo.
But most importantly, we shared life’s lessons. We’ve matured because we were able to candidly talk about how our lives have been, the mistakes we’ve made and the successes we’ve achieved –both in our personal lives and in our careers. The honesty with which we discussed our lives, our relationships, our children and our futures was a reflection of how much we’ve grown. Some narrations were heart-rending, some were amusing, some made me ponder deeply. But their common denominator was that in life, we deal with whatever comes our way and we move on –making the best of every situation.
Something that stood out from our get together is that our personalities never change. Years may pass and life can toss us in all directions, but our personalities remain the same.
I noticed that those who used to be reserved and quiet in high school are still the same today. The ones who were chatterboxes ni wale wale. The ones who used to entertain us with their humorous tales are still the same. Reminds me of the African proverb that says “When rain beats on a leopard it wets it, but rain does not wash out its spots.”
My take is that if your school ever organizes a reunion, make time to attend it. The close friendships established during high school are lifelong –and genuine if you ask me. Evidently so because I’ve noticed that almost all my pals who’ve gotten married have had their former high school mates as their best maids or in their lineup. I am no exception, as I had Irene Kimani as my bestmaid, with Irene Were as one of my maids. And then Nancy Lwosi was my MC and I must say she did a fantastic job –throwing in a few high school memories and jabs at me as she MCeed the wedding. Friends that I met in high school and with whom we’ve maintained very close bonds with. And not forgetting Emily Kinuthia (nee Kawinzi) who forms part of my girl crew.
Meanwhile, congrats to Charity Munene (who coincidentally was my classmate right from Pre-unit in Nairobi Primary School all through to form 4 in Stato) on the birth of her lovely princess –born on the same day we were having the reunion.
And thank you Myra Mukulu for your tireless efforts in making the reunion happen. Hope to see more of us in this year’s gathering.