When I received the news a few days ago that a dear friend of mine from school had suffered an aneurysm and was in a coma, it prompted me to go into the attic and bring down boxes containing my high school memorabilia. There were three in all that had been stored unopened since we moved into our house over 20 years ago. To be honest, when I first went into the attic I wasn't even sure the boxes were still there much less where they would be. I had to search for quite a while before finding them buried under a pile of old rugs and blankets. I took the boxes into the living room and sat down on the floor to begin looking. I didn't know what I would find when I opened them - it had been so long since I packed them I didn't remember what I put in.
The first box I opened contained a scrapbook from my senior year. As I began to look through that book I was taken immediately back to 1978-79. It was as if the last 33 years just disappeared, and I was a high school senior again. I looked at pictures and read old newspaper articles. I found cards, love notes, and ticket stubs from dances. I found my diary with dried flowers pressed inside and reread every entry for the entire year. I could remember everything like it happened yesterday. Some of the memories made me laugh, some of them made me cry, but they all made me realize how much I missed my friends and the place I will always consider home.
I spent several hours going through those three boxes. I couldn't believe all of the stuff I had kept, but I was so thankful that I did. There were buttons and ribbons from football and basketball games, award certificates, my student council gavel, plaques, a spirit stick, I.D. bracelets, and of course all of my high school yearbooks. I even found my class ring that I thought I had lost years ago! It doesn't fit any more, but I cleaned it and placed it in my jewelry box anyway.
When I had finished going through everything, I decided I didn't want to pack it all away in the boxes again. Instead I cleaned out the drawers in the nightstand beside my bed and placed all of the items there where I can look at them anytime I want. I may decide to get them out often, or I may never look at them again - who knows? But having them nearby where I can relive those memories if I choose is like having my old friends here with me.
The Golden Chain of Friendship - Helen Steiner Rice
Friendship is a golden chain, the links are friends so dear,
And like a rare and precious jewel, it's treasured more each year.
It's clasped together firmly with a love that's deep and true,
And it's rich with happy memories and fond recollections too.
Time can't destroy its beauty, for as long as memory lives,
Years can't erase the pleasure that the joy of friendship gives.
For friendship is a priceless gift that can't be bought or sold,
And to have an understanding friend is worth far more than gold.
And the golden chain of friendship is a strong and blessed tie
Binding kindred hearts together as the years go passing by.
*The friend whose hospitalization led to my trip down memory lane passed away just a few days after being admitted. Thankfully, many of the pictures in my senior scrapbook included him. We shared a lot of good times and made many special memories together. He was a true friend - one that I will always hold close to my heart.