You Can’t Go Home Again

Returning guest blogger Sunny Frazier, whose first novel in the Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries, Fools Rush In, received the Best Novel Award from Public Safety Writers Association, is here today to share her thoughts about her high school past and 50th reunion.

The third Christy Bristol Astrology Mystery, A Snitch in Time, is in bookstores now.

sunny69@comcast.net   //  http://www.sunnyfrazier.com

Last Saturday was my 50th class reunion. It was being held at the local Indian casino and was well organized. I had a dress, shoes and jewelry picked out ahead of time. What I didn’t plan on was the head cold that hit a few days before the event. Reunions are the one time you want to look well-preserved and see all the people missed over the years. I was showing up as Typhoid Mary.

Via FB, I let the others know what I was bringing to the party. I struggled to decide whether to show up and quarantine myself by giving air hugs and keeping everyone at sneezing distance or spare everyone and stay home in bed with tissues and cough drops. Ultimately, I donned a surgical face mask and sallied forth, my friend and neighbor Ana there for support.

In 1940 Thomas Wolfe wrote a book titled You Can’t Go Home Again. He warned that if you try to go home to a place you remember in the past, it won’t be the same. It’s true; in 1969 the small town of Lemoore, CA, population 4,219, had no McDonald’s, no movie theater and only one stop light. The town was named for Dr. Lee Moore. Basically agricultural and primarily Portuguese, the area was also known as Dairy Country. The smell of cows permeated the air.

With little to do for entertainment, the town focused on its teenagers. We were conservative back then, wearing dresses to school with boys sporting dress pants, not jeans. We were bussed in from rural farms, small towns and the nearby Navy base. School events were town events. Football games, homecoming parades and school plays were supported by the entire community. We grew up safe, happy—and bored. We strained against the tethers to get away, to see the big city lights and experience the world.

Despite what Wolfe says, many of us did come back. Some came home for family reasons, some to raise their own children in a safe environment. No, it’s not the same town we remembered. It’s better. The population has grown to 26,474. There’s a movie theater, 3 supermarkets and not only a McDonald’s but also a Burger King, Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, Fosters and several pizza chains. There’s a Starbucks and a junior college, plus a huge casino in our backyard. We hold bragging rights to the largest mozzarella factory in the world.

   

The Lemoore High Class of 1969 was an outstanding class in every way. We seemed to win all the prizes, made the best floats, had the most spirit. Not only did we celebrate every decade but met for mini reunions as well.

That spirit came back in full force when we came together on Saturday. Sure, I had trouble remembering some of my classmates. Yes, we’d all changed quite a bit. Homecoming queens became homemakers, nerdy guys transformed to nerdy men with PhD’s. Our exchange student Peter flew all the way from Italy. The years had broken down any cliques that existed. We celebrated each other’s success, grew teary-eyed at the Memoriam for those who were taken away too soon.

I made it to the end, winning a gift basket and receiving a pumpkin table decoration from the Bowen’s who didn’t want to cart it all the way back to Colorado. I was on shaky legs as Ana poured me into the car. The next day was spent in bed as the cold beat me into submission. Was it worth it? Absolutely. I can’t wait for the next 50 year reunion!