This weekend, I was blessed to return to my hometown of Tallahassee and catch up with family.
Now, this isn’t “family” in the traditional sense of the word. Some families you are born into. Others you acquire through marriage. And then, if you are very fortunate, some family is chosen for you.
I graduated high-school in a tiny class. Instead of hundreds of students, there were only forty-eight of us. A dozen of those I met in kindergarten.
Our school was small. It was the kind of school where everyone literally knew everyone else. You knew them, their siblings and probably their parents as well.
It was a simple time when the jocks were jocks without the nerds walking in fear of them.
It was an era where the “board of education” hung on a wall. Some may scoff, but the kids that came out of “The High” had a credible respect for authority and grew up to be respectable adults.
Our teachers were more like mothers. There was always the fear they would see your real mother and tell them everything you were up to.
In a school that didn’t have the latest and greatest equipment, we learned to make the best of what we had and didn’t allow what we didn’t have to stand as an excuse between where we were and where we wanted to be. Truth be told, I don’t think we were aware we were lacking anything!
Those halls were filled with love and laughter. Fights were physical but quickly resolved.
No guns, no knives.
Our cafeteria’s food was cooked with love. Homemade cinnamon rolls, pot pies, and peach cobbler. The smells of which I’ll never forget.
We learned to sit still during assemblies where we would pray. We said the pledge of allegiance every morning.
May Days and Maypoles.
Life was simple then. We didn’t know how good we had it.
But now we do.
Thirty years later we look back at those times and laugh. We laugh at how blissfully unaware we were, oblivious to how rare it was to have classmates that were like sisters and brothers.
Those same “siblings” were there for me when I buried my parents. We pray for one another. I’m confident my classmates would tend to my kids in an emergency and welcome them with open arms if for some reason I couldn’t reach them.
This weekend, I was blessed to reminisce about old times and share some new. There was laughter. Yet, there were also tears for the classmates no longer with us. Still, through the process of coming together, many of us were able to “reconnect, release and rebuild.”
And, most importantly, there was love.
Love for one another and love for the institution that brought us together and keeps us together as friends and family, brothers and sisters.
That is something to be grateful for.
Florida A & M University Developmental Research School Class of 87.
I thank God, I was blessed to be one of you.
A friend loves at all times,
And a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17 NKJV