I grew up in a very small town in northeastern Ohio. Very small. When I was younger, I think we had about 8 stoplights total, and it was a huge deal when a Taco Bell opened (although we have always had a Dairy Queen, and thank goodness because it is one of my favorite places ever). Growing up with 130 some kids in my graduating class, you knew everybody’s business and you could learn a lot just depending on who you ran into at Buehler’s or Bert’s. To further complicate things, it often felt like I was related to half the town.
My friends and I complained – a LOT – about not having anything fun to do, how boring and small our town was, and how driving 40 minutes to get to a mall was a serious tragedy. Once we all had our licenses (again, except for poor Allison) a Friday night football game and cruising around town became the highlight of our bustling social lives. Looking back, I’m not entirely sure how this was fun or exciting, but in our minds, it was the only thing to do. It wasn’t until I started college that I realized just how “small town” it is to cruise around for entertainment.
I didn’t start to truly appreciate my hometown until I left it. I suppose that’s not unusual. But now, thousands of miles away, I’m very proud to talk about where I come from, and the fact that I’m still incredibly close with my group of friends from home. These aren’t just high school friends – out of our group of 5 girls, 4 of us have been friends since the first and second grade, and then we let Allison tag along when we met her in junior high. (Kidding, APN. Love you!)
We all went off to different colleges, and then we started moving to different cities and states, and even different countries. We got married and had babies. It’s harder and harder to make time to stay in touch, and especially to get everyone together in the same place. But we always make the effort. We send each other e-mails about what’s happening in our lives, the big stuff and the small stuff, the happy and the sad.
But my favorite times are when we’re all able to be together. It’s more and more infrequent, in fact our most recent gathering was a full 2 years after the last time we’d all been together, but from the laughs and the jokes, you’d have thought we did this weekly. These are some of the kindest, funniest, and loyal women you could ever hope to know, and I’m so proud and thankful to call them my friends.
A photo trip down memory lane. I had to pull out my photo albums for these first few, in the pre-digital/Facebook era.
High school graduation – 2001
I can’t find any pictures of just the 5 of us all together from 2002-2006. I’m sure they exisit, but I couldn’t find any!
Bjorn’s wedding – summer 2007
Spa/winery visit – spring 2009
Allison’s wedding – summer 2010
Kristen’s wedding – summer 2011
My wedding – summer 2012
Jerry’s – December 2012
Jerry’s – December 2014
Despite the distance and crazy busy lives, I love that I can always count on them for anything, and our reunion in December was one of the highlights of my trip back home. See you girls in Europe in 2017, right?