Tallahassee

I graduated from high school in 1979. Never been to any of my reunions. I earned a master’s degree in 1983. Never attended any college alumni functions either. But last week, I drove down to Tallahassee to see old friends from my first newspaper, The Florida Flambeau. (see post below)

A few of those people are my best friends and I see them often. Others, I had not seen in more than 20 years.

Some looked just the same. Some had changed quite a bit. It was lovely to see everyone again, though it served as yet another reminder of how fleeting time is; how fleeting our lives really are. Two decades, gone like that.

I got in my car on a sunny afternoon and drove past my old house, campus watering holes, restaurants, shops. Past Live oaks and Spanish Moss. On Park Avenue, Tennessee Street, Magnolia Avenue, Lake Ella, the Miracle Theater, Governor’s Square Mall, Chez Pierre, Maclay Gardens.

My father, a professor of statistics, settled our family in Tallahassee in 1976. We arrived there from Perth, Australia and cried for three months. A town in the Deep South was a tough adjustment after having lived in cosmopolitan cities around the world. But I ended up living 14 years of my life in Tallahassee. It became home.

It was where I grew to womanhood, married and divorced, committed all of life’s mistakes. It was the place that shaped me, helped make me whom I am.

There were memories swirling in my head that made that time feel like it was just yesterday. And yet, some sights felt so distant, as though it were almost someone else’s life.

The reunion weekend flew by. But now I have fresh memories of a time, a place and people to cherish — as life keeps whizzing by.

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