Jon and I married and left for California immediately when he was in the military and we never looked back, really. We've been on our own ever since, dotting the US with moves. I think for a few years we thought we would end up back home but with every passing year, that seemed further out of reach. This trip was 7 years after the last.
But going home was fantastic. It was my high school reunion and the time I was able to see my two brothers and their families. My school was small. I think there were only 134 that graduated in my class and most of them I have known since Kindergarten. We have a lot of pride about that. We're all intertwined in some way. A lot of our fathers worked together at the mill, our older or younger siblings went to school with our friends' siblings, we had cousins in different grades, you get the idea.
So when you get together, it's not just with friends who are more like acquaintances, it's with people who know the real you. It's with the people you had birthday parties with in 1st grade, it's with people that came to your house to watch the world premiere of MJ's Beat It video, it's your tennis partner for 4 years who was also your driver's ed partner, it's your best friend Richard who passed notes to you in 6th grade and who, 12 years later, was there putting your heart back together after a break-up.
I always felt pretty lucky to grow up where I did and with whom I did. And after a weekend of laughing until I cried and dancing until 2 am with old friends, and then looking out onto the beautiful vistas of the northwest, it just reconfirmed what I had always known.
|My excitement always builds when I see this volcano!|
|My brothers and families at Cannon beach (3 of the kids are not pictured)|
And random phone photos. I kept forgetting to take pictures...
|The reason why I still, to this day, have never had a McDonald's hamburger.|