Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The 400th Post! Reflections on Looking Back

Faded photograph
 My year senior yearbook picture - 1965

This Mercury Retrograde, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect and reminisce—a couple of the “re” words that Mercury Retro is good for. I’m on the cusp of my 50th high school reunion. The reconnections and remembering have been beyond the best for me and thoroughly exciting. Enhanced by communications in advance, made possible by today’s modern tools—a class website and Facebook page—the reunion is already in full swing in cyberspace.

Par for the Queen of Synchronicity, my big reunion back in the ‘burbs of Chicago, takes place September 11-12 while the Sun is in Virgo. My co-editor on the feature page of our high school newspaper has invited me to stay with her—to reprise our creative synergy and renew our friendship. Ann is also a Radical Virgo, born earlier in the month of September than Tim and me. (Hubby has generously let me off the hook to celebrate his birthday till I get back, since it’s smack in the middle of the reunion.) There’s nothing like looking back from the wisdom years when you can finally make some sense of your life. High school for me was like the delicious center of an Oreo whose outer layers were as dark as those cookies are near black.

Tim and Me at my 8th grade
graduation party
In junior high, we had just moved to Evanston. I was lost and interpreted many of my classmates’ behavior as rejection, coming off being one of the most popular girls at my old school on the South Side. When I attended the 50th reunion of my grammar school class in 2011, I realized most of the rejection I interpreted was probably imagined. What I was experiencing were the lame social skills of adolescents. Especially back then, kids weren’t exactly trained 12 in the art of making someone feel welcome. Most of my classmates had known each other since kindergarten. Their clusters and friendships were solid and hard for an outsider to break into, at what was tantamount to the last minute.

College was the other dark half of the cookie. It was my first time away from home, and I had much more separation anxiety than I ever anticipated. I felt totally out of my element and emotionally fragile. This was where I uncovered my deep attachment to my parents and the thick far reach of my mom’s apron strings.

Ah, but high school! Here was the first place I found my niche, not only friendship-wise but vocation-wise. It was where my passion for writing first flourished. I don’t have to mention to the Chironophiles in the Radical Virgo crowd that the number 50 is very important here. In the case of each reunion, grammar school and high school, my reconnection with my classmates occurred on the class Chiron Return. The grammar school reunion was life-changing for the way it healed old wounds. I expect the high school reunion to be nonetheless profound. Grammar school was the wounding side of Chiron. High school? The whole-making aspect. This is why I’m so looking forward to it.

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with the price of eggs and the 400th post on The Radical Virgo, which our next one will be. These musings caused me to rediscover a chapter in my memoir on the back burner called “The Newspaper Niche.” (They also caused me to realize the redirection and new version of that book needs to move to the front burner.) The newspaper was much more than an incubator for my creativity. It was the first time I found my tribe and learned to recognize kindred spirits. I still tear up every time I read the conclusion of that chapter, because the even bigger life skill I acquired in the Journalism Room was finding my people.

If you count every 50 posts as a metaphorical Chiron cycle, we’re on our 8th “Chiron Return” on The Radical Virgo.

I like to think that I have also been finding my tribe in our 400 encounters here on The Radical Virgo. The reposts (more “re” words) have allowed me to reread many of my offerings here and to conclude again what I have known for some time. If I’m a good writer, it’s because I have an open enough mind to let inspiration come through me. I’ll often think to myself, “Where did I get that?” The owner of a humble Sun sign, I cannot take credit for this talent, as it is clearly some portion of the divine streaming through my cranial Roku box. I just had to turn on the remote.

Of all the times in my life, the Radical Virgo replicates the best of high school where the J-Room was populated with a large supply of brainiacs whose intelligence, at first, was intimidating to me. (I later learned that being raised by blue collar, minimally educated adoptive parents; I had no idea till I mingled with my fellow scribes that I had a pretty big brain myself.) I’m a huge fan of the old Mary Tyler Moore Show. Mary was clearly a Virgo, and “dumb” was one of her favorite words. She’d say, “That’s so high school,” when something was both dumb and immature.

My high school experience was a lot more mature than many people’s. I’m glad I’ve been able to bring it with me to 400 posts in the J-Room of this blog. And I hope you enjoy yourself half as much as I do here in our own High School.


NEXT WEEK: The Radical Reposts continue with The Signs, the actual 400th post!

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