The circle has come full circle – Santa Clarita Magazine

A door that was believed to be closed opened. During a recent visit to my homeland, Israel, a reunion with my primary school friends was called. These are my childhood friends whom I met over fifty-five years ago, when we ourselves were the most authentic. Long before we had learned to play the roles of adults, sophisticated and pretentious. They were innocent days of sharing joy, laughter and tears, much like growing up with our own brothers and sisters. I remember playing hide and seek games with no hidden intention. Reuniting with these old friends, I could still see their eyes sparkling with dreams and hope for a bright future.
In anticipation of our reunion, we didn’t know what to expect. We approached cautiously, not even knowing what each other’s faces looked like. Have we changed a lot? The years have taken their toll. Our faces got older and our bodies moved a little slower, but our smiles and eyes remained the same. We began to share our life stories in turn from our formative years. Deep scars opened in all of us from this intimate reunion of five girlfriends sharing a meal, family style.
We learned that the girl with the most captivating smile and who appeared to be a carefree girl lived under the most painful childhood circumstances, grew up with a mother who faced the trauma of the Holocaust. Another girl, who seemed to have everything from smart clothes, plenty of shoes, and piano lessons, felt unworthy and uncomfortable being brought up in a life of privilege. Each wrinkle had a story. The shy, calm boy who became an internationally renowned architect building the world’s most famous bridges, couldn’t bridge the gap in his personal life with his wife and children. We have mentioned friends who have divorced, moved across the world, and had successful careers. We remembered those who never returned from military service, including the nice boy I shared my first kiss with. A girl who was the most liberal and free-spirited had found God and is now raising many children in a traditional Orthodox home. The prettiest guy in school who had all the girls wrapped around his finger couldn’t find the strength to seek outside help and committed suicide.
We received the latest updates on who did what, why and where. We felt their sorrow, their pain and their joy. We joked about our physical aging issues and compared our sore bones, but we always felt lucky to be together. We felt good in our circle of friendship which had been renewed. We had come full circle. Our camaraderie was true to the essence with unconditional love, like the good old days. It was a real connection that was unaffected by the weather. We have promised to keep in touch and make new happy memories together from now on.
Naomi Young has been a Jewish studies teacher and bar / bat mitzvah teacher in Santa Clarita for 39 years. She is also a published writer and an artist. Contact her at [email protected] Visit her art website at www.naomiyoung.com


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