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August 5 - 9, 2004, Meredith, New Hampshire. Eight of us came together for a long weekend at Terry's beautiful house on Lake Winnepesauke. We met for the first time 38 years ago when the class of 1970 arrived at Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Next year will be a reunion year for us, our 35th, but we couldn't wait. So we traveled by trains, planes and automobiles from near and far, our paths converging at airports and bus stations and parking lots.
Judy took the train from New York to South Station in Boston. I flew into Logan from Austin, Texas, and took a cab to meet her at the Trailways bus terminal.
Meanwhile, in Maine, Vicki drove down from her summer home in Christmas Cove to Susan's house in Portland. They headed south in Susan's car.
Lynne flew into Manchester from California. Virginia's plane from Washington arrived about the same time, and Terry picked them both up. "I straightened and lightened my hair," she had warned them, "So you’ll be looking for the sharp-faced witch with the color-damaged mop."
When Judy's and my bus rolled into Fred Fuller's gas station at Center Harbor, Vicki and Susan were waving at us in the parking lot. The four of us doubled back to Meredith, arriving just behind the other three. Cathy drove up late from White Plains, New Jersey, and we were all under one roof for the first time since we graduated in 1970.
Although we've been in touch from time to time (some more than others), for the most part we have lived separate lives since setting out with our new college degrees at the age of 21.
Ever the organized one, Terry got us all to say what we wanted from our time together. We agreed that for starters, we all wanted a clear picture of what had happened to us, what we'd done. We wanted the broad outlines of each other's lives, if not our own.
Nothing much has turned out the way we thought it would. I don't remember anybody planning on law school, for example, but three of us -- Susan, Lynne and Virginia -- are lawyers. Four of us -- Susan, Lynne, Terry and Cathy -- have children.
Most of us are not living where we thought we would. Lynne and Susan both intended to go home to Boston and to Rochester respectively. But Lynne ended up in San Diego. Susan fell in love with Maine.
I can tell you why I went to Austin, but I never dreamed I'd spend my life in Texas. Judy may have known she would always live in New York.
Vicki went off to Harvard for a PhD in history, and ended up in Turin, Italy, by way of Key Largo, where she owned a yachting business. What a cool life.
Like me, Vicki has had three careers, beginning as an academic, going into business, and then settling up somewhere in between. We talked about the opportunity we've had to exercise all our skills and talents.
Judy has been living all these years across the street from the World Trade Center, and we listened as she described the process of reclaiming her life and home after the catastrophe. She still lives there, in lower Manhattan, pursuing the profession she chose as a young woman: urban development.
Virginia travels to developing countries, helping them draft legislation to regulate their banking industries and the issuance of public debt. She had just returned from Tanzania and Macedonia.
It can be just as surprising when you hear yourself tell your own tale as it is to hear someone else telling hers. "You have to tell your life story out loud to someone who supports and loves you," Terry says. "This is what we do for each other."