Comfort

The milieu in which I grew up made it clear that some people were predestined to be more successful than others. It was subtle message. It was complex, having roots in things like the pitfall of pride (i.e., if you’re proud of your accomplishments, you may be stealing glory that belongs to God). Being prideful was one of the worst sins. Echo: What makes you think you are better than anyone else?

In the smoldering aftermath of the hottest period of women’s lib, and my dad said things like, “Women shouldn’t drive or vote.” (He now claims it was a tongue-in-cheek statement.) I also grew up on a couple of military bases overseas—places where hierarchy is paramount, where knowing your place and staying in it is key to survival.

I could write more paragraphs like the ones above but I just read that our eyes go in an “F” pattern when reading content on line, and you may already be scanning this. (God forbid that I should be a boring writer!) That’s why I like to throw photos in:

LHS re09 love train

This year, I did something out of my comfort zone. I knew that it was important to have a Lakenheath High School reunion this year, and I knew if I didn’t plan it, it wouldn’t happen. So I did it. I planned a reunion in San Antonio, Texas—a place I had never been. The reunion was a success. Sure, I learned some lessons, and there are things I would do differently next time. But overall, everyone had a great time.

I had helpers who signed on at the beginning and dropped out. I had other helpers who weren’t there at the beginning but did magnificent work—taking care of some of the important stuff like name tags and t-shirts. I spent oodles of time on Facebook, friending fellow LHS alums, then carefully adding their name, class year, and contact info to the big list of All Lancers Ever Since the Beginning of Time (which in this case is 1951).

Here’s one example of what made all the work completely worthwhile:

Meet Donna and Leslie (aka Zo). Donna posted this photo on Facebook with the caption:

“I have waited thirty years for this hug.”

RAF Lakenheath (map) was our temporary home…a place into which we were plopped down through no choice of our own. How can a military base in a foreign country be home? These days, that ‘home’ is fortress, and most of us can’t enter it. As they say in the old wartime movies, our papers are not in order. Only a handful of us have a military ID that would allow us access to our old stomping ground. Were I to show up at the main gate waving my American passport and proclaiming my previous status as Junior Class Secretary, the military police would escort me out and have a good laugh about it over beers after work.

So where is my home? Is it that military island sitting in the middle of East Anglia? Is it the country that surrounds the military island? Is it the house I’ve lived in for the past 27 years? I can’t exactly say that I am *from* anywhere. The place I was born is not the place I grew up. The places I grew up are far from where I now live.

My home is the people who share my story. We are now scattered all over the US, even all over the world. Every so often we get together and celebrate how lucky we were to live in England. We share memories, we sing jingles from British adverts, we dance like teenagers. We hug each other after thirty years—in San Antonio, or Washington D.C., or Las Vegas, or whatever city it happens to be. We are at home when we are with each other.

We carry each other in our hearts when we are not.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and a special shout out to everyone who showed up in San Antonio. See you next year in Boston.

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13 Responses to “Comfort”

  1. Bridgid Says:

    Kelly — you are the best! I love you and I love this post! We were Uncle Sam’s migrant child laborers, weren’t we? You say it so well here. I hope you’ll cross-post this on FB and Ning.

    Bridgid

  2. Ann Erdman Says:

    Your hard work paid off and it shows in every word and every photo.

  3. Phil Carlson, LHS '78 Says:

    Kelly you did an awesome job, thank you for your efforts, and thanks to those who helped.
    This reunion was unlike any other I have attended, perhaps it was the timing, or our age. Perhaps we are at that point in our collective lives where we realize this won’t last forever and now is the time to reunite with long lost friends, while the opportunity still exists. Despite the fact that 30+ years have passed for many of us, in many ways this reunion allowed a reconnection that almost seemed seamless, like we had never been apart. We took up where we had left off all those years ago and for a weekend we were 18 again making more memories with our friends, our brothers and sisters who share a common bond of being from everywhere, yet being from nowhere.
    Thanks again, Kelly
    We’ll party on in Boston in August next year………..

  4. Pasadena Adjacent Says:

    now I understand…..

  5. Gaga 4 Dada Says:

    Entertaining post. Glad it went well. Even happier you’re back.

  6. Susan Kitchens Says:

    Profound words on what constitutes “home.” Kudos on your efforts and articulating the disovery(ies) that come from the deep, prolonged plans and logistics there-for. Brava, friend, brava!

  7. Lisa Larson Says:

    So well put Kelly! You are just so AWESOME with words! Thanks, again, for all your hard work!!!! we just showed up and had fun but you and Kelly Furr did all the work!!! thanks again! love ya, Lisa Dellarhea.

  8. Petrea Burchard Says:

    Beautifully expressed, dear Kelly.

  9. Jeanine Says:

    Kelly, what would we do without you? You are the glue that holds this family together!! You did all the work… and we enjoyed the fruits of your labor. You are amazing! Thank you, thank you, thank you for being the glue… for making the effort and putting your heart into it.

    There is no other group quite like us, I believe! It’s definitely a family and we know we can depend upon each other. We “get it” and understand each other in a way others cannot. So it’s important to see each other from time to time, to reconnect and remember.

    I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving – I am grateful to have you in my life!!
    Jeanine

  10. Suebob Says:

    You did good!

  11. Altadenahiker Says:

    We all feel lucky to know you Kelly.

  12. Bill Howdle Says:

    You obviously did a great job. I looks from the pictures that everyone had a good time.
    Sorry it has been a while since my last visit. I am not sure how it can be that it seems everyday I run out of time doing nothing.
    Just wanted you to know I am thinking of you
    Bill

  13. ROMIE Says:

    Kelly,
    You are the best. I couldn’t bear to say good bye to any of you. I just left with my wonderful memories of that wonderful weekend I will not soon forget. I wanted every moment of that weekend to stay with me. I too felt the feeling. It did not seem like 30+ had past. I felt to loved, so warm and so at ease with my extended family. I did not want the weekend to end. Thank you for bringing us together again…love Romie

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