I went to Nashville over the weekend since I’m in Kentucky working for two weeks and needed something to do. My friends Allison and Max came up from Oxford, MS to visit me. Their drive is what I consider the equivalent of driving from my parents house to my sister’s place in Chicago: long, not exciting, but the end result is always a good time. Nashville is not a city I’d ever want to live in, or even vacation to, but since it was the closest city to me, and I hadn’t been there in about 12 years or so (and really, we had driven through it I think), I figured it’d be a “good” place to be.
As much as Nashville was horrendous and had nothing to really offer, I had the most amazing time with my friends. We met up with another former classmate who attends Vanderbilt University, Courtenay. I swear, it’s like the four of us just picked up right where we left off all those years ago. I saw Allison and Max about 2 1/2 years ago when I visited my friends in Oxford, but I figured we’d all changed a lot since we’re real-world monkeys and all. Not a chance. Courtenay hasn’t changed a bit and I loved it. We still had the same jokes and new ones and had more in common now than we did in middle school; and we were all great friends in middle school.
It amazes me the friends I have. It amazes me that I have friends in another state whom I feel more close to than some of my friends in Michigan. I love that we’re all still friends and can talk on a somewhat daily basis to make sure we’re alive and doing well. I couldn’t get enough of hearing what they all had been up to, what they’re studying, what they’re working on, where their travel plans will take them over the summer.
It made me think: What would have happened if I never moved to Michigan?
I would have attended OHS (Go Chargers!) and probably would have had Dr. Murchison for AP English just like my sister did (because the regular English class was a joke there). My parents would have probably moved out of the Faculty Row house and found another one because my dad would have most likely become tenured, and I probably would not have gone to a college out of state, like MSU. I probably would have attended Ole Miss and saved costs by living at home. It makes me wonder what kind of life I would lead. Would I have worked for a newspaper down there..? Or gone to a grad school in TN, LA, AL, or GA..? Would I have gone to grad school at all? I mean, I didn’t go to grad school here, but would I have because there are some great ones down south? Would I have studied journalism, or would I have done something like engineering because my dad teaches it and I’m exposed to it all the time?
I wonder if I would have stayed friends with all of them throughout high school. I’d like to think I would have because the people in Oxford weren’t the type to lose touch with friends they had in middle school. I think a lot of them are still friends with the people they knew in middle school when I was there. I know some other girls I knew in middle school are still friends with each other now, after all these years. It’s so cool to see the photos of them together during holidays when they all go back home and meet up for a drink or dinner or something.
It makes me almost sad that I never had the chance to do that because I moved so much as a kid. I don’t know why I feel so much closer to Oxford than I do to Columbus OH; Pullman, WA; or even Houghton, MI. Maybe because I was getting older and learned to appreciate friendships more and I honestly thought we’d never move from Oxford. People give MS a bad name, but Oxford is a really beautiful town with incredibly nice people and the things that mattered to the girls I went to high school with in Michigan, just didn’t matter to the girls down in MS. I think i would have had different morals about certain things, because you grow up around people with different morals and ideals.
The point is, they didn’t change. Or at least, it doesn’t feel like they’ve changed. It feels like we were the same people who used to sit in the courtyard before 1st period at OMS, finishing homework or talking about what we did the night before. Or complaining about Mrs. DeWees or Ms. Donald and how terrible they were at teaching math. I used to talk to Allison via three-way calling every day after school with another one of our friends whom I’ve lost touch with.
It was just weird to talk about how we were in middle school, and how they were in high school and how I was in high school. I was this awkward kid who moved to Grand Blanc, and I still was awkward through high school I think. I probably would have been just as awkward there in Oxford until I went to college and realized who I was. I know that’s super cliche, but you do learn a lot about yourself in college, there isn’t any denying that.
I can’t believe it took me 6 years before I started talking to Allison again once I had moved. We weren’t that close in middle school, but we were in the same friends group and always hung out around the same people, ate lunch at the same table, had band together, our older sisters were in the same grade in high school and also in the same friends group, etc. We definitely were friends, but we are so much closer now and I am incredibly thankful for that. In fact, I can honestly say that she’s probably one of my closest and best friends I have, even though I only see her about once every 2-10 years (haha). But we make an effort to talk to each other and when we talk, we don’t miss a beat.
We’ve all grown up and changed. But we’re the same.
It’s weird and cool like that.