The first and most important words I need to start with are how utterly shocked, amazed, honored and touched I was to learn that more than several of my high school friends have been following my blog over the years, without ever telling me.
Which, to me, means that they have been thinking and wondering about me, still, after all these years.
That is just amazing to me!! Thank you, my friends! I'm so glad we have been able to keep in touch even if I didn't know we were!
Over the last several years I have slowly been able to accept how loved I am. But never have a felt it as strong as I did last weekend at my reunion. In a concentrated, fun, accepting, respected way.
From Kelli and Teri refusing to move to the FSK Hampton Inn when they misbooked our reservation, so I would be able to walk over to the American Legion for the dinner/dance to Doug and Shawn coming to the TJ reunion especially to see me because I couldn't go to them.
No one cared or was threatened whether or not I could eat or drink what they were eating or drinking.
No one cared that I had my hair covered with colorful scarves the whole time (and even got some very respectful questions).
No one made any political comments about my living in Israel, in fact, I felt incredibly supported.
No one cared and were even more sorry when I had to run back to my hotel on Friday before I turned into a Shabbos pumpkin.
Teri and Kelli were more than respectful in helping me to keep my Shabbos laws in our hotel room.
My friends were genuinely happy to see me and appreciative that I came all the way from Israel.
And as the weekend went on, it became even more apparent to me that I am who I am because of the love and respect and support and acceptance of who I am.
No one cared that I was an observant Jewish woman. I was Sarah. With the same old energy, excitement, and fun that I had in high school.
Teri, Kelli and I spent alot of time reading my high school journals. We laughed alot. They laughed at me alot! To say I was a little boy crazy would be an understatement. And I had two worlds of boy craziness. I had my non-Jewish public school friends, and my Jewish friends in Baltimore.
I lived two worlds. Ones that the other never really understood. When I was with my Non-Jewish boys, they only knew that I would never date them, so I could do whatever I wanted with them, and be their best buddies, without any commitment. And they certainly had no idea what it meant to live in a Jewish world.
And my Jewish friends had no clue what it meant to go to public school and have the most wonderfully accepting and supportive friends ever!
I was the only one who had the challenge of juggling the two worlds. I cried alot back then. I was very confused.
My journals reminded me how hard it was for me then. Thankfully, 25 years later, I have made peace with that conflict. Have found my balance. Am "okay" with who I am today. And confident that I am the best person I can be.
It was fun to let loose. Go back to Sarah in Frederick. Take a ride downtown Frederick in Shawn's truck. Speak with a twang. Recognize how awesome it was to grow up in a place like Frederick.
I am thankful to Teri and Kelli for being loving and fun friends and roommates for the weekend.
I am thankful to Kathy for driving me back to my hotel on Friday night and keeping me company as I went through my Friday night Shabbos rituals; as we got caught up on alot of years of our lives.
I am thankful for Laurie for trying to get permission for me to be allowed to open my kosher wine at the Eagle's. (Even though we didn't get the permission and so I snuck the wine in a bag and poured for myself in the ladies bathroom at the American Legion Saturday night - sneakin' liquor, just like in high school)
I am thankful to Steve Speilman for being the first of many to tell me I hadn't changed a bit.
I am thankful to Gene Stitely for remembering that he was the first boy to hold my hand back in 2nd grade.
I am thankful to Kim Swank for reminding me that I am her "little buddy!"
I am thankful to Teri for coming to synagogue with me on Saturday morning. And letting me back in the door after walking back.
I am thankful to Doug and his wife for coming by our room to see me.
I am thankful to Frank and Chris for coming to the reunion so I could finally see Frank after all these years and share the happiness of their reunion of marriage. I am so very very happy for them! And feel satisfied closure in seeing him again.
I am thankful to Shawn for coming to the TJ reunion so I could hug and thank him for being the real reason I am a religious Jewish woman; taking us for a ride in his truck; a putting up with three giggly ladies.
I am thankful to Dave and Glenn and John for their fabulous hugs, smiles, and love.
I am grateful to Kris and Lorin and Caressa for still being the awesomest friends.
I am thankful to my senior year crush, Matt Warner, for coming to the picnic so I could see him after 25 years. A little awkward , but fun!
I'm sad Julius and Matthew couldn't be there.
But I am so happy I was able to be there...
Thank you, my friends! May we share many more happy times together...
P.S. If I a remiss in mentioning anyone, it is not intentional...