I had spent a long time getting excited for my ten-year high school reunion at Interlochen Arts Academy. Abby and I plotted and planned our travel, and I reserved a beautiful cabin right on the lake. Then we got the word that the reunion was cancelled because not enough people showed up. After some discussion, we decided to go anyway. So we wouldn’t have the “official” reunion stuff (which honestly didn’t sound that much fun anyway), but we would have a long weekend in Northern Michigan with the changing leaves and a few other friends from high school.
Yep, that’s how we roll.
Abby picked me up from the Detroit airport, and we headed northwest. We arrived in time to watch this beautiful sunset before heading to the grocery store and to the Hofbrau for dinner. Many years ago, the alumni visiting for their 10 year reunion told us, “When you guys are older, you’ll find out that the Hofbrau is actually a BAR!” And it is! With a phenomenal draught list to boot.
The next morning, I got up and ran a few miles in the cool, crisp air before we headed to campus to walk around and sit in on some classes. We could not have asked for a more beautiful day. The mall was ablaze with color, and the lake was calm and clear. Over the past 9-10 years, Interlochen has built some new, gorgeous buildings including a film studies center and a new visual arts complex with galleries and studios. What was a gym/orchestra rehearsal space when we were there is now a beautiful library and music library. So some of that stuff was a little crazy.
At the risk of sounding curmudgeonly (“when WE were here…”), it was funny to see students with laptops in class and Wi-Fi throughout campus. My first year, we had to individually pay for dial-up internet in our dorm rooms, and we had awful DOS-based computers in the basement to check our e-mail. Technology has come such a long way in ten years. Our second year, the school put internet connectivity in our rooms, and we all had LiveJournals and chatted after-hours via AIM. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time reminiscing.
It also happened to be my birthday, and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend it. One of the coolest things we did was take advantage of the photo archives, and the photo below of our dorm hall must’ve been taken on my 18th birthday, 11 years ago that day.
We’ve come a long way!
Of course, being there with those kids made me totally sentimental and cheesy. I remember thinking that there was no way I would be happy doing ANYTHING besides being a classical singer. I couldn’t even imagine ten years from that day or envision that I could be doing something entirely different and yet still completely fulfilling. I never imagined that I would be married, an Episcopal priest, living in Nashville, or a runner. And I looked at these kids with all of this possibility in front of them and all of their youthful idealism, hope, and drive, and I missed part of who I was then. A lot at Interlochen has changed but a lot has stayed the same. It reminded me how thankful I am to have had such a formative couple of years there with talented and creative colleagues and gifted teachers.
Here’s hoping another 10 years doesn’t go by before I return to the land of the stately pine!