the way we were . . . are


i am honored to have been the entertainment for my high school class reunion last saturday night. now, almost a week later, i’m still enjoying the afterglow. there’s something downright magical about standing before your true peers, leading them on a trek down memory lane – a trek you know from the outset won’t be finished that night. i’ve got enough stuff and enough stories to last at least two more treks, a.k.a. reunions. there’s simply never enough time, is there?

my mother had her class reunion that same day – class of 1945. they get together every october – every single october. their love and support for each other is strong. maybe they cleared the path for us. maybe they set the stage, the example.


a surprisingly large number of us went through all 12 years of school together – that’s really something, isn’t it? we knew each other’s parents and fought with each other’s siblings like they were our own. though we knew there was a mother round every corner making it downright impossible to get away with anything, we still tried. occasionally. the entire village raised us, and i don’t remember one parent ever turning on another with that how-dare-you attitude. they simply thanked each other for caring enough, then resumed the badminton game.

such a satisfying sense of groundedness to be with people you bore witness to and who bore witness to you throughout years of major evolutionary and developmental changes. people who you spent 6-7 hours a day with in class, then several more hours in after school activities, then church and other community events. spending the nights together, partying, talking on the phone. learning, knowing, realizing, grappling, struggling, celebrating together. it was fun to reconnect. to remember. to leave the years and any unpleasant memories far, far away from this gathering. to laugh nostalgically. to note countless times we’ve amazed and astounded ourselves and each other.

only one person asked me the dreaded question “what do you do?” maybe it’s cause nobody’s interested, but i prefer to attribute it to a deeper level of togetherness and acceptance that connects us. a knowing that what we do isn’t who we are, and who we are is what’s most important. there is space in our togetherness. there is love in our togetherness. the kind of space that just happens. the kind of love you can’t buy.



  1. Angela

    Jeanne, I wish they would ask me what you do, so I could tell them you bear witness to their lives and your family’s and your friends’.  That you are a writer-storyteller-seer-thinker-weaver-kindler.  And  that would be my warmup.  xoxo

    • whollyjeanne

      Oh, my friend, you bring on a bout of tears. I always struggle with that question because I am so darn eclectic, because I will never receive the gold watch for anything, because I have no title or salary to define me. Far too often I fall into the hole of being defined by such things. Your comment shores me, tickles me, soothes me. Thank you.

      • Angela

        The gold watch is not all it’s cracked up to be..

  2. Marjory

    What a delight you are sugar and I love Angela’s comment too. What you do is magic and it simply has to be experienced. Love ya

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Hey, Sugar! I'm Jeanne Hewell-Chambers: writer ~ stitcher ~ storyteller ~ one-woman performer ~ creator & founder of The 70273 Project, and I'm mighty glad you're here. Make yourself at home, and if you have any questions, just holler.

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