As if visiting my old life in San Francisco weren't enough, I took a mid-week flight to my original hometown of Long Beach, California for a friend's wedding. Now, this wasn't just any old friend marrying any old guy. This was Diane, one of Inner Circle gals I've known since First Grade, marrying Jeff Laing, a guy I've known since kindergarten. We always thought she was too picky about guys, turns out she was just waiting to rediscover someone who was around most of her life.
I grew up with a very special batch of humans, an unusually close group of people that have kept the same friendships well into adulthood. I recall even teachers at all of our schools commenting on it. "What is up with your class?" said one in high school, "I've never seen such a glued group before." Diane has kept the same friends over the years, as did Jeff, and yes, the orbits mix and so the wedding was The Reunion of the Century. Even my mother was there.
To add to this, not only does everyone still know each other but quite often, we've married one another and if it didn't work out, switched spouses within the same group. I have two friends who ultimately married the Best Man from their first wedding. As one said to me, "Well, he was the best man, after all!"
I feel quite lucky in this regard as I went through a lot of surgeries as a kid and explained my situation a small handful of times and that was it. Because we never moved, the same kids knew my situation and formed a protective barrier around me.
This all proved alarming to a former beau who came from a tiny idyllic town in New Hampshire. He'd just assumed that Southern California contained shallow friendships and transient relationships. Nothing that lasts, nothing that has roots, could possibly thrive amongst the bikinis and palm trees. He now admits that he was wrong, that "weird pockets of small town" exist throughout LA and its environs.
In this photo, you see the bride and groom in white and the other folks, including me, who all went to kindergarten together. Makes me wonder if my romantic disasters are a result of trying to date outside The Gang dating pool. Should I get out my old yearbooks and see if I missed a possible mate?