Monday, February 22, 2010

My Old Kentucky Home (School)

Periodically they float into my dreams. My childhood friends. Magically grownup but looking not unlike our 18 year old selves. Why impose the effects of aging on my nighttime memories? No Lancôme or Botox needed. No Lady Clairol. We are youthful and slender and quite lovely. Nubile versions of our older selves.

I cherish those nights when deep in slumber I find myself in animated conversation with Les Girls. My Besties. Soul-sisters in adolescence. So long ago. Across millions of miles. And, even more years.

Time melts. Remarkably we are oft engaged in frivolous girly behavior, preteen whims. Slumber parties with giggly sips stolen from the bourbon bottle on silver trays hunt tables in whomever's dining room. Lanz nightgowns. Barbie dolls decked out in garden party dresses and that black and white striped maillot ... waiting seductively for Ken. Grins of metal. But mostly we are our adult selves debating issues we never would have imagined in those daffodil-laced, chocolate milk-infused days. Long before we grew up. Mostly.

In the sixties we shared a sliver, a slice of our well lived lives. Kindred spirits brought together by proximity and the same small girls' school. Bound by fate. Nine month segments for thirteen years of shared classes, illnesses, giggles, pimples and dreams in that lovely old estate on Douglas Boulevard.

The sun shines lemon-yellow on the large grassy lawn where we jumped rope and came of age talking incessantly of boys from Country Day and St. X and our neighborhoods. Back where the trees bordered the campus and we snuck Marlboros and Salems behind the bushes out of sight of our chain smoking teachers. VW bugs and Pintos and Mustangs were parked haphazardly on the edge of the driveway around the circle.

Girls in pastel dresses skip around the Maypole draped with ribbons and a colorful array of tulips, jonquils, lilies and magnolia blossoms snatched in the dark of the night from pre-Derby gardens of our parents' friends. A warm Kentucky breeze blows lightly stirring wide-ruled notebook paper and mimeographed homework assignments from their blue cloth three ring binders tossed casually on the stone steps during recess. The white stucco home of our classes welcomes our innocence, prepares us for our futures.

Jane resplendent in white knee socks, navy clunky heels and mini skirt, sparkly blond hair in a Midge flip bouncing as she runs along the drive to the new building. Diane's colorful eyes kohled dramatically in Mary Quant shadow and Twiggy lashes roll annoyingly at Mrs. Wimp's concoction bubbling in the Petri dish. Laurie, presses her baby blue Pappagallo flats lime green trim on the clutch as she shifts her British racing green MG-B from 2nd to 3rd zooming the few short blocks from her home on Arrowhead to Taylor's parking lot to meet up with the Country Day boys for Friday night lights. Cecily and Chesney's graceful long limbs dance the night away in the yard, high on life and a few beers from Jack Fry's. Anne impishly checks out the scene from the rear-view mirror of my navy blue 1964 Corvair Monza exhaust fumes be damned.

So I had to see everyone. Had to. Our fifty-something selves. Jane and I planned a 40th reunion over one of those autumn weekends in Kentucky that reminded us of hockey games in Seneca Park and rehearsals for the junior play. We included anyone who had been in our class ... ever. Plus the boys from LCDS. Why not? We were forever friends after all. We hadn't skipped a beat. Some of us grandparents. Others still single. Childhood chums. What's four missing decades among friends? Nothing!

Cheers! To Cecily, Laurie, Abby, Anne, Diane, Jane, Chesney, Sissy, Cecy, Janey and Edwina ... and to the boys who made our school plays and Friday nights sparkle! With love xo


  1. OH Alice, you are so wonderful to memorialize us all, to add sparkle to our past! And don't forget--our trips to Lexington, to visit your Grandmother's elegant and esquisite shop, your beautiful mother'shopping excursions to Meyers, where riding habits were all the rage, and now how beautiful you are--from the core!

  2. Walter ChristophersonFebruary 24, 2010 at 4:04 AM

    Wow. I feel honored to have been one of those lucky fellows

  3. sweet sweet....i LOVE LOVE LOVE hearing about my mom and her friends!!! (its Laurie's daugter, Abby:)

  4. Love to Mrs Castleman who (unknown at the time of this column) passed away peacefully the day before surrounded by her children ... our loss of innocence with her.

  5. I just got back from a trip with adult friends and have had such fun telling stories of our incredible KHS experience inspired by you and all! Am only now getting a chance to peruse your musings and thoroughly enjoying the visions:~) We are so fortunate to have had that adventure. and OMG I had forgotten junior play! I probably conveniently forgot that since playing a mouse struck to close to home - eeek! Love to you all my lovely classmates and friends.