For various reasons I was unable to attend our class reunion this past weekend. In the spirit of nostalgia I began visiting close friends of my teenage years, checking to see what they were doing.
When I visited Lisa Swifka's page, my eyes became glued to her art work AND the picture of her painting a rainbow mural on our high school walls when we were kids.
I found out that not only is Lisa's art beautiful, it is sensitive in the extreme encompassing sadness, joy, and delight.
Which got me thinking about high school reunions and the people who attend them. I've been to one and it was an experience. I remember a dear friend saying, "You should stay with the people from your grammar school and I'll stay with mine."
(I think we were in our thirties at the time.)
I remember being puzzled, wondering why what grammar school you attended would, should, or could dictate the way you feel about the people you are with. It was such a strange comment that I've never forgotten it. Had I taken her advice many people that are now my friends might not have been.
After playing around on the Internet another comment struck me. A high school reunion is a bit like a war zone--you'll discover who your friends are--and who they are not.
That comment gave me the chills and I began to wonder--what is friendship? My conclusion, after a long weekend of contemplation was that your friends love and accept you just the way you are. I figured I could count them on one hand. Maybe just two fingers.
Whatever your thoughts on the matter--discovering a rare talent among your friends is amazing.
Of course, then again I wondered again at the definition of friendship when you haven't seen someone in more years that you want to admit. Eventually, I just had to let it go.
Lisa is one of those people that no matter when you connect with her again, it as if the years just fall away. That can't be said of many in this world. And if there are things you have missed over the years, you can discover her again through her art and verbiage.
Our dreams may not happen as you expect them to, sometimes you may even wonder why those dreams meant so much....and sometimes you realize the person you thought was meant for you simply wasn't .
And you also find that even though you are LOONNGGGG past that girl in terms of age....... you may still like the same things now that you did then because they ARE YOU inside after all. And although the dreams you had may seem superficial today.......and you may not have thought about bills and mortgage and retirement back then......you can't help it.....like the song says "a dream is a dream your heart makes".
so the silly facts are...
I still like wearing long dresses.
I still search for those great boots I once had.
I still paint and sew and listen to Joni.
We have a dog and 2 cats.
The children were not to be had, but that wasn't our doing.
OUR dream is a beach house....but we had to settle for a wee cottage-like house a 40+ minute drive to the ocean.
We don't have a fireplace but I still like to read a book in my favorite chair.
A player may have changed but the dream remained the same and there were new dreams added....and yes the reality comes with bills and a mortgage and talk of retirement and menopause and losing our parents and all things that come with age......
But what is the real dream when you come right down to it?
To be happy and content and be who you are with someone you love who accepts every aspect of who you are unconditionally. Even if some of who you are is rooted in that 18 year old.
She was vulnerable, which still shows in her paintings. Her feelings were easily hurt and I've often wondered if sensitive people make better artists. For it is in the writing or art that one can discharge feelings without hurting others. The result being a work that speaks to the soul as well as the heart.
Some of my classmates went on to college, got degrees, while others raised children, appeared in shows such as Beach Blanket Babylon. One became a high fashion model, others we lost to drugs.
Her work is fairy-like surreal. Picasso meets the sixties. Or so says my husband. We both grew up with Lisa and last night we marveled at the art she has created.
My husband and I remembered the Vietnam War protest on the front lawn of Washington High School. Many of us had brothers and some sisters serving overseas. I remembered how Dennis bought me a hamburger each day for lunch--to help feed the growing child I carried within me. We reminisced over forty-one years of marriage, three kids, and seven grandchildren. We were grateful we are still together.
Thanks, Lisa. Here's a *hat tip* for bringing back memories I'd thought forgotten. And thanks for the art that shines with creativity and beauty.
You can purchase Lisa's artwork at here. Or just hang around for awhile, reading her blog, enjoying the scenery.
I'd also like to say that I'M SO SORRY I missed the reunion. The pictures are awesome, the faces more so. You all look wonderful and seeing each of you has brought me such warmth that I haven't felt in a long time.