Vacation back home made me miss living in Yankee-land

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 19, 2006

As many of you may or may not have realized, my name was missing from the newspaper at the beginning of this week.

That is because I was on my first real vacation since I’ve been here at The Times.

I went home. However, this time it was because I wanted to and not because of a family emergency or other non-vacation circumstance.

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This past weekend I participated in my five-year reunion on The Hill at Westminster School in Simsbury, Conn.

And it was just as weird – if not more bizarre- as I thought it would be.

Once I arrived on my former school’s campus at approximately 8 p.m. Saturday, I walked under the large white tent behind the admissions office into what may have been one of the strangest situations ever.

The reunion consisted of folks from my class, as well as those from 1996, 1991, 1986, 1981 and so on. They all were finishing dinner when I got there and everyone was having a grand ol’ time.

As we chit-chatted with our former teachers on first-name basis – strange, sipped on wine (not me though. That just would’ve been too weird – drinking with my old teachers? That’s where I draw the line), and discussed what we were doing in our place of residency, there were some moments when my facial expressions were confused and my brain just said “Huh?”

For instance, when so many of my former peers came over to greet me with huge hugs, hold a conversation with me and tell me that we needed to keep in touch.

That normally wouldn’t have baffled me, except for one minor thing – I had never talked to most of those people in high school.

“How have you been?”

“What are you doing now?”

“Where are you living now?”

“Why haven’t we talked?” they’d ask with ear-to-ear smiles.

And some of these almost strangers would even put the “wow that’s interesting” look on their faces as I gave them the long and short of my life in rural Alabama.

“I write for a newspaper in a small town called Demopolis in Alabama.”

If I have to say that line one more time (which I just did) I think I will be sick. After all, I only said it a few million times that night. Yup, my stomach’s starting to hurt now.

But all in all, it was fun. I have plenty of stories to look back on and laugh about. I also saw people I haven’t seen in five years.

It was funny because some of them were actually people that I considered my friends back then, but in the long span of time without keeping in touch, I had forgotten about them.

More than a few times during the night, I would say to myself of course, “Hmph, I forgot they were in my class,” and “Oh man. I completely forgot about him/her.”

There were even a few moments when I said – sometime aloud – “Is that really her? Nooooo. Can’t be.”

However, seeing us all grown up with jobs and some in the process of starting families was a great time. Those who were present from the class of 2001 had all found their niche in life and if they hadn’t, they were taking some interesting routes to get there.

Some of us were in the corporate world, others were still earning degrees, some were acting and a few were working in fun places like Bubba Gump Shrimp.

Honestly speaking, I thought I wouldn’t enjoy the night, and even though there were a few moments when I wanted to run away, I continued to stick around just to see what would happen next.

Sunday, I spent the day with my family. After attending church with mommy, my dad, brother, sister-in-law, and nephew joined us for dinner at Amy Ruth’s Restaurant. I had a salmon steak – mmmmmmm, it was great.

Monday, I went to Harlem for a day of shopping with one of my best friends who I hadn’t seen since she graduated from Westminster four years ago.

We spent the day with another friend of ours from high school, walking in and out of stores, making jokes and reminiscing about our days in school together.

Tuesday, I woke up, gathered my things and headed back to Alabama.

Although my trip was short, I had a wonderful time and it really made me realize how much I missed Yankee-dom.

Thus, I’ve made the decision to move back home.

Just kidding. I wish I could’ve seen the looks on your faces. Sorry I couldn’t resist it.

Even though I miss the cold weather and crowded streets of the north, I don’t think the time has come for me to end my stay in Demopolis.

By the way, the parents are doing great. Thanks for the prayers!

– Andriena Baldwin is a staff writer at The Demopolis Times. She can be reached at (334) 289-4017 or