I am here on Cape Cod in the picturesque village of Chatham with eight friends. We were supposed to be here last year at this time, but you know what happened to those plans.
Beginning in 2008, this group began getting together every few years for a reunion in a different part of the United States. Previously, we’ve been to Park City, Utah; Boulder, Colorado; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Madison, Wisconsin. I’ve been the organizer and each time, I have been fortunate to find a small inn that we take over for three or four nights. It’s such fun to explore the environs, but mostly to catch up. We never stop talking and laughing (even without any artificial stimulants)!
We have known each other since 1967 when we were first year students at Chatham, then a women’s-only college located in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, on the old and splendid Andrew Mellon Estate. (Hence the choice of Chatham on the Cape. It seemed rather fitting.)
The weather here is not at all what I anticipate. Coming from summer in the Bay Area with its copious amounts of fog and drizzle, I was looking forward to sunshine and warmth. So far, there has been a copious amount of fog and drizzle! That has not put a damper on our spirits or activities. Several of us go for a walk, two of us go for a nineteen mile bike ride on the exceptional bike trails that branch out all across the Cape.
One of the most spectacular features at this time of year are the hydrangeas that adorn gardens everywhere. Deep blue, purple, pink and white, the multitudinous flowers are in full bloom, perfectly formed and just bursting with good health and cheer.
The weather improves! Five of us go to a wildlife preserve run by the Audubon Society in Wellfleet and walk through a woodland forest and some grassy marshlands close to the ocean. The other four tour various beaches and towns by car.
On our last full day, the sun shines brightly, there’s a soft breeze, and I get to walk on the beach. How could I come to the Cape and not walk on the beach? The water is cool on my toes and I can’t imagine getting any additional parts of my body wet. Besides, Chatham Beach is known to attract Great White Sharks due to the presence of a thriving local seal population. A menacing sign makes that clear.
Old friends are special. We share a unique history born of a tumultuous time in our country, and in our own personal growth. And what I’ve found is that we’re still friends because of that solid foundation. We have more than memories and continue to listen to and learn from one another.