Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I didn't have High School. I had Powell House.

I will never have a high school reunion, because I was my entire graduating class. I attended two days of high school ever, and they weren't my own - my friend Lisa took me along as her guest one day to the Saugerties public school, and my friend Mike one day to the Poughkeepsie Day School.

I went to weekend youth conferences, every couple of months, at a place called Powell House, which is the retreat center for the New York Yearly Meeting of Friends, i.e. Quakers. The conferences were not particularly religious (in most cases not at all), and while they were themed, they were completely open and relaxed, with lots of free time.

At Powell House I found the me I'd lost in school.

At Powell House I kissed my first (and second, and third) girl. I don't remember ever kissing any boys there.

At Powell House I learned lots of life skills without being taught. For example, we all pitched in for meal prep and clean-up. Wahaba, the cook, showed me how to smash garlic with the edge of my knife to make it easier to peel. It's a tiny thing but little things like that add up. (She also showed me Bringing Up Baby for the first time, and made sure there was soy milk for my cereal when I was in a lactose intolerance phase. She was a hell of a nice lady.) As a Junior Counselor I learned leadership skills and responsibility, heading up meal crews and organizing games and focus groups on the weekend topics.

At Powell House I learned all the words to "American Pie" and "River" and I still tear up when I hear either one.

At Powell House I learned games like Sardines, Four On A Couch, and Murder.

When I had my first car accident, friends from Powell House were in the car. Also my second car accident, come to think of it.

I graduated from Powell House. We walked around the pond singing songs, then planted a tree (�Miss Tree�). Shut up, it�s only a little hippie.

This coming summer will be ten years. So it is very appropriate that there is going to be a huge reunion next July. When I read about it I became unbearably nostalgic, and probably cried a lot. I also told Will that there is no way I am missing it, that I will move heaven and earth if I have to but we are going to that reunion. He is agreeable as long as I let him hold the baby whenever he gets uncomfortable or overwhelmed. I think he will be fast friends with everyone I loved by the second day.

If you went to Powell House (or Silver Bay) you are invited. More information: NYYM Young Friends : New York Yearly Meeting Young Friends