When you’re busy—really, really busy—time often zips by too fast to allow you to enjoy those moments that become treasured memories (and photos). Two weeks ago, I did a hometown show that filled me with anxiety before, adrenaline during, and deep appreciation after. I made sure to savor the moment of connection between my performance and an audience filled with many friends.
Last weekend I had another great moment: A once-in-lifetime 50-year kindergarten reunion. These people were my posse when we were all 4 and 5 years old, and we stayed together right through high school. Our chow-down and catch-up party was attended by 20+ former five-year-olds plus some spouses and parents.
There’s something about friends you make in childhood that is very different from the friends you make as an adult. Kindergarteners are thrown together and, as long as no one turns out to be a biter, strong bonds are formed. Adults decide how to present themselves to the world. Children don’t have those skills.
These kids from way back are part of the Steve “origin story.” They were the ones who first rewarded me with uninhibited laughter—those great shouts and squeals of joyful laughter that only kids can deliver. They were the first people who helped me to figure out who I was, and possibly who I was going to grow up to be.
School can be a “kid crucible” for some, but for us it was more like a Play-Doh Fun Factory. Kindergarten is where it all started. The core of so many of these people is still evident. I saw the same smiles I first saw 50 years ago. Fewer milk mustaches, however. These smiles have not dimmed over the decades.
We are not related, but we sure feel like family. The “Bennet Valley Bulldogs” are the true definition of friends.