What I Liked Best About Reconnecting With High School Girlfriends

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Photo from 1980s graduation party. The author, Kimberley Payne, is third from right.

Meeting my friends from high school after 30 years

I graduated from Grade 13 in 1987. St. Peter’s High School officially closed its doors on Reid Street in Peterborough, Ontario, and reopened at a new location in 1992.

I lamented that I never received an invitation to say goodbye to the old building. But worse than that, we never had a student reunion for my class. After graduation, my girlfriends and I all went our separate ways.

We kept in touch through weddings and birthday celebrations, but as the years passed on, and we started families and pursued our careers, we saw less and less of each other.

When Facebook came on the Internet scene, it enabled us to reconnect. Although not the same as an in-person visit, we were able to at least browse photos of our “old” friends and get a peek into their lives.

When my best friend from high school, Monica Perk, passed away in January 2020, I attended her funeral. It was there that I met Ella, a friend from high school I hadn’t seen since the 80s. Although it was a sombre event, I was happy to reconnect with an old friend.

I decided to set up a Facebook Messenger group and invited Ella and my other high school girlfriends. I shared the sad news of Monica’s passing, and we mourned the loss of one of our own.

But this also allowed us to reconnect on a deeper level than on our Facebook feed. In this smaller group, we shared old photos from high school and new photos of our families and pets.

The high school gang
Photo of “the gang” from high school days at St. Peter’s High School, the 1980s

Although we all grew up in Peterborough, Ontario, two of our group moved out west and one moved down east. We continued our chats through Messenger and also held a Zoom event to talk to each other together.

When COVID restrictions lifted in 2022, Tiffany invited us all to her family cottage in the Muskokas. Those living in Ontario (5 out of the 8 of us) were able to attend.

We picked a weekend in June, and each of us traveled at least 2 hours north to the stunning Muskokas.

My first thought at seeing these ladies again, in person, was that they all looked the same as they did in high school! How could it be that over 30 years ago, they still looked so young?

Tiffany’s cottage sat in a quiet bay on Lake Muskoka — the perfect setting for us to relax and reacquaint. We ate steak, quiche, and tacos. We drank Mimosa, Sangria, and Margaritas. We took a boat ride to Bala and swam off the dock. The weekend was pure refreshment — for the body and the spirit.

But what I enjoyed most was the sharing.

Into our early 50s, we each have experienced lives that are worthy of a movie script.

I coveted the common experiences we had…from parenting woes to health concerns to work issues. I wasn’t alone in my struggles. My girlfriends commiserated with me. They understood.

Reunion in Muskokas
Photo of our high school reunion, 2022

Although only those from Ontario were able to attend this event, we’re hoping for more get-togethers where we can all be together once again.

35 years later, I thank God for the blessing of girlfriends.

If you like compelling, heart-wrenching, and nostalgic stories like this one then you’ll love this memoir of young life experiences that take you down memory lane. Buy Through Trials to Triumph : A memoir of a Catholic girl’s high school years to learn how your faith and trust in God can root you through troubled times today!

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