I can’t place my current values on their lifestyles. I don’t know what it is like to be twenty-five in the world today. To have memories and instincts based on a world where technology has always been available, communication has always been instant and world-wide. I was relying on airmail stationary at this point, Lex is instagraming photos as I take them of she and Kathryn. A weekend with my adult daughter shines a harsh light on coming of age today versus when I was young.
To watch these two friends from grammar school reconnect, after a year of no face-time, is almost intimidating in its perfection. But of course, they know so much about each other’s lives in Cambridge and New Orleans; through the forms of communication that are instant and constant. I mistakenly think I am speaking to the universe through my blog. I have the features that claim to send each post to Facebook and Twitter for me. I then remember, I’m not really sure how to access my twitter account. Wouldn’t it just send me an email if anyone ever tweeted me back?
Kathryn and Lex were reminiscing the other night about a high school tradition in Lunenburg that would be in full swing at this time every year. Each grade was responsible for creating a float for the big Turkey-Day football game. Local farmers donated the flatbed wooden trailers and deposited them, via tractor, to the “Float Building House.” The tractors would return when the floats were finished and needed to be dragged through the town for the parade. We were a designated Float House, which meant we had a garage bay large enough to house the freshman, sophomore, junior or senior class. Every Sunday they flooded in and out for hours; loosely organized shifts because everyone was expected to work. But of course social groups made it known what times were best for them, so it was interesting to watch the dynamics of the kids change throughout the day.
Work was painfully boring and repetitive, which meant more time for talking, at high decibels to be heard. They were a rowdy crowd as they made thousands of blue and white flowers.
Disney rides – the teacups, cereal boxes -Trix, every year there was a theme. A long-suffering teacher was appointed the advisor of the project. They arrived with the paper to make the flowers, the chicken wire and plans for the body of the float, and enough soda and chips to feed the first shift. We, as the host house, were not expected to contribute anything, but it was fun to watch the progress and the social interactions. I always tried to make sure they at least had water.
The flowers were formed by the famous “Fold and Fluff” method. When she was recounting the process Kathryn ended with, “It was clearly just child labor.” But in truth, it is a memory she and Lex share, and neither one, in all their travels, has ever met anyone else who built floats in high school.
The fold and fluff method consisted of taking seven pieces of tissue paper cut into 4″ x 4″ squares. They were folded, accordion-style and wire was inserted through the middle. The piece then moved to the “fluffing” table where the accordion pleats were fluffed into flowers.
These are the memories they now look back upon fondly. I say, “write it down, you will thank me some day.” Does a Tweet last forever? Or a Facebook status?