Fifty years ago, I was the only kid in my neighborhood with a snowsuit (perhaps the only kid in town who owned one) when a freak snowfall arrived in El Paso, Texas.
Our military family spent a year there while my father was stationed at Fort Bliss before we moved to a place where snow’s more familiar – all the way to Germany. Each school day in the village where we lived, my older sister got up before dawn to make the hour’s journey to the American high school in Würzburg. Like many military kids, she made sacrifices — but she also got to have her senior prom in a castle. How cool was that?
Somewhere in the vicinity of that high school lived a boy named Jonnie Ring, who would grow up to be the man I married. He had his own military-kid stint in El Paso, too, though his came after his family returned to the U.S. from Germany.
Almost from the beginning, our lives seem to have entwined, on two continents. We both love Germany and return every chance we get, but this week has brought an interesting confluence that finally merges Germany and Texas for us once again: my sister’s Würzburg American High School reunion in San Antonio. Somehow, the Alamo, an abundance of schnitzel, and a lot of happy memories – and awfully nice folks — have all come together in one place.
Reunion with “Brats”, whose lives took shape all over the world, is a grace, because at last, after decades of wondering, “Do I fit anywhere?” I remember: the ‘tribe’ I’m from is at home in the whole world. The echoes of that world, the resonance of what you experience in places all throughout this planet, is with you always. Like the eternal gifts that travel with you in your heart, they are never lost.
And every once in a while, life surprises you by bringing a whole bunch of them together again.