When I was in high school, I hung out with a posse of girls. We called ourselves the Pink Ladies. I'm not sure why we called ourselves that. It was an obvious shout out to the bad asses from Grease, but we weren't bad ass like that. I'm pretty sure our Pink Ladies title came from a service project that we did with our Geometry teacher Mrs. Putnam.
The Pink Ladies are all turning 50 this year. It's special, to be fifty. It's a milestone and an accomplishment. Most people in my life in Seattle have only known me as an adult. Sure I've changed over the thirty years I've lived here, but the Pink Ladies knew me when... When I was shy, awkward, scrawny and scared. And I knew them in their myriad adolescent versions. Now we're turning fifty and we're grown up. We're worldly and wise. The first one to cross the half-century line was Judy. Judy and I both live in Seattle. To surprise Judy for her fiftieth, I invited the Pink Ladies out to Seattle to celebrate with her. Of the five I invited, three were able to come--- two from Wisconsin and one (my twin sister) from California.
The surprise for Judy involved an elaborate production involving my daughter's emoji masks, flashing bike lights, and my back patio. Once the Pink Ladies were revealed to Judy, we proceeded to spend a high school inspired weekend together. We all slept at my house like a big slumber party. We went out to dinner and shared one pair of readers to order our meals. We stayed up late talking and snapping photos of each other doing ridiculous things. Each of our odd little habits dating back thirty-five years showed up at different times only now instead of getting irritated, we'd chuckle with each other about how some things never change.
They all (except Judy) left yesterday morning. I left for work before they headed to the airport and when I got home I found little remnants of their morning--- coffee and tea cups, dirty bedding and borrowed pajamas piled in a heap in the basement, a left toothbrush, a half-eaten banana, thank you gifts. As I straightened up and did load after load of laundry, I was filled with gratitude for having this time with the Pink Ladies. We've known each other for practically our whole lives. We got our periods in each other's bathrooms. We lost our virginity in each other's basements. We went on vacation with each other's families. We stole our first beers from our parents' kitchens. We survived adolescence together. And since that era, each of us has lived many little lifetimes. We've married, divorced, had kids, had breakdowns, breakthroughs, gained weight, lost weight, gone gray, covered it up. We've had multiple careers and achieved countless degrees. We've lived in cities all over the world.
I didn't know what to expect, bringing us all together like this. I hoped. I planned. I anticipated. But I didn't know, couldn't have possibly imagined the power of history showing up like it did. I had no idea that the legacy of the Pink Ladies could live in each of us all these years and reawaken with such ease, as if no time at all had passed.