Graduation, Friends, Titanic & Change

It’s graduation season, a time I remember very well. Boring speeches, fun parties, talk of the past, hopes for the future, and friends. I still get choked up thinking about my high school graduation. I grew up in a teeny, tiny town where the people I graduated with were also in my nursery school class. I truly knew nothing but those people and that world.

So that final summer was interesting. On the one hand, you’re so excited to leave. Off to college, life is going to begin, it’s exciting. But there’s that part of you that isn’t quite one hundred percent positive that this is going to turn out okay. I’d go to a party and have fun thinking about how it was going to be one of our last night’s together but I’d also get sad thinking how it might be one of our last night’s together.

You can’t really describe it but you feel the change happening. 

My two besties, Danielle and Amber, spent that summer doing what we did all through high school – going to the movies. We came of age in the Era of DiCaprio so he was a particular favorite. I don’t remember what that last movie we saw together was, but I do remember the preview. There, right in front of us, was Leonardo DiCaprio, the love of all of our lives, on some big boat called Titanic. He stood on the edge of the ship with that actress who was in Sense & Sensibility (this little movie I forced Amber and D to watch one million times once I discovered Jane Austen). Leo, S&S actress, disaster movie, love movie. Coming soon.

December 19th.

We sat, mesmerized, staring at the big screen. December 19th.

The three of us went to three different colleges in three different places. We had three different majors and interestingly enough, we all changed our majors by the end of that first year. But we kept in touch. No, it was not the same as it had been in high school. But every letter (yes, we still wrote them), email and phone message ended with DECEMBER 19TH. We had decided that we would meet on December 19th and see Titanic together. During a very tumultuous and tough first semester away from everything we had grown up around, December 19th got us through like a beacon of light in the distance.

Sadly, we didn’t get to see Titanic on December 19th.

When making future plans, one should remember that college freshmen have these pesky little scheduling issues called finals. But don’t worry. We did see Titanic that Christmas.

And it was amazing! By the end of that three-hour long epic, and like every loyal girlfriend of Leo, we knew our lives had been changed. All three of us turned to each other, realizing the bigger picture. And we hugged and cried and cried – right there in the movie theatre. Sure, we cried for Leo and all those who perished. But more, we cried for change.

Eventually, the lights came on and the janitors made “annoyed” sounds as we continued to hug each other, knowing that we had reached that faraway beacon of light and it would never be the same again.

Or will it?

We graduated high school fifteen (ugh!) years ago and I still consider D and Amber to be my two closest friends. They are still the two people who care about me the most. And guess what? Titanic was re-released this year!

So I have to laugh as I watch people at graduation ceremonies. I smile when I hear someone complain about the movie Titanic. I look at both of those things as a hugely important part of my life. And I wouldn’t change a thing about it….

33 thoughts on “Graduation, Friends, Titanic & Change

  1. Love this story! It’s what good friends, life and change is all about. I moved around so much (13 different schools in 12 years) that even my senior year was a new school.

    I didn’t grow up with anyone I graduated with and not having the communication forms we have now made it difficult to stay in touch.

    I valued finding the one place and settling for my girls to be able to go to school with the same friends and graduate together. My youngest is going to be a HS senior next year so from there she two will join the masses ( as my oldest did a few years back) and go forth into the world, hopefully maintaining the friends they have and yet, searching outside of their comfort zone to new beginnings.

    Hugs to you, Kerri and all your friends!

    1. Thanks Loni! I do have to say though that growing up in such a small place wasn’t always my ideal situation. But as an adult I can really look back with gratitude and respect. 😉

  2. Good Morning Kerri Mermaid 🙂
    Thank you for sharing this with us. I can just see you and your besties crying in the theater, awwww.
    Like Loni Mermaid, I moved around a lot as a kid. I always thought school and friends would be just like my favorite movie, “Grease”. It wasn’t but I kept that version of school in my head for the days when things weren’t so peachy! So I definitely understand the importance a movie can play, the way it can sum up your hopes, fears and dreams.
    It’s kind of cool to be old enough to have a perspective on things you did as a kid and now see others doing.

    1. Thanks Carlene-Mermaid! You know, I wouldn’t guess that you liked the movie Grease. But you constantly surprise me. That’s why you’re MY hero! 😉 Got ya again!

  3. Your two “besties” have done a great job of helping shape who you are today.

  4. I love this. Makes me think of the line from Stand By Me: “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone? “

    1. Ahhh – thanks Avery-Mermaid! You know, I’ve never seen Stand By Me. Isn’t that weird. 😉

  5. What a sweet story. I hope the three of you got to see Titanic in the theaters again this year?!

    1. We did not get to see Titanic this year. But do not despair, Pintip-Mermaid! Leo is going to be in The Great Gatsby this Xmas. We read that together in 11th grade. We are definitely seeing that together! 😉

  6. How fortunate you are to have remained friends all these years. I think that when you have gone through all the tragedies that happened in our family in such a short time, it is comforting to know that your friends care and continue to support you long after the fact. You are truly blessed and rich in friends which helps with all the changes, but you’ve realized it’s not the location but the spirit that keeps the friendship alive.
    It has been amazing and my privilege to watch the three of you grow up (most of the time) in to such fine young woman. Best of all, I don’t think any of you look a day older than you did in high school!!!!

    1. Thanks Ma! I agree. I think we look exactly the same!!! I don’t know what I would do without the two of them! Remember how we used to go places and not leave you a note and you hated that! So fun! 😉

    1. That was funny too! D’s mom still has that cat. It’s like 110 years old!

      1. Bea loves you both!!! And Tat/Ma, we will always call you from Breezewood 🙂

  7. Love this. I have recently received emails from a high-school bestie. Just little notes back and forth, nothing earth-shattering. But she remembers my nickname from those years and I treasure her remembering, since nobody else does. And, on the super-quickly-organized 35-year reunion last October, a man brought his yearbook and asked what he’d done to earn such a scathing note in it. Yup, it was very teen-drama-queen material. I asked for a pen and amended it: “I don’t remember, so you must have been forgiven long ago. Let’s meet again in five years and see how we’re doing.” He actually seemed happy, and I was glad for the chance.

    How often do we wound and not remember? Isn’t it great to make/keep a friend, even when you’ve been such a ninny at the tender age of 18?

    1. Would you ever want to go back to high school??? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t. I mean, I’m so much cooler now but even still…

      I love that your friend brought his year book to your reunion! Now I’m going to go back and read mine!

  8. What an awesome blog, Ker-Bear (or Red, as Jordan Catalono would say)! I am so lucky to have such amazing friends in my life! I don’t know what I would do without you! Going to see the Titanic with you girls was one of the best days of my life (seriously!) and I’m looking forward to many more good times to come (i.e. you better make plans to see The Great Gatsby with me)! Thanks again for the great story! I heart you! Love, Amber (Chase Face)

    1. Duh – of course I’m seeing Great Gatsby with you! I plan on seeing it, getting drinks, then seeing it again. Thoughts?

      Thanks for letting me write about you, Chase Face! Remember when I used to write lame poetry in English class?

  9. Kerri,
    I loved this post so much. Do you know even in my advanced years and with my cynical, sarcastic nature, I still choke up every single time I hear Pomp and Circumstance–the graduation march? I think because I realize that every time it’s played during this time of the year, there are lives changing. People will drift apart that never thought they would. High school romances will probably fizzle during college. Hopes seem so high, yet it’s such an emotional time. Especially when you look back at the years spent with the same friends, and you’re all going in different directions…
    I remember it so vividly. I couldn’t keep from crying even during my graduation rehearsal. My eyes are a wee bit teary right now.
    Although I’m not in contact with my friends from high school–like you, Kerri–I remember those times as some of the best of my life. And I remember those friends with a bittersweet smile. 🙂
    Count yourself so very lucky to have held onto two such wonderful friends. You are blessed! And how about those mermaids?! They kinda rock, too. I’m just sayin’.
    Wonderful post. Thanks for getting me all choked up! 🙂

    1. That’s exactly what it is! Many years ago, Danielle and I were watching Laguna Beach, of all reality shows. When they got to the graduation episode, D and I were just bawling our eyes out. As spoiled as those OC kids were, we realized that we were watching their lives changing. They were all going to change. Of course, they hadn’t realized it yet and that’s how it should be.

      Now the Pomp & Circumstance song is playing on repeat in my head! Thanks!

  10. Ah, Kerri Mermaid, I feel your change pain! Why is change so dang hard? How cool, though, your best friends stayed with you to this day. That’s the scariest thing of all about change, I think. We all go through it…but even when we go through it with others, their change is different than ours so we really go through it alone. How awesome you and your besties were alone together!

    1. Ha-ha-ha! “How awesome you and your besties were alone together!” -So funny! I love it!

      I am very lucky to have such wonderful besties in my life! 😉

  11. Ok, so here it goes from Mrs. G! Kerri, you continue to enlighten me with you stories. Yes, I still have the cat- Beatrice. She has been my strength during the most difficult times of my life! Danielle has been blessed to have you for a friend and as Mom, I count myself lucky too! Keep writing!!!! Love you, Mrs. G

  12. Very cute story loved it. Oh you the other Seaweed girls have great story , i mean Mermaids.
    lots of love CUZ.

    1. Thanks Cuz! Even if you are wrong and I’m Nunnie’s favorite!!! 😉

  13. Sorry for the delay, damn work conferences. Thanks K for the peak into the past. Wow, those pics are awesome. I loved that peach dress, although I am sure it now barely covers my bum. Things to change but great friends last forever! Now the count down begins for Gatsby!!!

  14. Kerri, so nice to see more of your writing. I always enjoy it. Hold those besties close. I just went to a funeral of one my dear college buddies the other day. I had lost touch with her and she sank into drugs and alcohol. When her son o.d.ed she just lost sight of her life. I don’t know all the facts, but she died two days before her birthday, driven into mental illness from the loss of her son. Treasure those wonderful friendships and keep them dear. Advice from someone who wished she had. Oh, and by the way, for our age group, it was Tom Cruise. Hubba hubba.

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