This week my friend Ginger had a birthday. Four down, four to go.
The Posse is turning the big 4-0.
What is the Posse?
I’m glad you asked.
Like everyone, I had a group of friends in high school.
Unlike everyone, we gave ourselves a name: The Posse.
I don’t remember how or why we came up with this name, but it stuck. There were eight of us and we were a clique, though without the exclusivity and mean girl undertones. There was no Regina George among us.
At the end of the film Stand By Me, in which a writer mourns the loss of a friend he hasn’t seen in a decade, he ends his story by typing, “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?”
We were older than twelve but the sentiment rings true.
I’ve made some great friends since, many of whom I see more often and are more a part of my day-to-day life than some of the Posse. I relate to them adult-to-adult, fully cooked. They see me as I am in the corporate office, or rowing on the river. They see me as I am now.
But with the Posse, well, we have x-ray vision with one another. We see each other as we are now, but more importantly, we see each other as we were then.
The Posse knew me when I was still baking. They were one of the raw ingredients in the cake I would become.
If they were different then, I’d be different now.
They’re not fooled when I use my “professional” voice, or order a fancy drink in a restaurant, or the million other ways we try to impress one another with our adultness. These are the kids that saw me roll up my pants and walk through the slimy moat in a miniature golf course to retrieve my wayward ball.
They are not impressed when I put on airs, as we all do from time to time.
They know that I once used rubber bands to wrap peanut butter and jelly sandwiches around my waist to smuggle them into a concert.
And I know them the same way.
During our senior year of high school, I wrote a 30,000 word memoir of our adventures and called it “Tales of the Posse.” Yesterday I dug it out of the trunk in my basement.
In the epilogue, I wrote:
“I would like to say that we lived happily ever after together and always remained as close as we were the night the preceding stories were told. I would like, more than anything, that our kids played together and started a Posse II generation. However, I can’t see into the future and I haven’t even lived very much of it to get a good idea of how it turned out.”
Are we as close as we were at seventeen?
Of course not. That would be a case of arrested development. We have our own lives—careers, a few husbands, and the Posse II generation currently stands at 8 members.
And now, we’re turning forty. Since September, half of us have had the big birthday. The rest are coming, mine in June. Thus far, we haven’t been able to celebrate together because of covid, but when it’s safe we’ll celebrate the beginning of this next decade together.
Getting eight women with busy lives together is nearly impossible, especially when we don’t all live in the same town anymore.
But we manage it about once a year around Christmas, and if we get six of eight, we call it a win.
We’ve had our scuffles over the years, but I’m in touch and on good terms with all of them.
My seventeen-year-old self would be appalled at this level of contact.
My thirty-nine-about-to-be-forty-year-old self recognizes it for the rare gift that it is.
Happy Birthday, Posse.