I love the phrase, “I wear the ring” from Pat Conroy’s novel, The Lords of Discipline. Of course, he was referring to his experience at the Citadel, but many of us can relate to his sentiment and the wearing of a class ring. We refer to each other by the year we graduated from high school, which I later learned in life was a very strange thing to do. Outsiders can't comprehend the sisterhood and brotherhood that our high school experiences in Savannah instilled in us. They also don't understand how many of us move back home after graduating from college...not because we have to, but because there is no place in the world we would rather live. We are a quirky bunch, but value our family, our friends and our many traditions.
The rings are an outward sign of belonging to something bigger than ourselves. Even if we don’t wear them quite as often as we once did, they get pulled out the drawer a couple of times a year for functions. Some of those rings have been resized (always resized larger...why is that?) or replaced, but most of us know where they are kept. My college ring sits in a box under my sink, but my high school ring is worn quite often. It is not worn to exclude others, each one of us has our own special high school experience, but it is worn because it stamps a special time on our hearts.
Sometimes, “I wear the ring” reminds me of the “Don” of the Mafia, and at times I’ve seen a protectiveness of each other that rivals just that. Let someone try and mess with our community, our schools, our classmates or our children and they have a fight on their hands...and we know how to fight. Not on Facebook, but communicating face to face like real adults still need to do...but more on that later.
This past year has changed everyone, but as I see a new class of Seniors are graduating from Saint Vincent’s and Benedictine, I challenge all of you to dig out your class rings. Buy some Vaseline to get it onto your finger if needed, and wear it to the graduation parties and the many events following. Let these young men and women know that just like them, You Wear the Ring!
*To my classmates that went to dinner with me last night (you know who you are) and reignited my brain, over Margaritas, to remember the Class of 85, I thank you!
**To my classmates that weren’t there, we decided to make this a monthly event, let me know if you would like to come.
***To my husband, who always encourages me to see my friends, I pre-ordered you pizza...AGAIN