This week…we hung out with old friends we just met.

by Janelle Hanchett

This week, I’m going to tell you a little story. It’s a story about friends, and it’s a good one.

A few years ago, through the generally insipid Facebook, I became “friends” with a few women I went to high school with. As I read their posts, comments, and/or blogs, it became pretty clear to me that these were women I wanted to know again, in real life, even though I hadn’t seen them since we graduated in 1997, and I promptly fell off the planet.

You see, the truth is, I really didn’t want any high school to remain in my adult life. I was a douchebag in high school. I hated it. I was insecure, angry, fake, terrified and full of the bluster of the wholly petrified. The few “best” friends I had either decided they hated me or married my ex-boyfriend, so they were out, and truthfully, it was okay with me that I had no relics of that period of my life. To put it mildly, high school was not the pinnacle of my existence.


But our 15-year reunion was coming up and I really wanted to meet the aforementioned women again, so I asked one of them if she was going to the shindig. She said “no, I’m getting married. Wanna come?” And I said “yes” and we went and it was, in her words, “Amazeballs.”

The girls I knew in high school had grown into some seriously badass women. Wicked smart, totally independent, fucking hilarious. One of them looked at her husband after he said something ridiculous and, with a completely straight face, told him “you’re ruining my life.” The bride did insane booty-shaking dances in her gown, had her dog function as the ring-bearer, and at the after-party, donned a unitard. Are you getting this? I thought so.

Here’s a picture of Mac and me at the wedding. Are you enjoying his face? I KNOW I AM.

Not only did I experience the most authentic, fun wedding I’ve ever attended, and reconnect with incredible people, we also (through the bride) met another couple with whom we hit it off (you see, sometimes it’s just RIDICULOUS to avoid ending a sentence in a preposition, Cara Lyn (that’s the bride. She’s a bit of a grammarian)).  And that couple invited us to go camping with them this weekend (over Labor Day). We exchanged numbers but of course I assumed they’d never actually call. I wanted them to, but you know how those things go. Nobody ever actually calls.

But she did call, and we actually went. And my soul was restored on the South Yuba River. Partly because we were in hanging out in places so beautiful and fresh and dramatic it makes your heart skip, partly because I could not quite believe how much I loved these people – the women but ALSO their husbands (how weird is that?). Our three families got along like we’d known each other forever. It was remarkable.

At one point yesterday, the men had journeyed up the river with Ava to jump off rocks and we stayed behind. It was the three of us women and two toddler girls (one of them also has a baby girl). We sat in the river on big granite boulders, partially submerged, warmed by the late afternoon sun, cooled from the waters of the mountains, cradling our deliriously happy, naked toddlers, and we talked. About nothing. About it all. We watched the babies splash, the dog try to swim. We may or may not have been fully clothed. And as I sat there with these women, in perfect comfort, I thought to myself “I want to be here, with these people, every year for pretty much the rest of my life.”

There was just something there. Something that doesn’t happen every day.

Friendship, I guess.

That came out of the blue.

And knocked my fucking socks off.

Here are a few photos from the trip. I hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekend, too.

So thank you, Facebook, for not sucking completely. And thank you, new old friends, for the same.



this picture makes her look like she’s about to fall into an abyss of water…it was actually about 3 inches deep…

he’s in love too

Ava climbed a very, very big rock. And was proud.

naked happy river baby!

9 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized, weeks of mayhem | September 3, 2012
  • Shan

    I think you’ve found nirvana. Dude.

  • Shelley

    This is awesome! And you look amazing, by the way…

  • Claire


  • Renee'

    Isn’t it great when you find friends that you don’t suck with? Good for you!

  • Sarah O'Malley

    The same thing happened for me at my 10 year reunion. Girls that I never spoke to (because I was a mean girl!) turned out to be the most interesting people there. I found myself wanting to be their “real” friend, not just Facebook friend. And the best part was that they gave me that chance. Now I have this new beautiful season of friendships. Cheers to you for reaching out to them, and cheers to them for reaching back!

  • Hels

    Sounds like a really wonderful weekend, and what a great thing to happen after all those years. I am no longer in touch with most of my high school friends which I feel is s shame and I feel sad that I don’t have that connection to my youth. Having said that I do folow them on facebook and feel like I probably don’t have a lot in common with them anyway, so probably not a great loss. But I am so happy for you that this happened to you (and secretly wish it would happen to me to)

  • Lisa

    Is this the Hampshire Rocks Campground?

  • Jessamyn

    I’m totally jealous-of awesome new friendships and scenic campgrounds.
    (saw the wedding pics on FB and got homesick for California and high school friends-haven’t been able to make back for reunions but wish I could have) And I love your writing Janelle-I can so relate to so much you have written.

  • Alana

    i think we should be real life friends and will find some not too stalker way to manifest that for myself, not only did i just become a mama and move near that same river jump you mentioned above but i think our smart ass shit talking could go on quiet well. actually i just want to say thank you for this last one as it gives me hope that i may find friends again since this new transition not only into motherhood but mountain living has rendered me pretty friendless and lonely. all my old friends are either childless and act as if i have become a conservative christian via pushing a child out of my vagina or are way too cool to ever leave the bay area for the weekend to hang with me and said child, either way i have realized they kinda let me down and blow a bit. ah crossroads. alas like i said, this one gives me hope. thanks again janell