High school. For some it was a four-year-drag through the deepest pits of hell with perhaps life’s most daunting challenges. For others, a John Hughes teen-dream extravaganza (complete with unprompted musical numbers, because that says “high school” like nothing else). Either way, most of us have a high school past that’s long out of sight. And yet, maybe you’re at Kenyon with a familiar face: a former classmate who you’d bitch to as you both panted around the track during gym class, or whose homework you would copy during free period (wow, I miss high school just thinking about that). I sat down with Izzie Davies ’17 and Tess Matthews ’15 who have been in school together since baby-teeth days to rehash some fond memories.
How long have you guys gone to school together?
Tess: We started going to school together when I think I was in 5th grade and Izzie was in 4th grade and it was a really weird Montessori charter school … It was mixed grade classrooms so we were in the same class for a couple years.
Izzie: We also lived, like, four blocks away from each other … I was going through all these old notebooks and things I had back from when I was in elementary school and I found this map that I’d drawn after Tess and I had gotten to know each other that went from my house to her house so I could walk to her house.
What is the earliest memory that you have of each other?
Izzie: I really don’t know. We used to all hang out on the playground together and like sit on top of the monkey bars and act very haughty and like look down on everyone else. But I don’t really know how we became friends.
Tess: Me neither. We were both really into art and I remember we would have silent reading time in our classroom … and Izzie and I would just draw little bunnies … and we would make stories about them.
How have your impressions of each other changed from 4th grade to this second?
Izzie: That’s really tough. I always really looked up to you. I thought you were an amazing artist.
Tess: Aw! I didn’t know that!
Izzie: Well, I always really admired your love of birds. I wished that I could love something as much as you loved birds.
Tess: Well, I always looked up to Izzie too, even though she was younger than me. I also remember when we were younger she wrote a lot of poetry—she still does—but even then I would read her poetry and I would just be amazed by it, and so I remember thinking, at least when we were really little, Izzie … had a lot of confidence and a lot of talent, and I was impressed by that … I thought she was really smart, and today I still think the same things about that but I think of Izzie as someone I can reach out to when I’m feeling nostalgic. We might not be in the same friend group at Kenyon … but it’s really great to see her around and just reminisce about childhood memories … I feel like we understand each other in a way that not a lot of people do because we’ve been through so much school together and so much of our lives together.
Izzie: We used to take the train to our high school because it was kind of far away and we used to always sit on the little bus together … and complain about our French teachers or just talk about life … it’s nice to know even if I don’t see you that often that you’re always around I can always talk to you.
Are there any things that have either stayed the same or completely changed about the other person?
Izzie: I’m not sure. I mean you’ve always been really really artistic … and you just blossomed even more so coming here. But I don’t know, I think that you’ve definitely changed but in a lot of ways you have stayed similar to the Tess I used to know when we were little.
Tess: I feel the same way about you … I don’t think anything drastic. … A lot of ways you’re the same as you used to be but I think Kenyon’s made you … more comfortable with yourself, and relaxed about life in general. Easygoing about things.