Six years ago, I finished a two-year program in Writing for Children, with a healthy dose of children's lit classes. Six years ago. That's three Simmonses ago. Exact program lengths and graduation dates vary among my classmates, but basically, we all finished a brief grad program long enough ago to have pretty much forgotten about each other.
I spent last weekend at the wedding of one of those classmates, meeting the real-life versions of people I'd seen referenced in her writing. And this weekend was the beginning of a reunion that's been built around next week's Summer Institute. I brunched and picnicked with Simmons '09s and '10s from a few miles away, and from across the country, and from Across the Pond, who chatted about their writing, their work for publishers, libraries, bookstores, and schools, and which books they'd been sharing with their kids. They've been excitedly planning this visit for months, and more of them are coming in the next week. (And yes, the newly-minted bride and groom made the trek today.)
Children's literature is a field full of people who've held onto literary affections formed in childhood. Is it any surprise that children's lit people hold onto friendships, too?