Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Reelin' in the Years

Did you love middle school? Wouldn't you love to go back and relive those years? Yeah, me too. I'd sooner slide buckass nekkid down a splintered board into a pit of pythons....OK, too graphic but you get my point. Middle school sucked for me. If it didn't for you, you were likely slim and or pretty. I was neither. In sixth grade, I was not the looker I am today. Several of the girls I thought were friends, turned out to be not. By eighth grade, though, I was growing into my weight. I tossed away the spectacles and started getting some notice from the boys. Often not the boys I wanted to notice me but boys nonetheless. I did have (not in the Biblical sense) a rather famous surfer that had several girls in the know very frustrated. I had mad crushes on several boys that most of the girls hadn't even noticed. Maybe I had a thing for freckles. Or maybe it was the quiet silliness that the pubescent boys have at that age. Not the jocks (their girlfriends were bullies) or the screw-ups (although I'd love to know where John Prieto is....he was smart but spent a lot of time sitting outside the classroom) but Mike Watson had my attention. As I recall, Walter Wilson had my friend, Jeri's eye. There was no dating. No "hookin' up". Not even any makin out. I recall sitting on the sidewalk in front of someone's house, the four of us just talking. Good times.
Reunions of any sort are exciting but, for most of us, also very scary. Probably those of you that hung with a big group in school look forward to them. Out of a large social pool, odds are you have retained something in common with at least a few. When you hang with just one or two people, however, moving apart leaves you without those links to the past. A few of my friends really weren't. The lives of the others moved in totally different directions. from mine. In my case, I got married right out of high school and Mark has been my "friend" for 35 years and I haven't been more than "Christmas Card" friends with much of anyone.
The one advantage to the oft disparaged social networks is finding some of those people. But once you find them, what do you do with them? Through the miracle that is facebook (FB to the cool kids), I "ran into" Jeri, a friend from middle school. Through the comments and "likes" on our FB walls, we realized we had much in common and began asking why we had lost touch. Since she now lives in Seattle and was planning a trip to Brookings, we made plans to meet.We would meet over coffee. Would we have fun? Would we have philosophical differences that we can't get past? I couldn't wait to find out. We spent a few hours over a sandwich and beer then headed to the beach - a place she doesn't see enough and I can't get enough. For another hour or more, we walked along Harris Beach talking our way through the years, about family and how we've spent the past 35 .... wait, it's close to 40....years. as well as the verboten subjects - religion, politics, gay marriage - amazed how similar we really are. No deal-breakers.
Eventually, I had to head south, to avoid driving in the dark. She headed back to the B & B weekend she was spending with her man. We still have so much to talk about. We never had a chance to talk about Mr. Shagren's class. The boys. The girls. The drawing she did for our Donner Party report....quite gruesome and cool. We didn't talk about music....but there's time. We're making plans to visit again so we can talk about the past. In the meantime will stay FB "friends" in the present.


Melanie said...

That's a great story. One of the things I hate about the social network scene is that, so often, I feel like the people who chose to stay in touch with each other over the passing years are still friends, whilst the ones who can contact you via the social networks...well, what do you have to say to most of them once you get past the catch-up talks? I've had that happen way too many time, so I feel a bit jaded on the whole thing. It's good to be reminded about some of the good things that can come from re-connecting to past friends.

25YearsOn said...

Hi Deb ... I really enjoy reading your postings even though I don't comment often. I agree that FB has put me back in touch with so many old friends, it's amazing. I was happy to think that I was on your "Christmas card list" (I used to get stuff from you at Christmas, didn't I?) I finally had to even suck it up and tell Jeri that I had a MAD crush on her in school. She probably didn't even know who I was ... isn't that the way so many of those things go? I place a lot of value on old friendships (like ours) and this has been a great way to stay in touch with what's going on in your life, esp when one is busy.
By the way, wasn't it nice of Jeri to volunteer you to keep my "west coast bike" in your garage/shop?


Indie said...

So very, very well articulated. I am glad it went well for your reunion with Jeri.

That's how it was when I found Kelly, from 9th grade, Redlands California, on FB. I stayed at her house before leaving for Sweden and when I came back, and it was wonderful!!! Like no time at all had passed. Now she is on her way here tonight, the friend who was not only willing to help me move, but is driving all the way from SF to do it. Yay for reunions!

Rach said...

Hi, I love those pictures, where is the beaches, is this washington state/seattle area, just curious.

What other beaches you recommend, great to have coffee over the beach, although is it hot or cold, must be packing, I stumbled across this blog.

beachcomber said...

Melanie, I know what you mean. I still don't have much in common with the groups I wasn't included in all those years ago.

Matt, I am glad we've kept in touch. It's not surprising we never dated...that would NEVER have worked. I still get warm and fuzzy over your dad's Superhawk, though.

Indie, I hope you have a great weekend. Having your friend there to help you move will be like old times, I bet.

Rach, this beach is in Brookings which is way southern Oregon, almost to California. We have lots of beautiful coastline on the north coast if you're coming this way.