STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS SATURDAY: Friends and Acquaintances

This is another in a series of “stream of consciousness” posts hosted by Linda Hill. This blog hop is a year old today! Be sure and stop by Linda’s blog to wish her a happy anniversary and to see the rules and the posts of others doing the challenge…

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Happy birthday!

This week, in honor of the occasion, Linda’s doing this in conjunction with Bee Halton, whose last name is very similar to mine (and so is the look of her blog). She’s running a blog hop this month called “Love Is In Da Blog,” or “LoIsInDaBl.” So we’ll tag her here, too..

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So, without further ado…

This Week’s Prompt: Friend and Acquaint(ance)

I joined a group on Facebook recently that is a memorial page for the people who went to my high school that have passed on. When I did, naturally, I looked immediately for people who graduated in 1974, the year I graduated.

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New Trier Township High School, West Campus, Northfield, Illinois. If you’ve seen the movie Uncle Buck, you might remember it. (source: Google)

I was lucky; a guy who graduated with me, who I remembered from gym classes, had posted a list of the now-deceased members of the Class of 1974. And other people commented with other names. In all, 40 people from my class. Not a lot when you consider that there were 685 people in my class (that’s what, 6%?), but still, I knew most of them, and was friends with a few. I keep thinking, no, they can’t be gone, they’re too young, then I realize all of us are pushing 60.

But, I don’t feel like a 59-year-old man. At least my mind doesn’t. In my mind, we just walked out of the gym, holding our diplomas, not that long ago. We’re too young to have so many deceased classmates! My mind says that, then I stand up and feel the pain in my legs and hear the bones rubbing around in my knees, and I limp to the stairs and up them, and I realize that it’s been eight years since my stroke, and I was also too young for that…

I realize that I had sat in class with these kids, passed them in the halls, probably stood next to a couple of the guys in the restroom, saw them at lunch, and never got to know them. Now it’s too late. We could have been friends. I have one friend from high school that I stay in touch with. I run into people I went to grammar school with on Facebook, and we follow each other, and I see what they’re up to, and I comment, a voice from the past. And they comment, voices from my past. We spent nine years together, kindergarten through 8th grade (up north, we called that grammar school). Now we’re just a stream of bits to each other. If that… too many of my friends from those days aren’t on Facebook. Makes me wonder why I am.

I mean, people I used to talk to face-to-face, and sit in class with, and see around the neighborhood. They’re all over the country. I’m miles away from where I grew up, 800 long miles from Rogers Park.

I have one good friend in the world. My best friend. Mary. We’ve been married 37 years, and she’s always there, and when she’s not, I miss her. I’m lost without her.

No, I have a few more: Jim, Kip, and Pat, my brothers. We got close when our mother died. All of a sudden, she wasn’t there to keep us in touch. We’ve done all right without her, though we really suck at talking on the phone. Thank God for the Internet.

Stay in touch with your loved ones, and even a few you might have just known in passing. Life is too short.

9 thoughts on “STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS SATURDAY: Friends and Acquaintances

  1. I met my best friend as a freshman in high school. We continued to hang out through community college until she went away to a university. When she came back, we still hung out. Years later, she and her husband moved 500 miles away, but due to the internet, we talked every day, and we saw each other a few times a year. Almost four years ago, she passed away. We were supposed to grow old together. But the 38 years we were best friends were rich. I recently joined a FB group for those I graduated with. Many of them didn’t know she’d died, even one whom she was good friends with. I was glad to touch base with those old friends again, and they post lots of pictures in that group. It’s fun reliving the old days, but I’m loving the “new” days, too. 🙂

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  2. I appreciated your thoughts on passing time and on friends who had passed on. I’m thankful for Facebook, which has allowed me to maintain contact a bit better with old friends; like you, I live many miles from the place where I grew up. Maybe those Facebook friendships are superficial, but they are a tie to the past, and I have discovered hidden depths in old acquaintances via social media.

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    1. When I was going through grade school and high school, there was this consciousness of “that kid’s in a higher grade” or “that kid’s in a lower grade.” Now, we’re at the stage where that doesn’t matter anymore. I enjoy talking with (via Facebook comments) those who were older and younger than I and hearing their perspective on what going to school was like for them. I also enjoy catching up with friends of my brothers, who I knew because they were at the house all the time. Talking with them now is easier than it was when we were that age, and it’s great seeing what they’re doing now as opposed to what they were interested in doing then.

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      1. I agree absolutely about how the system pigeon-holed people by grade level and, in the public school I attended, by perceived academic ability. It’s so much easier to find common ground with all kinds of people, now that we’ve all aged a bit.

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        1. That was one thing that always bothered me… separating the “smart” kids from the “dumb” ones. Everyone knew which class was which. In 8th grade, six of us took Algebra, and as a result had to take reading with the other class. There really wasn’t that much of a difference, besides the fact that most of the black and Latino students were in the not-quite-elite group. And that was really unfair to all of us… we should have had the opportunity to interact with those kids more regularly. Granted, some of the kids couldn’t speak English that well (some had come from the Dominican Republic and Central America), but we learned the same stuff in both classes and they kept up with the rest of us, so there was no reason to separate us. I think they should have taken a list of the 70 of us and assigned us randomly, but that’s just me…

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  3. Oh dear, in 1974 I haven’t even been to Kindergarten 🙂 but you gave very good advice. I often think about that especially now that I am nearly 10 years older than my mother ever had the chance to become. That is a very odd feeling. Thanks so much for taking part.

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  4. My graduating class of ’69 has a page also and a while back they did a similar tribute. I was surprised at how many had passed. A good many of the former classmates with whom I graduated still live back in Tennessee. I don’t really keep up with many other than through Facebook. Funny, but a lot of those I never really knew very well or spoke to in high school, and now it’s kind of like we’re all old friends. Well, we are getting old, but I don’t that many of them I can actually think of as friends.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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