November 04, 2003

The (Not So) Good Ol' Days

I am a member of - not a gold or premium or whatever member. Not the one that costs any money. I just wanted to see what the people with whom I grew up were doing these days. Unfortuntely Classmates (and it's rival is a rip-off. You can't actually see anything other than names without forking out about $36.00.

I don't know why this frustrates me. I left my public high school after the 10th grade and finished at a little Christian school. I don't think that anyone was particularly bothered to see me go and in 23 years I've only met up with two of what would have been my graduating class of about 250.

I was educated with some of these people from the ages of 6 to 16 and some of them play shadowy roles in my early memories. Very few of them were ever friends. Even some of the ones I remember most from school and who provided the supporting cast of various birthday parties (and my mother always put together the best themed birthday parties during my elementary school years) were never really friends.

I recently found one of my school acquaintances of 33 years while editing the Open Directory. I even remember going to one of his birthday parties. We perhaps had even more in common now than then, as we are both Republicans (his grandfather, who was a friend of Lyndon Johnson, must be rolling in his grave) and lawyers. I let his website jump the DMOZ queue over about 300 others waiting to be listed and made sure he was double listed. I e-mailed him, but never heard anything back.

A small part of me wishes I could have gone last year to the 20th reunion of what would have been my high school class. The rest of me doubts that I would have had a good time, because I had no fond memories about which to reminisce. I'm sure everyone would have been much more civilized to me than they tended to be for those 10 years together. I doubt anyone would have called me "Professor" or "High Waters" or even hit me with a dodge ball.

I did get an e-mail from one of the organisers of the 20-year reunion. It was personalised in such a way that it fooled me. I got all excited and sent back a friendly reply. On second look, it was just a form e-mail to everyone on the Classmates database for that graduation year. I never heard back.

I've been listed on Classmates for quite some time now. That's where I watch information about the reunion come and go. What brought it to mind was a couple of nights ago when I discovered that in my recent long absence, photos had been posted of the reunion, and amazingly Classmates let me look at them without paying $36.00 for the privilege. I discovered that I didn't recognise most of the people. In fact, I'm only certain of one, and have a good guess about maybe three. I only recognised the one because I Googled him and found a picture of him after I found his website in the DMOZ queue.

So frankly, even if I came across them on the street I wouldn't know them. I may have brushed past several of them in Wal-mart or HEB on my occasional trips to my home town in years past.

Except for a few relationships from church, social life began for me in college. I guess I was actually accepted for the weirdo I was. I suppose it helped that we were all Christians, and of the same theological stripe. I've changed stripes, but I still have some of those friends, more than 20 years later. Some of them receive my Meanderings and occasionally comment on this blog. They still accept me for the weirdo I am.

Posted by david at November 4, 2003 11:15 PM | TrackBack

It does help to be Christians of similiar theological stripes! I made my friends at college too. There were the Anglicans who swooned over Vespers in the Bromptom Oratory and the Catholics who sneaked into the Russian Cathedral and everyone ended up in the only cheap coffee shop in South Kensington one way or another. It's such a nice feeling when you discover there are a fair number of other weirdos in the world as well.

Posted by: Havdala at November 5, 2003 11:44 AM