At the age of 13, I got what many 13-year-old girls only dream about: A do-over. On my whole life.
We moved the summer between eighth grade and ninth grade, from rural New Hampshire to suburban Massachusetts. I was sure that the dorky, isolated kid I'd felt like would vanish, leaving a totally cool new me — the real me — with tons of friends who really understood. My new school would be filled with people who could appreciate me. Teachers would cease to care that I didn't do any homework because I was brilliant. Students would not be able to believe what a hole had been in their lives before I moved to town. Fashion would suddenly dictate that being a little heavy with giant glasses was the new black.
Yeah, OK. That didn't so much happen. Some things were better in the new school, many things were worse. I survived it and am now the very very well-adjusted blogger you all know and love. You will note my "About me" covers the suburbs differently than the country.
But the point is, when I left the old town, I left it completely, severing virtually all ties. Did not one bit cling to my old friendships. Hell, no.
And then came Facebook. Last night, my childhood best friend found me, filled with nostalgia from thinking about her upcoming high school class reunion. Excellent. I can't wait to hear more about her life. My Facebook stalking suggests she's happy, is married with kids, lives in the town we all used to live in, and is still in contact with many of our old classmates.
This morning, another elementary-school and middle-school friend found me. We were not best friends. He might be surprised to hear that I think of our childhood friendship as sort of love-hate, because I thought we were similar, and I did not want him or anyone else noticing that, even as I thought he was hilarious and neat. He was a little weird, in a way my adult self would love. We were both smart, and not tough, in a place where tough equaled cool. He embraced his weirdness and smartness. I just frantically wanted to be very, very normal.
So, this is getting very long. But let's face it, if you're still reading now, you're going to keep reading. And we both know it. You're all but a hostage here.
So this guy found me this morning. And we traded details of our lives, in a sort of twenty-years-in-twenty-lines format.
I think he might be setting his high school classmates up for a reality-show version of Grosse Point Blank. I am not going to share all of his twenty years with you because:
- I at least sort of respect for his privacy, and
- If we maintain this friendship, I might let him see this blog, and
- You would think it was a work of fiction, and I am mostly sure that it is not.
Suffice it to say that every single year has something as astounding as these highlights:
1988 first daughter born; join ArmyWhich, are you kidding?
1989 graduated [high school] and left New Hampshire for the Army
1994 Chop off fingertip after 100' vertical ice axe ascent of Portage Glacier-
1997 Traveling announcer for Sport Parachute demonstration team- shatter leg after freefall mishap
2001 Third marriage- Decide flying for a living isn't what I want to do after life-changing experience- change jobs (and design a simulator for RPGs now used worldwide in war games)
2009 Start two graduate programs (making up for lost time)- first grandchild born in Maine- Moving back to Germany (August)
- What have I been doing for the last 25 years? My list reads like, "moved a bunch of times, got a job as a teacher, got a job as a waitress, got a job as a writer, moved."
- This is the kid I was worried about being like? Because we have not done one thing that was similar since 1985.