I ran into a couple of friends from high school today at lunch. It was great to see them. At first, I was just completely flummoxed. Having been summoned from my normal fog of oblivion by someone calling my name, I think I sputtered a bit. They’re married (to each other, even!), and living near Huntsville (where my office is). I hadn’t seen either of them in at least 10 years – maybe 20 (they looked younger than me, I fear).
The thing is – it just hit me how many people have passed out of my life that I’d really rather hadn’t. Good friends, casual friends, close friends, sports buddies, bosom buddies – all have come and gone. And while it seems like there should be some cataclysmic event that separates friends more or less permanently, it doesn’t seem to take much. Just lose contact, slip away, and they’re gone.
Unlike a lot of people I know – maybe most people – I had a great high school experience. Some of the best friends I’ve ever had, and some of the nicest people I’ve ever been around went to school with me (Go, ‘Dogs!). And yet, almost without exception, I’ve lost touch with them. I don’t even know where most of them live. This is not at all because I didn’t like them or want to stay friends – it’s just that all of us went to college, went to work, went on to whatever, and in 1985 it was a lot harder to maintain long-distance friends than it is now.
So I’m planning to fix that – I’m pledging right now that when I hear from friends who knew me back when, I’m going to make an effort to stay in touch. It’s not like it’s hard, it’s just something you have to take a little time to do when the opportunity presents itself.
So Sherry and Richie, here’s to you for reminding me just how many people I’ve lost, and here’s hoping you use that email address I gave you.