Sunday, January 09, 2011


Whew. The last few posts have brought forth so many great comments and thoughts. It has been fun to really dig into some of the ideas  and, at the same time, confusing and dismaying to find out how easily misunderstood small comments can be. It is never my intent to hurt anyone by things I write here. Never. It seems like a good time to move on to something else—or at least back to silly drawings. Those are coming.

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A couple days ago my friend Susan posted this photo on Facebook.

That's me on the far left. Susan is the cutie pie in the center. Taken more than 40 years ago, the others, starting next to me are Kathleen, Joanie and Carla. We were sorority sisters. In this photo we are dressed and poised to sing for an audience of our mothers. Kathleen was my friend from about the age of 2 (our mothers were best friends.) The others I met at college. Kathleen and Carla have remained close, though not physically. But we have never lost touch over the years. I lost  contact with Susan and with Joanie. And then Facebook happened and there they were after all those years. And there are others—Anne and Judy and Carol and Carolyn ... It has brought me so much joy to reconnect with these women. Most of them live a long way away from me now, though I do see Kathleen from time to time and Ray and I went to visit Carla and her husband in Delaware last year. Kathleen lives in Eastern Washington and Joani is in South Carolina. Susan lives in Boise, but her daughter lives mere minutes from my house here in Oregon, so Susan is in Portland quite frequently. We have managed to get together a couple of times and it has been so special. We have each lived a huge part of our lives in those 40 years between. Hers has been difficult and wonderful and tragic and fulfilling. She published a book of poetry last year and she is incredible fun to talk to.

And it all gets me wondering why these connections are so powerful and so joyful when they happen. I think it is partly because you finally get the whole story—a life that you glimpsed years before, a person who you loved and fervently wished the best for. What did they do? Where have they been? Were they happy? Are they happy? Did their life happen like you imagined? (almost never)

The other, more selfish part of it is that these connections allow you to connect with yourself—a younger self, a different self, someone we may have nearly lost just as we nearly lost those friends. Those connections, in some way, confirm your past and where you've been. Sadly, I can count only three people still alive (all relatives), who have known me for my entire life. Then comes Kathleen and her mother, Priscilla (also a Facebook friend), who came into our lives before I remember. Then my sister and brother. Without these people my memories would be quite lonely, solitary things, shared with no one. My friends Paula and Lea (also a recent Facebook friend) make real my early school years. They were there. We are each others' witnesses. And those college friends—well, we shared some amazing history both global and personal in those 4 short years.


  1. I quite enjoyed the recent "dust-up" simply because it brought out a lot of thoughtful posts.
    That picture brought yearnings to reconnect with my college friends as well. I haven't been as successful. I'm so glad to know the women who were your contemporaries but that I knew as well.

  2. This is such bittersweet post for me. I've lost touch with most of my long time friends and more recent friends are more like acquaintances. I've been trying to reconnect in the last year and while it hasn't been as fruitful as your reunions, it's definitely important and fulfilling. :-)

  3. Your thoughts here are very close to what I have been thinking about the past few weeks. Thank you for this post. It, like Susan's, reminds me of special these connections are to me.

  4. I am forwarding your post to my dear and only childhood friend. It is a precious one for me. It is older sister's childhood friend saw me at my sister's 60th birthday party and started crying and hugging me...even though I was the pesty little sister. We all want connections. And just to give you laugh I went out today and bought a little 5x7 sketch book...I feel artsy already! NOT...but it made me smile.

  5. I have kept in close contact with 6 highschool friends. We do a round robin letter that just keeps going. It is a connection to my past that is very dear to me. I have no contact with college friends. I never really connected to anyone but my roomies and they have both died from cancer. I miss them.

    I still have 3 sisters who ground me!! Just talked to one of them for half an hour.

  6. Love this post. And I'm so glad that I, too, took a chance on Facebook. My cousins and I have re-established ties and share old family pics that have brought warm memories and departed faces back to us. And then there is the reconnection with old friends as you mention here. The Social Network has so much more to give us, the older generation, than those cyber kiddies. I'm truly grateful to have found my lost connections. Coming 'full circle' is a blessing!