One of things I like about looking at pictures when you’re young and also meeting back with old friends you haven’t seen in a long time is, for me, it’s a glimpse of who I was. – Lea Thompson
Social media has its downfalls, there’s no question about that. Whining, bullying, criticizing, mean-spirited jibes, all can happen on a large scale via Facebook or Instagram, for example. On the other hand, I have developed relationships – and yes, I’ll call them relationships – via Facebook with people with whom I was only marginally connected in real life. Co-workers, high school acquaintances and so forth.
Let me tell you a story, one that will likely only be interesting to me. Please indulge me.
I lived the first 18 years of my life in the same house in Columbus, Nebraska. There were quite a few kids my age that lived in the neighborhood. A couple of girls next door, more next to that house, and more in the house next to that one. Catty corner from our back yard lived a family with a daughter about my age, maybe a year or two older.
She and I were very good friends. My sister Jen hung out with us too, but for the most part, it was Kathy and me. Privacy fences weren’t particularly popular back in those days, at least not in our neighborhood. So I could get to her house by running down the dirt path next to our unattached garage, through her backyard and into her breezeway, where I could knock on the door. Many times, however, especially in the summer, I would stand on my back porch and simply give her our mutually-agreed-upon beckoning call: Eee-Ah-Kee, Kathy, shouted at the top of my lungs.
If she heard – and she mostly did – she would respond in like manner. This meant we were both available to play together. We played dolls. We played tag and Red Rover and all of the games that kids played back then. Her mother was an extremely competent seamstress, and Kathy’s Barbie doll was considerably better dressed than mine in her store-bought duds. I also remember that Kathy’s mom and dad square danced. I knew nearly nothing about square dancing except that her mom had beautiful square dancing dresses that she made, because see above: an excellent seamstress. I loved those dresses.
Anyway, we went to different schools – she to public and I to Catholic. So once we got into junior high and busy with various activities, we sort of grew apart. So it’s safe to say that I haven’t spoken to her for 50 years or so. I’ve thought about her, however. As I’ve watched my grandkids play with their neighborhood friends, I’ve recalled my childhood friend. I, in fact, have looked for her on Facebook to no avail. Since she didn’t show up using the name by which I knew her, I figured she had either married and had a different last name, or wasn’t on Facebook. Every so often, I would check again.
The other morning, I got a Facebook Messenger notification from a name I didn’t recognize. I could only see part of the message and was afraid to click on it because I’m paranoid about being hacked. The part I saw was Is this the Krissy who lived…. And the rest of the message was hidden. Bill concurred with my reluctance to click on the message. I didn’t recognize the name, and I couldn’t image who would call me Krissy. I really don’t recall ever being called Krissy.
But being me, it drove me crazy. I looked up the person on Facebook, and she didn’t look familiar. I wasn’t smart enough to click on the “About” key, because if I had, I would have responded in a heartbeat.
Finally, my curiosity got the best of me, and I clicked on the message. There she was – my old friend from the neighborhood. I quickly responded, and we had the nicest series of messages back and forth, catching up via social media. She even reminded me that we buried “treasures” on that same path down which I would run to get to her house. Don’t you wish we could go dig them up? she asked me. Yes, indeed I do. I wonder what 7 year old girls would bury.
They say you can’t go home again, so it’s kind of nice when home comes to find you.