I recently came across a couple of old friends on Facebook. And when I say old friends, I mean old friends. Friends from kindergarten and first grade. Friends who I'd always wondered about - where are they now? - but never thought I'd "see" them again. And poof. There they were... Betsy Hagar and Jimmy Hall, right there on Facebook.
My memories of childhood are faded, of course. I moved away from Indiana when I was 13 years old, so 20 years ago. Man, has it really been 20 years? I've found that most of the memories that are solidly layed down in my brain happened after puberty, but there are still those flashes from my earlier childhood that stay with me. How Betsy was one of the tallest girls in kindergarten and I was the smallest, so she was always the mommy and I was always the baby. I admired her for her fashion sense, because she wore 2 polo shirts with the collars popped up and her socks matched them. And I remember going to one of Jimmy's birthday parties and being happy that I could wear my sandals because his birthday was in May and it was finally warm enough to wear them. Or how we picked on each other like little girls and boys do because God forbid you actually be nice to someone of the opposite sex or you'll be accused of liking them. Of course, I adored them both.
I remember seeing the moving Stand By Me and hearing the line "friends move in and out of your life like busboys in a restaurant," (which may or may not be paraphrased. I never said my memory was that good.) and feeling so deeply sad over that. I couldn't deny the truth there, but I could be sad about it.
It's part of my personality to try to reclaim pieces of my past. It's like finding little bits of myself that have fallen away as the years have gone by. The books, pictures, toys... they remind me of the games I used to play and the faces I once loved and thought I would love for forever. And I do still love these old friends. It's almost magical, to be able to connect after all this time - 20 years! - have gone by. I can look at the pictures of their kids, and they can see mine, and we can remember what it was like when we were kids and our biggest worry was if we got to be in the gym or in the classroom for recess, and those awful timed math tests. I remember how loud Hungry Hungry Hippos was, and how I'd hide behind the big red mats at the end of the gym when we had to play dodgeball. I remember swooning over Mr. Sands and speculating that Mr. Whitacre always wore a green tie so the boogies wouldn't show when he wiped them on there. The big green slide on the playground, and how the boys would always drink their jello through a straw at lunchtime. Making bookmarks in the library and playing tetherball outside... it's all in there, and now it's just a wee bit closer than it was yesterday.