Long ago and really quite far away

I’ve been thinking about myself (yes I know, no need to say anything about that At All, darlings) because Dave mentioned his membership (if that’s the word) of Friends Reunited.  I remember my decision not to join Friends Reunited.  The idea, it seemed, was to contact people you had been at school, university or your earlier working life with and had lost touch.  My reaction was, you’ve lost touch for a reason, right?  If you cared that much, you’d have stayed in contact.

In fact, some years ago we visited an elderly cousin of the Sage’s, and as a result we discovered that his daughter was a neighbour of a friend of mine from teenage days.  Pleased as I was to find this out, it was not quite enough for either of us to make contact with each other – and, I’m sorry to say, she died three or four years ago as it happens, so it isn’t going to happen in future either.

I lived in Lowestoft after leaving school and have lived here, with the same surname, for 25 years (it was the anniversary of moving here on Saturday, as it happens).  I occasionally meet (bump into, not meet by arrangement) people I knew from schooldays, and one of them told me, a while back, that her mother is still a good friend of two of our teachers, who now are in their early eighties.  Which was quite interesting, actually, I might not mind meeting them again (and, funnily enough, I did keep in touch with several teachers after I left school, and wrote regularly to one until his death). But I have never been sufficiently engaged to make contact with anyone whom I’ve lost touch with.  Indeed, I do not put my school into Facebook or Google+ – if there’s anyone who really wants to find me, they can by name.  Not because we passed uncaringly by forty years ago.

This is not because I’m so very unfriendly, or I don’t think so.  I am not friendly like my sister, who does keep friends from way back, including school friends and people she worked with several decades ago.  And I wonder if that’s partly because she doesn’t have children – friends are all the closer to her – although I don’t think I’d be different whether I had a family or not.  Anyway,  whatever the reasons, I was rather horrified by the prospect of people I hadn’t seen for forty years getting in touch.  Apart from anything else, I might not remember them.  I’ve worked on my memory for faces and names very hard over the years, but back in my youth it was awful.  Embarrassingly bad, in fact.

There is better news from the hospital, by the way, where our school staff member was taken after her subarachnoid haemorrhage.  She has been out of bed, walking slowly around the room.  She still has a headache and is dreadfully tired, but this is really good to hear.

9 comments on “Long ago and really quite far away

  1. PixieMum

    This morning H. who I sat next to at our secondary school in Twickenham came round to my home. We sat in the garden, chatted, caught up with the news, she showed me pictures of her flat.

    Why am I telling you this? H’s flat is at Bondi, with lovely views of the beach and bay. She’s in England, one of her regular visits over the last 30+ years and 2 days after her arrival we had a gathering of about a dozen girls in the local hostelry. Another girl lives in South Africa, she was visiting too – most of us hadn’t seen her for nearly 40 years.

    There are others I see in my local High Street which is near to the now demolished and long gone school.

    The occasion was lovely, laughter and reminiscence. Thanks to the Internet we have been able to track down most of the class and those who wished have stayed in touch, even visiting H. in Oz.

    H. asked me not to put any photos. on the Internet, I won’t.

    Reply
  2. 63mago

    “If you cared that much, you’d have stayed in contact.”

    Exactly.

    I went to the 25-years-of-abiturium-festivities some years ago and found meself talking with some people I once had known. I did not look for them, they did not look for me, “drank my wine, smoked my stuff” and happily went away.
    I would like to know about one or two teachers (my English teacher and my Latin teacher, beiden verdanke ich sehr viel) but I can hardly remember the names of others.

    I would block people from the past on google+. It’s over. And only because my generation reaches the big five now – ah bah – there is no justification for Gefühligkeit, for “as if”, Kitsch.

    Reply
  3. Dave

    I am in touch with no-one with whom I was at school. Except Rog, of course, who I would never have met were it not for the internet.

    Reply
  4. lom

    I am much the same, I don’t keep in touch. I go though life with a that was then and this is now attitude, I don’t really have friends and I don’t think I ever have, I have acquaintances. But like your sister both of mine have friends from years ago, but then again they only have to meet someone once and they call them their best friend. haha

    Reply
  5. Sharon J

    I’m on Friends Reunited and I feel the same way as you about most of those I’ve lost touched with, there are a couple I’ve been glad to find again, people who I lost touch with ‘accidently’, my best-friend and bridesmaid, is one example. She went off to live in The Virgin Islands and I went off to Norway and we lost touch. She tried to find me again by contacting my Mum but Mum wasn’t sure how I’d feel about her giving out my address so took hers instead, but then lost it! We’re now good friends again 🙂

    Reply
  6. Christopher

    You’ve lost touch for a reason, right?

    I looked up the relevant pages on Friends Reunited – it’s a few years ago now – and discovered a nest of the dullest and least congenial people who must during the half-century (well, more or less) intervening have missed me as little as I have missed them. When I tell you that Amblecope and Arlington Stringham were among them, I’m sure you’ll understand.

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  7. Z

    It’s probably a matter of whether there are people you really would like to get in touch with again. There isn’t a right or wrong about it, after all.

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  8. Four Dinners

    My bestest ever pal from school got back in touch via Friends Reunited when we were 49.

    We’d last met at 24 just prior to me causing a slight problemette at his first wedding where I was supposed to be Best Man but had failed to arrive.

    Well…alright…I had a punch up with him and his soon to be Brother-In-Law (who really was a pratt I hasten to add).

    I was young and even dafter than I am now.

    At our reunion we met in a pub – my daughter drove me there. I walked in and it was as though we’d seen each other the week before. Extraordinary.

    The regulars in The Warren Pub in Hounslow called us Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

    We are again Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum after all these years and it feels so good!

    He is the Dum I hasten to add…;-)

    “You haven’t changed have you Bammy?” asked one of his four brothers.

    “Nope”

    oh dear…;-)

    Love him to bits. Always have.

    Reply
  9. PixieMum

    Four Dinners,

    Noticed the other day that the Warren has joined the long list of pubs around here that has closed down.

    DH used to work in Wellington Road, the staff used to go here or to the Welly Boot. Wonder how long before that goes too?

    Reply

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