Friday Fun: Re-Connecting With Old Friends

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🙂

I set up a profile on Classmates.com years ago, not too long after it was first up and running.  Honestly, I don’t check it all that often, and it’s sometimes 6 months to a year before I bother.  And I haven’t done much to my profile other than correcting the childrens’ ages when it needs it.

But even though I hardly ever touch it, it has enabled me to re-conncect with old friends.  There’s Jennifer, whom I was close to in junior high, and just the other day my Jessie contacted me.

Jessie and I were part of a larger group of friends in high school.  There were the two of us, Beth (who is also Number One Daughter’s godmother), Jenny, Lyssa, Brigid, Carol, and Sue (there were a lot of other girls [this was an all-girls Catholic high school] that we were all friendly with, but that was our “core group”).  Beth was my best best friend (think back to high school, and you’ll remember what that means 😉 ), but out of all the rest of them, I’d say Jessie was the one I was second closest to.  I think it might have had something to do with feeling like outsiders – Jessie was actually born in Italy, then moved to Mexico as a child, and then to the US as a teen (her father was some big wig at some company that moved him around the world).  So she was used to the outsider feeling.  I had just transferred to that school my junior year – after having already attended 3 different high schools.  So, while we never discussed it in that context, in looking back I can honestly say that feeling like outsiders probably had something to do with why we connected.

But now that I think about it, there was one other thing that we both shared that the others didn’t – at least not to the extent Jessie and I did.

We were both fat.

Beth and Jennifer were probably both in the “overweight” category, and the rest of them were all in the “normal” to downright “skinny” categories.  Jessie and I were the only two that could honestly be called fat.  I moreso than her, granted.  But yeah.  Both fat.

We were lucky, though.  For one thing, we weren’t the only fat girls in school.  And at that school?  I honestly can’t remember somebody being bullied or harassed simply because of their weight.  Not that it was never said, but the snide comments I do remember went something like “She’s _____ and ________ and ______…. oh, and she’s fat.”  It was always an afterthought, not someone’s principal reason for disliking somebody.

The two years I spent at that school were the happiest of what I consider my “childhood” – everything before the age of 18.  I had already gone through a lot of turmoil – abuse and the aftermath of that, depression, multiple suicide attempts, hospitalization, lived in a group home for troubled kids for a year and a half – and I had just come home for good a few months before starting at this school.  I had gotten a lot of counseling while living in that group home – both individual and “family” counseling with my grandmother – and I was finally feeling “right” for the first time in my life.

I really didn’t want to transfer schools.  I had been relatively happy at the school I had attended the year before, and just didn’t want to have to change again.  Four schools in less than three years?  Can you blame me for not wanting to change again?

But as much as I hated to admit it, it was a good school.  I was given chances I’m not sure I would have had at the previous school – such as taking honors (college level) classes (English and History).  The faculty – nuns included (well, most of them) were… well, nice is the only word I can think of right now.  Some of them were obviously more strict than others, but they were all approachable.  A good majority of the teachers there (at that time, anyway) were the kind of teachers that previous students would come back to visit… just because.

And, as you can see from what I wrote about my group of friends, I definitely did not have a shortage of them.  Yet another reason why I look back on those two years as the happiest I’d ever been as a minor.  I’ve always been able to make friends, but that was the first time I was ever part of such a large group.  (My grandmother wasn’t too happy about the phone bills, though! 😉 )

But, as often happens after high school, we kind of scattered after graduation.  Beth moved to California with her mother.  Jessie, Brigid, and Jenny went off to different colleges.  Lyssa and I had a bit of a falling-out and simply never spoke again.  Carol lived at home, but she lived all the way on the other side of Chicago and we just didn’t get the chance to see each other much.  Sue was put in a nursing home by her family (she was dyslexic and just a little slow, and I personally believe that putting her in a nursing home was a nasty, abusive move on her family’s part; but I saw them treat her like shit with my own eyes, and part of me really isn’t surprised).

I had a baby.  Number One Daughter.

While I know it’s normal for high school friends to drift apart after graduation, I know that my having had Number One Daughter contributed to that, too.  I was simply living a different kind of life than my friends were – they were working and/or going to college, and I was raising a baby and looking for work (it took me quite some time to find a job after having her, no doubt due to my lack of experience and age).  But I digress.

I don’t remember exactly when the last time I saw/spoke to/heard from Jessie was, but I know it was sometime in 1995.  Number One Daughter was a baby, and I had driven over to Jessie’s house to visit her and show Number One Daughter off.

Shortly after that, my life turned back into a roller coaster for a while, and I lost contact with all of my friends.

I had managed to get back in contact with Carol shortly before moving here to the UK, but I never did manage to find any of the others.

So after thirteen years, during which time I would periodically search for my friends and give up after having no luck, to have Jessie contact me out of the blue like that…

I screamed.  I mean literally.  Out loud.

The kids came running.  Obviously when they saw me bouncing in my chair, laughing like a madwoman, and saying “Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod” over and over again, they just stood there and stared at me.  (Shiiiiiiiiiit… like they’re “normal.”  Hahahaha…HA!)

I haven’t gotten a chance to write her back yet, just because I’ve been busy the last couple of days, but I can’t tell you how happy I am that one of my best friends in the whole world (and yes, I still consider her that, even after 13 years of no contact) has kind of stumbled her way back into my life.  I just wish I could hug her in person.  🙂

Have you had an experience like that?  Please share… I’m on an emotional high this week, and I’d like to keep it going as long as possible.  🙂

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One Response

  1. Just the other day, I finally found one of my best friends from elementary/high school on facebook. I was thrilled!

    We probably became friends in school because I was harassed and shunned for my weight, and her for her race. Anyways, she was a very interesting, accepting person, and I often thought about what she might be doing these days. We’d been almost completely out of touch since graduation.

    We had a great email chat. I was shocked to learn that her sons are both teenagers (while I’m still single and in university). Wow. And, though she wasn’t really when I knew her, now she’s fat. Very fat, in fact, like I am, and like her mother is. And she looks wonderful.

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