I love the internet, as if you didn't know that. I've been able to connect with a number of people that I likely would not without it. I have been writing to, and in some cases having phone conversations with several people from long, long ago. One of these is really interesting. I'll call him "D".
You know how we often have very different memories than do others with whom we shared a situation? That's how this story is. It started back in junior high. I can't remember if it was 8th or 9th grade. This guy, D, sat behind me in one of my classes. I can't say that I knew him. He was one of those people who is in the category of "a vague memory." And I suppose we didn't speak more than a few words to each other back then.
My single memory of him is this: One day in class, there was something unusual happening, but I don't remember what. We were having to stay in the classroom longer than usual, perhaps a lunch-time snafu. Anyway, we were told that if we had something to eat, we could go ahead. I didn't, but D had an apple. He asked if I would like half his apple.
Now, keep in mind I don't really know this person, and he is asking me if I want to share his apple. My head was full of thoughts along the line of "How is that going to happen? I'm not going to take a bite after he does!" I think I said something similar to,"How are we going to cut it?" Back them pocket knives in a guy's pocket was acceptable, and I thought he might have one. His reply was to take the apple in his two hands, twist his hands in opposite directions, and the apple split right down the middle! I was amazed! I'd never seen anyone do that. I thanked him, took the apple and enjoyed it.
Next memory? NONE! I didn't remember him in school after that. Isn't that peculiar? Now that we've talked I know that he left school in our Junior year to join the Navy, but what about the two or so years between?
His memory of me? Actually, he doesn't have one! He didn't remember the apple thing. My name rang a bell, but he couldn't place my face.
We began talking a few months ago after I got a message from classmates.com that someone had left me a message. If you're not familiar with Classmates, it is a pain in the neck, IMO. It used to be about the only way to find old high school friends, but over the years, they have changed it so it is very difficult to navigate and find anything unless you pay the $19.95 each year. And I won't.
So I went to the site to try to find the message. I looked and looked without being able to find the message. The only thing I could find seemed, vaguely, to be from D. But it wasn't clear, almost as if part of the message was missing. So anyway, I emailed him, asking if he was trying to reach me. It was a couple weeks before he responded, and he said he hadn't been. I responded with an apology and said it wasn't clear, etc.
But then he emailed back with some questions, trying to place me, and eventually, we got off the classmates email system and began emailing directly. Later on, we have discussed how we both felt an odd but strong connection of some sort while this was going on, almost as if we needed to pursue this, to find out about each other.
I won't go into boring details, but over the last few months we have emailed and talked on the phone a lot, and the friendship we have developed is very special. There is something that keeps us coming back for more about each other. We share a lot of spiritual ideas. We share many political, economical and relationship ideas. It is amazing to be talking to him and learn all these similarities.
To make this more unusual, we have learned that we lived a few blocks apart and rode the same bus to school inl our years of junior high and high school, went to the same church as children (and went to all services Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening), were in the youth group together .... and with no memories of each other in those settings!! Isn't that odd?
We would love to get together, but the likelihood of that is slim. We both have limited incomes, so traveling to get together isn't likely. You see, he lives in Hawaii now. He also has a serious illness, a Parkinson's-like syndrome, which further limits him.
In spite of that, we have formed a wonderful, warm friendship. We talk on the phone for an hour or so at least once a week. We share our love for poetry and good literature. We talk about out life travels .... and travails. And we just support each other in ways that no one else does. It just happens because of that connection we have, one that neither of us can explain, but we are thankful it is there.
I'm still in awe of this, how it came about, how it has grown on us, and how we didn't notice each other "back then." I guess we didn't need each other until now.