Monday, December 22, 2014

Lost and Found

Over the course of our lives, friends come and go. We change, they change; bonds which connected us break or slowly dissolve. Most of the friends of our lives fade into the distance of memory, and the longer we are separated, the greater the distance.

Reconnecting with…or even encountering…former friends can range from casually-exchanged greetings to, in some cases, the reestablishing of the friendship.

I was thinking of such instances in my own life, and several stand out.

In 1948, while in Junior High, I met Larry, the first “love of my life.” He was beautiful and we carried on a sporadic but torrid teen-age-hormonal affair for a year or two. We drifted apart, as is pretty common at that stage of one’s life, but the torch I held for him never went out. Many years later, I ran into him in a gay bar. He was still beautiful, but we were by then different people. I felt no real connection nor, obviously, did he. We never saw one another again.

In college, I shared my first romantic kiss with a to-me breathtakingly beautiful young man named John who became my dorm roommate. Poor John was excruciatingly conflicted about being gay, and our affair was short-lived. Sometime in the late ‘60s I ran into him at Los Angeles’ Farmer’s Market. The years had not calmed him and I had the distinct impression he was embarrassed to see me.

While in the Navy I became wildly infatuated with a shipmate, Lloyd, who was irredeemably straight. I thought of him many times after returning to civilian life and tried to locate him several times over the years. Finally, a few years ago, I was able to locate him and phoned him. He had married shortly after his service and has two grown daughters. We exchanged addresses and I wrote him. He did not reply, and I closed the door.

Larry, John, and Lloyd were, in the overall scheme of things, simply warm memories but passing fancies. Fortunately, I’ve been lucky enough to have several other, more significant reconnections.

When I started at a new school in the third grade, one of my classmates was a boy named Dan Sable, who went on to attend the same college as I. We were not terribly close, but friends nonetheless. About ten years ago, now, he came across my name on Facebook and wrote me. We instantly re-established our friendship as though there had not been a 60-year-plus pause, and we remain in regular contact.

Through Dan, I got back in touch with another school-and-college-years friend, Ted Bacino, whom I’d met in Cub Scouts and with whom I attended Junior high and my first two years of college. Again, we picked up our friendship in mid-sentence. Ted now lives in Palm Springs, and we met up a few years ago while we were both in New York. It was as though we’d seen each other the day before, and we still keep in regular touch. 

Through Ted, I reconnected with another member of our college “gang,” Effie Foulis. Since my college years were among the happiest of my life, being able to have direct links to those halcyon days is indescribably comforting.

But one of my major reconnections has been with Diane Kopp, with whom I worked during my earliest days in Chicago. I had lost track with her when I moved to California and had no way to contact her (women almost inevitably change their last name upon getting married). So when I received a Facebook message from her after nearly 60 years, I was elated. She knew, and is therefore also a bridge to, my now-dead dear friend and one-time partner Norm. Again, the lapse in time meant nothing, and we now get together every couple of months. 

For someone to whom links to the past provide invaluable comfort, having the opportunity to re-establish ties—whether those opportunities result in a continuation of or a resolution to a once-important friendship—is one of life’s deepest pleasures. I hope you may have had, or will have, similar experiences.

Memories are the yule-logs of the soul.


Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1), which is also available as an audiobook (http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B00DJAJYCS&qid=1372629062&sr=1-1).

3 comments:

Kage Alan said...

Okay, I clicked on "publish your comment" and it said there was an error, so I have no idea if the first comment went through. If not, I basically stated I loved the post, you were inspired, and the one thing that came through loud and clear is that you're not alone.

The ties to your past with these people mean you really aren't alone, which is lovely.

Helena said...

I'm always nervous about contacting people who were once friends, in case I spoil the happy memories! It did strike me, reading your post, that it was those you'd had a crush on who were disappointing years later, while those who were friends were not. I wonder if that's because when we have a crush on someone we sometimes don't see the real person?

Dorien Grey said...

Good point, Helena! That, plus the fact infatuation by its nature tends to be short-lived.