Remember my old buddy Ellen that deserted me for retirement in Washington? Before she left she gave me her e-mail address, a few jars of her mothers homemade strawberry jam and something else. She gave me the Internet site, Classmates.com, to search out other old friends. And before Eddie had a chance to stop me, possibly from letting in a herd of “viruses”, I listed my e-mail address, what high school I went to and what date I had graduated.
My mom listed her info too and got an e-mail right away from a high school buddy she hadn’t seen in fifty years! She tried to find old college friends from Barnard but couldn’t find a listing for anyone. (Although she does remember that Joan Rivers attended Barnard, about as blond as I really am, and beat her out for class clown way back when.)
Bring on the herd I say! First came Maria Giuilani, my pal from cruising Van Nuys Blvd. in her old orange VW. Then came my sister’s old boyfriend James Humphries reminiscing about the days when my mom invited our boyfriends to the Hollywood Bowl so that we had to go too. Jeannie Lopez followed suit reminding me of the countless letters I exchanged with her little sister Alice. Vicki Garcia has a cousin in Santa Clarita that reads my columns! And then, just yesterday, Janice Levin or as she tried for years to call herself, “Jan”, checked in!
What fun! So e-mails turned into long phone calls with Maria and Janice. Ellen even coordinated a lunch with all of us. I literally walked into the dark restaurant, staring past the only ladies waiting, in search of my old friends. Twenty-five years had passed! Who the heck were these broads?
I felt ill prepared though I had an old photo album and copies of their letters along. The letters were tough to edit. I had saved every single birthday card and candy gram. Every post card and slip of notepaper. It seemed that I had saved was every letter any of my friends ever wrote. Which would they reading appreciate now?
Like a song I know that says throw out old bills and save every letter, I had done just that. “Keep on Truckin” and those annoying chubby half-naked toddlers, “Sugar and Spice”, were the stickers that had sealed most. Intricate folding patterns and colored ink pens. Typewritten, printed, miss-spelled words. And the worst of it all: teenage angst.
Friends one day and not the next. Meeting in the “calf”. Being mad at Steve or John. Lisa ditching school. What time the game started. Who had money for Shakey’s afterward. Why was Steve so cruel to Janice? Why was John ignoring Maria today? When was Ellen ever coming home from Germany? What were we going to do when the gang got off work from their jobs at Fisherman’s Wharf? How could we have a test in Government when it was only the second week of class? Who felt like a taco on the way home from school?
I have to admit that the balance of our letter writing centered on boys, not on schoolwork. And when I consider that most of that letter writing was done on school time I’m amazed that any of us did well at all. At least we are finally remembering our old friendships long after our last attempts at Algebra!
So the lunch turned into a dinner. It was tough just to stop staring at each other. Then it was tough to stop hugging. Giggling. Kicking under the table even. Seeing who could remember the best story. Who could remember what happened to whom since then? Who had the best looking kids. Whose voice, mannerisms and personality seemed most like their high school counterpart? That was the funniest part as each had, in turn, recognized each other’s voice in the span of three seconds over the telephone. Maria tugged on her nose the same way. I, of course, interrupted the most. We even, minus a few tell tale wrinkles, looked and dressed almost the same!
The next plan is to meet in Las Vegas when Ellen can come down as Janice lives just a few minutes from the strip. It may be a long way from high school but we haven’t changed that much in twenty-five years. We can still cruise the Boulevard! Albeit the boys we talk about are our husbands and sons now. And we are too old to admit too much adult “angst” now; it may come up in the future, if we rekindle this friendship properly!
Anyway I salute Classmates.com! What a great way to find an old friend and remember how to giggle!