Saturday, October 16, 2010

What Aging Has Taught Me

The photo album slipped out of my hand, and onto the floor went pages and photos into a mix-up pile. I wasn't ready to sit down and gather them up at the time, but the mess was in the middle of a walking area. So I drew up a chair and leaned down to collect the memories of a lifetime. The album was started injunior high school. Each year as I received a photo or snapped one of my friends, I put a copy in this album. In the 1950's before college I didn't own a camera. They weren't items most average families owned. I must have used the old Kodak box camera that somehow my parents had owned since my birth.

I searched for and found my scrapbook. In it were all the articles of weddings and features of my friends. I gathered together the articles and paired them with the photos.

Picking up each photo became a journey. I laughed at the memory as I recalled the incident, my brain whirling through tons of mass to take me back to that time and place. I  wondered Where are they? What are they doing today? I  set aside a small stack of follow-ups. I wasn't sure of my next move.

A few days later I used Google to find the names of these friends. No hits. I checked FaceBook and found one. Tried the White Pages and found three. The latter had remained in Mississippi. Then I turned to, where I'm researching four families. I entered the names to find death certificates. Bingo. Two. I was disappointed to find my junior high school friend Nancy had died  five years ago. A boy I had dated in the tenth grade died on his birthday two years ago. No one was supposed to die, this early, I told myself.

How to contact three guys who probably don't remember me? Be armed with reminiscences. First, I called South Carolina to GB. He vaguely remembered me (naturally, who would after 60 years?). I told him our connection--Civil Air Patrol in Mississippi, attended CAP camp in Montgomery, AL for  two weeks. . .he remembered slightly. Then I told him I'd email  him all photos. A subsequent call opened up good conversation. I was talking to an adult my age whom I'd know as a kid. Wonderful to know who he'd become, the career he'd chosen.  I promised to visit when I went through his hometown.

Next, I called Gulfport, MS. Talked to DK. I"d met through someone else. I had kept a newspaper article about his finishing army training, and I had a photo of him outside his tent during his Korean service.  He told me he'd suffered loss of all memorabilia during Katrina; he'd like to have the photo and article. We chatted and during that time he didn't remember me from King Tut. That was OK. I remembered him. Sent him the material hoping he would enjoy a walk down memory lane.

 The third guy, JS, I'd known in junior college. Why I had so many articles on his basketball career, I don't know. Perhaps at HJC he was the star player. I discovered he had married the sister of a high school boyfriend. While helping an AR genealogist with this family, I'd run into this star's name and it tweaked my brain. Until I found the photos and articles did I make the connection. Calling him gave me the chance to check up on the family he'd married into.

One more contact left. A young woman who had shared CAP and  cadet life with me. I located her graduation invitation and name card accompanying. I had her full name. A search through White Pages brought  me no satisfaction. She was probably married and I wasn't sure of that new name.  FaceBook came to my rescue. Although she didn't use the page much, she had registered in the name I recognized. That connected us. Thank you FB.

Now GG and I are corresponding. No, she didn't remember me at all until I sent her the photos (We were 16 years old). We had separated when I went to boarding school in the eleventh grade and she had moved to Florida. She doesn't live nearby, so through emails we can keep  abreast of each other. Neither of us looks familiar, but the thin thread of cadet life keeps us together. We discovered how much we both had enjoyed the CAP encampment and the cadet program, sponsored by the Air Force. I don't recall us missing a single meeting held at Hawkins Field in Jackson. (Incidentally, the cadet program is still operational, at the same site.)

High school reunions are important. However, these friends were acquired from areas  unrelated to a specific school. Thanks to the Internet I can make connections. These people had appeared in my youth and contributed to who I am today. 



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was in Angel Flight, sponsored by the Air Force ROTC. We had a great group of girls, and I consider myself lucky that we are all already on facebook and able to stay connected. So sorry to hear about the cabin. Perhaps you could consider traveling with Claire