I’m a pretty nostalgic guy, probably more than most people I know. Put another way, my orientation to time tends to be rooted in the past. I have a much clearer perspective on what has happened rather than on what could happen.
I spend a lot of hours reflecting on days gone by with more than slight idealism. I can spend hours on end looking through old photo albums or just lying in bed, sifting through memories in my mind. That’s why it’s been fun, as of late, to reconnect with someone I haven’t had contact with since I was 13 years old at St. Benedict’s Catholic School.
One memory I have is how much I enjoyed 7th grade. I know. It’s an odd grade for which to hold fondness, but it’s true. That year between 6th and 8th grade at St. Benedict’s was a good year for me. One part of that year especially stands out.
Sister Joan was my homeroom teacher. As I recall, we always seemed to have assigned seating, and at some point in the year, Simi was seated in front of me. By 7th grade, we had been at St. B’s together for quite some time but never really interacted. We hung out in different circles and only had the rare occasion to talk. But that changed.
I remember being struck by how well we got on. I would even go so far as to say we made each other laugh quite a bit. We may have also had to be moved apart from each other because we talked so much. For whatever reason, however, I’ve always carried this vivid memory of that time Simi and I were assigned seating neighbors as one of the happier moments of my early adolescence.
Then the year ended, and we finished our time at St. Benedict’s after 8th grade. Simi and I went to different high schools and never spoke again. Until a few weeks ago.
There is a group of us on Facebook who are mutual friends, the connection being our shared experience in elementary school. Simi and I have been Facebook friends since 2009, but as at St. Benedict’s, we haven’t really interacted. Then we randomly started talking on Facebook. What strikes me is that we haven’t known each other since we were 13. In the late 70s, neither of us was anywhere close to being the people we would become.
We’ve experienced decades of life, including relationships, careers, relocations, and myriad other life-shaping events. Quite appropriately stated, we really don’t know each other except for whatever faded memories we might have tucked away in the recesses of our brains. That’s what makes this so great. It really is getting to know someone again, for the first time.
I’ve been struck by how easy it is to talk with Simi. She is as I remember her, with a bit of a quirky and welcoming sense of humor. It’s a little bit like we’ve picked up where we left off in 7th grade and are catching up. Granted, it’s 42 years of catching up, but it does give us endless material to talk about.
Simi lives on the west coast these days. Before that, the last thing I knew about her was seeing her at Pizza Hut after 8th-grade graduation. I’m looking forward to finding out what happened between 1978 and 2020.