Saturday, June 11, 2011

WHAT HAPPENED TO?

Kevin's Picasso flower

A weird thing has happened on facebook. People from my very large neighborhood in Philly formed a group and are remembering all of the stores, schools, teachers, kids, music, etc, events of my youth and also the decade before and after me.


I have learned that one of my best friends (my maid of honor) married a Pew!! How rich she must be.

And another died, but no one knows why or when. Now maybe you stayed close to home and know about all of your childhood chums. I sure didn't. I left Philly at nineteen and have never returned in any meaningful way.

So what about it: do you know what happened to most of those people in your youth; or are they better left in the past? I know Phil feels the past is better left untrammeled. But I love hearing about the food we ate, the music we heard, someone's first car, how the music teacher was insane.

24 comments:

Deb said...

I'm with Phil: Leave the past to the past. I've discovered in a rather peripatetic existence (I've lived for long stretched in several states and another country), that the people you really want to stay in touch with, you do--as for the others, let them stay in the past.

However, this reminds me of a story I heard the other day--that many people are foregoing their physical high school reunions for virtual ones on Facebook. I guess in the virtual world, there is no past; everything is always still there.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - Interesting question! The people I really care about from the past are still a part of my life, so we keep in touch. But the parts of my past that I don't want to connect with, I've left behind. Well, as much as you can ever leave behind things that have happened to you.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I guess I am unusual in that I have left it all behind--although not of my own choice.

George said...

Except for some occasional attacks of nostalgia, I'm with Phil. I know too many people who live in the Past and seldom enjoy the Present because of it.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Phil too, but then I'm not on FB and don't plan on joining either. I don't want to relive my childhood in any way.

As a matter of fact we got a call from someone we knew (were friendly but not really close) in college and he wanted to arrange a get-together. Jackie wanted to go but I was not interested.

Let the past stay the past.

Jeff M.

Ron Scheer said...

In my case, nostalgia isn't what it used to be. I've periodically burned bridges. That has its pluses and minuses. Best to learn to like the present and be here now.

Charles Gramlich said...

I keep up with a few friends from the old days. Others not. I don't seek out nostalgia but I don't deny it when it comes looking.

Todd Mason said...

Oddly enough, I'll speak up for the occasional reunion with the good people in one's life. Not that I haven't burned or at least singed a few bridges, but probably it's part of the writer's (or writer-like person's) instinct as well, to find out: what happens to people? I have a rough idea of what's happening with my three best friends from New Hampshire, by most measures the worst time of my life, and even a bit of the circle of friendly acquaintance around them, without having made any face to face or even direct email contact in decades. (The biggest ass of that period is apparently currently eking a living selling [Amway-esque?] products out of his basement. More power to him.) My oldest friends I keep in touch with date from high school in Hawaii, and they are rather few. But I think in part your early life's rootedness in Philadelphia, and everyone else here so far (I think) being relatively peripatetic might have some bearing...certainly, I think the non-kids using this kind of virtual medium (right here, Blogflop, which has been acting up again for me these last few days) might be among those most interested in finding the new, non-randomly (as in geographically) met friends...

And, no travel on a virtual reunion, no need to deal with the unpleasant people much at all, no worries about the vanity-punch in displaying one's own creeping baldness or paunch-spread...of course, I was already a bit fat and high-foreheaded by the time I was eleven...

Richard R. said...

Nope, don't know and for the most part don't care. We moved from the town in 1962 and I went back to the old house once and it was awful - the neighborhood changed drastically (it had been in the country with many avacado and lemon groves, now it's plastered with gaudy McMansions mixed with junky old dumps. The house I grew up in had been half torn down and rebuilt into a monstrosity.

By the way, what the heck is a Pim?

Richard R. said...

So I say past in the past, agree with Phil. The house we moved from just 6 months ago and the people we knew there, except for a couple of them, are already fading away...

pattinase (abbott) said...

I think that's a great point, Todd. It's the writer in us that wants to end the story.
Every time I move I am amazed at how little I miss the house. I always expect to and never do.
Where did you see the word Pim, Rick.

Anonymous said...

Only one thing wrong with Todd's theory, as least as it applies to me, is that I've lived in New York my entire life, and in Brooklyn for over 50 years.

Jeff M.

Chap O'Keefe said...

Has anyone done this? Courtesy of Google you can now stroll down streets on which you used to live, even if they are on the other side of the world. I had a look at the place in Enfield, north of London, where I was born; from faraway New Zealand gazed upon the window of the very room! The biggest change was that the front garden had become some kind of parking spot and the open ground opposite was now part of a college campus. But I guess I was just wasting my computer time when I should have been converting more of my Western backlist into ebooks!

Richard R. said...

Oops, I meant Pew. What (besides a bench in a church, is a Pew?

Todd Mason said...

The Pew money comes from Sun Oil, in the manner of Rockefeller money from Standard. The Pew Charitable Trust funds just a whole lot of stuff, some of it on public television. This might or might not help make up for all the Pew money funneled into the far right wing of US politics in the last century...

Todd Mason said...

But, Jeff, it's easy to lose anyone you want in NYC, no? At least if they aren't motivated to keep up with you...

Chap, I have done so, with Streetview, looking at my Enfield (CT., US) house, my Londonderry, NH house, and my Kailua, HI house one evening while unwinding from work. An interesting half hour or so. They took down the solar panels on the Kailua house, perhaps in a Reagan-esque fit...or maybe they ceased functioning somehow.

Todd Mason said...

This choice bit from a leftist account of J. Howard Pew's career:

n 1933, when use of ethyl-gas blends began accelerating in the U.S., the American Petroleum Institute formed emergency committees. The Sun Oil Co. and others paid radio stations to run propaganda that criticized alcohol fuel, and J.H. Pew told them to pretend that the paid ads were news items. In 1940, Pew threatened the New York Times that he’d withdraw his ad contracts and is credited with making that paper go Republican.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oddly, this girl's father was a pipe fitter, her brothers the same. Hard to imagine what led her down that aisle.

Deb said...

Todd--the Koch brothers are the same. While they're using every dirty tactic imaginable to smash unions (remember recently when the Governor of Wisconsin was punked by a journalist pretending to be one of the Kochs--and how he talked about crushing unions in the state?), I see their names as providers of grants on a lot of PBS programing. Seems to be a disconnect there somewhere.

Cap'n Bob said...

I moved too often as a child to stay in touch with anyone. As a teen I mostly hung out with my cousins. A couple of years ago I called a friend from my teens--he was the lead guitar of a band we were in in the summer of '65. Within the year he died and it hit me hard.

Kent Morgan said...

I'm not on Facebook, but a guy from the northern Manitoba town where I grew up started a schools list on Yahoo about 10 years ago. As the word got out many people from my era joined the list and it brought me back in contact with some of my best friends from school with whom I had lost contact. Some of them have even got together a few times on Vancouver Island, but I haven't made it as yet. The town is celebrating its 100th anniversary next year so I'm waiting to see who plans to attend before I decide if I'm going.

Dorte H said...

No, I left when I was 18. I loved my home, but my school was full of snobs who cared more about your father´s last name and status than about your personality and your abilities.

Occasionally I meet one of the ´good guys´ from then (in real life or Facebook), but most of those people I couldn´t care less about.

Erik Donald France said...

I think it's really interesting. Always curious to find out what happens/ed to people, places, artifacts . . .

Jack Bates said...

I've had this discussion a lot with my students. I tell them I think it was part of our evolution to grow and move on because we started of as wanderers. Social networking is stunting this part of our growth. Now, we're never really leaving. There are some people who I've reconnected with that I think, 'Now I remember why we lost touch.'