Ever find it's best to leave your memories *as* memories?

Two things have amazed me about Facebook: the fact that I’m able to find profiles of elementary school classmates whom I haven’t seen in in literally a quarter century or more; and how old those cats are now. There was one girl I had a massive crush on then; she was petite and had the sweetest smile. Now I go on Facebook and see she’s a well-into-middle-age lady and, well, not so petite these days. I abandoned my idle fancy of contacting her after all these years – not just because of looks (I may appear somewhat different now, myself) – but because, well, the girl I knew then is the girl I want to remember.

Along those lines, on his recent trip out here to Asia, I asked my dad if he would like to make the short journey to Vietnam and Thailand to see some of the places he had known during the war. I was surprised at how firm he was in saying no: he was quite clear on wanting to keep his memories as they were and not spoil them by seeing how things are now over there.

People have reasons, I remember asking my mother, who came here from Yugoslavia, if she wanted to go back for a visit. She said “No, if it was any good, I wouldn’t have left in the first place.” All the other relations I had said the same thing.

My former landlady was from Poland, she used to put pictures up of her village, which were very pretty, but she was adamant that she was now an American not a Pole anymore so there was no reason to go back. As I recall she did want to go see Disneyland and The Grand Canyon. :slight_smile:

And the older immigrants I have known all have the same attitude, they LEFT somewhere to become American. And they are very proud of that fact. The new waves of immigrants don’t do that, they want to have dual citizenship not be solely Americans, at least this is how I still run across it.

I graduated high school in 1984 and ‘reconnected’ with some high school friends on Facebook. One renewed friendship has gone great- we haven’t seen each other in almost 25 years and we picked up where we’d left off, but what’s amazing to me with some is how much they haven’t changed- still petty, small minded, snobbish, cliquish- I haven’t defriended them but only because they haven’t been directly offensive; certainly I’ve no real desire to reconnect more than digitally.

The nice thing about being fat in high school is that now when I look at 25 year old pictures I’m the only one who can say “I’ll bet I could still wear those pants… in fact they might be a little loose!”:smiley:

There’s also some surprises- mainly coming from gossip relayed by the friend I have started seeing again- at just what a Peyton Place the school was. It’s interesting learning that “she had an abortion?” or "he beat up his wife at a high school reunion?* or “that teacher was a cocaine addict*?”
And then there’s one who is, now as she was then, sweet as she can be but I thank God that in the past 25 years Caller ID became standard. She’s has even more ‘issues’ now than then and deals with them exactly the same (calling anyone who will listen and whining and kvetching and moaning for what seems like 12 hours).

Most irritating though is of course the gay thing. It’s amazing to me that nobody pegged me as a gay, but more amazing that they didn’t peg K.M. as gay- he made Liberace look like Gene Hackman- but he was from a rich family AND played football and baseball so they figured he was “just a little bit sissy”. ‘K.M.’- to whom I was never particularly close (too ‘small town rich snob’) became a lawyer in D.C. after graduation and died a couple of years ago, probably from AIDS from all I’ve heard, and some of the people I did see at a mini-reunion had such a frigging 1984 judgmental attitude it was sickening. I was surprised to learn he had died and when I asked what of was told- by a couple I knew from then who are still together- “Take a wild guess” [as in “he’s a faggot, of course he died of AIDS”]. I’ve ignored their friend request and those of a couple of others that I actively disliked when in high school (why be hypocritical now?) and most of them are just kind of dormant friends.

There are times I still want to look up my first love, a boy I met at Band Camp. His name was Mike and it was so magical. I loved it. I was so broken up about it when he left, I actually bought books on grieving and dealing with the loss of a loved one.

I haven’t spoken to him in years… and perhaps it’s better that I leave the memories of him as they were… perfect and heartbreaking…

I’ve heard from a few old friends since getting on to Facebook. An old flame I wondered what was up with, some former musical travelers, and some old neighbors. There are people I wonder about, but they were toxic for me then, and would still be toxic if they resurfaced. Keeping them as memories is best

I think about the coolest. boyfriend. EVER. I knew when we were in our 20’s. He was a big pothead and the only time I ever smoked pot was with him. He was homely-cute with long red hair in a sort of bowl cut (sort of like Kevin Sorbo), he wore an ankle-length chestnut red leather coat (which he sold to buy us tickets to the Led Zeppelin concert). He had lots of gay friends and he was very spiritual and serious, and like the total opposite of every other immature wanking jackass I was acquainted with. (Read: he wasn’t jumping on top of me like a wild drooling monkey all the time.) GOD, I was so in love! Eventually he moved to California and we lost touch, but not a week goes by that I don’t think of him and whatever became of him. I miss him to this day, though. When you’ve had a chestnut red ankle length leather coat, all the grubby parkas are just things you put on so you don’t freeze. Boy, is that a shallow comparison, or what?

Last year my husband and I were down in South Florida, and we looked up the house where I lived when I was little. (Okay, it was Grandma’s house technically, but I spent the majority of my formative years there). I was terrified it would be gone, or terribly changed, but no! Even the paint color is a close approximation. The front porch has had a sort of cage built around it, and they’ve added a chain link fence around the backyard, but I can live with it.

I was very happy here, with my Pekingese dog, and a chalkboard, and shelves full of books, and a corner in the garage set aside for me to do “art”:



We took the pictures quickly from the road. I couldn’t tell if the giant eucalyptus tree was still in the backyard.

So, um, in conclusion, I guess this post doesn’t really belong in this thread because I was lucky to find everything okay. However, I definitely felt it was a risk going back. I’d have been devastated if it were gone.

My mom now lives in the small town where I spent grades 1-8, about two blocks away from where we lived. Our old house is almost unrecognizable now, it’s been renovated so many times (the town is almost unrecognizable, too - a town of 1000 people with a gas station and three grocery stores has become a bedroom community with a MALL!). You really can’t go back.

I friended one old high school buddy on Facebook, and it was very unsatisfying - he was virtually uninterested in me, in spite of being good friends in high school. I don’t blame him, as we haven’t had any contact in 25 years, but I expected a little curiosity (like I’m curious about him - did you get married, have kids, what’s your career, what have you done in 25 years, that kind of thing). Oh well.


If you took all the girls I knew when I was single, and brought them all together for one night, you know, they’d never match my sweet imagination.

Unfortunately, my mother feels the exact opposite. But, then again, she didn’t really leave voluntarily :frowning:
As per the OP: Yeah, usually it seems my imagination paints a more optimistic view of my former friends than does reality.

I was more or less a ghost, despite spending 12 years in the school system with more or less the same classmates. For that reason, probably, when I do run into someone from school, it’s either they didn’t remember me at all (no problem), or they did and it was very cordial.

And, recently, my family became reacquainted with an *aunt that we had lost contact with 40 years ago. She was just as excited to hear from us as we were when we found her. So far, she’s had contact with all the nieces and nephews that she remembered from that time and it’s all been really good. It could just as easily have been, “That’s in the past. Please don’t make any further contact.” But fortunately, it didn’t turn out that way.

*Technically, she was our uncle’s girlfriend (which we didn’t know at the time) , but all us kids were crazy about her, and we considered her our aunt.