Monday, January 24, 2011

Rant #429: Old Friends

I really enjoy revisiting my youth. Unlike things that I hear from other people, I can rightfully say that I had a terrific childhood, especially between the ages of seven and 14, those wonderful years when one moves from being a baby to becoming a young adult.

This weekend, I once again revisited those years, as I helped to assemble five of my friends from those days back in the mid 1960s and early 1970s into one place for the first time in over 40 years.

The Internet is a wonderful tool when it works (the reason for the lateness of this post is that the Internet was not working earlier). It can be used for so much good, but people find so many bad things to use it for too.

But let me focus on the good. The get together would not have been possible without the Internet.

The Internet draws us together as people, no matter where we are in the world. As long as one has Internet access, that person is as close to you as the keyboard in front of you. You just have to know where to direct yourself when you type, and Voila!, you can be there.

Anyway, over the past number of years, I have been trying to reconnect with my past by contacting my former buddies from those wonderful growing-up years.

First, I connected with people on something called Delphi Forums, a precursor to My Space and Facebook. I could not believe that I wasn’t alone in the pursuit of the past, and Delphi Forums allowed me to investigate that past.

But it had its limits. It wasn’t that well known, so only a handful of people actually visited it. But I did, and for 10 years it was the place to re-meet and re-greet my former friends.

Then the Facebook Revolution began, and there was no holding me back in my pursuit of these people. I initially hesitated to join Facebook, because my daughter had had some problems on another social networking site some years ago.

But when I finally joined, I found dozens of my old buddies on the site. Further investigations on sites like found others.

I have contacted so many old friends through these sites, and I am completely amazed that they actually remember me from the old neighborhood, Rochdale Village in South Jamaica, Queens, New York.

My comments about my old neighborhood are also included in a book about that place, and its place in New York City history.

None of this would have been possible without the Internet as the intermediary.

Now fast forward to this past Saturday. Through trial and error and some luck, I was able to get in contact with several of my old friends from the building I lived in, and after a couple of false starts, we finally met for breakfast this Saturday.

Even though I was battling the early onset of a cold—which became full blown on Sunday—I had an extremely enjoyable time. It is as if we had never left each other. We conversed as if we had been doing so for the past 40 years, talking about the old neighborhood, what we did after we left, and what we are doing now.

It was really a super morning!

The picture accompanying this rant shows myself and my buddies. We agree that circumstances may have pulled us apart, but we are still all joined at the hip forever because of our youthful experiences together.

Hopefully, we can get together again, possibly this summer.

There’s nothing like meeting up with old friends again to make this 50-plus year oldster into a kid again.

And I love that feeling!

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