Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Ghosts of Facebook Past

I've never been tech-averse, but it did take me a while to get on Facebook. Maybe it was the thought of having another Web page to maintain when I already do that for work purposes here. A big part of what I do involves editing and updating the content on that page.

Anyway, Facebook has been mostly an enjoyable experience and certainly very beneficial for work purposes (an easy way to tell a large group of people to check out our articles and photos online). There are annoyances with it, which I'm sure wittier bloggers have already chronicled.

But what's been most interesting is when long-lost people find you. It's always a goof when an old high-school classmate tracks you down after not keeping in touch for years. You become morbidly curious about how their life turned out even if in the grand scheme of things, you were doing just fine not knowing.

Recently, I had a slightly bigger shock when an elementary school classmate found me. I had literally not seen this person since our sixth-grade graduation. She went off to a different middle school and by the time she went to our East L.A. high school, I was 3,000 miles away at a boarding school on scholarship.

She was always the smartest person in our class all the way through, though in the neighborhood we grew up in, you often wondered if that would be enough. Too many things can and have derailed many people I went to school with, and I always count my blessings with the way things turned out for me.

Well, it turns out she also did more than alright for herself. Bachelor's and Master's degree from UCLA. Working as a social worker in Southern California. Happily married. And from the few exchanges we've had, still as sharp and curious as I remember her.

But the other thing that was interesting when we were talking about our childhoods is how similar they really were and how hard our families worked to provide a stable home and shield us from any harm. It sounds simple, but when you're trying to make ends meet, things tend to slip through the cracks. But it sounds like her family, much like mine, kept things pretty airtight.

I was happy (and a little relieved) to hear that someone like her made it. Not because I had such little faith in our classmates, but more because it always felt like the odds were longer where we came from. Remember, most of us were the first in our families to graduate college (and high school, in my case).

I hope we maintain contact, not for the morbid Facebook curiosity I mentioned earlier, but because it's always good to know there are other people from my neighborhood that I can point out to my friends and family as success stories.


Razzy said...

I like this post Ed! It's great to reconnect with people but not have to call them on a regular basis.

Ninnette said...

That was a great post; I feel the same and am proud to know you are doing well as well. And I beg to differ on who was the smartest in our class ;)