You know how sometimes on Facebook, people ask to be your friend and you think about how you haven’t seen these people in a million years and really why would you want to be their friend now if you haven’t been their friend for so long. I have had those thoughts often. When it came to the folks from my Centereach days, I decided that for all of those high school people trying to friend me when we hadn’t even been friends back then, that I would ignore their requests. I know, I am such a wimp. Just decline already. I also decided that I would make an exception for the people who I knew from the street I grew up on, Ronkonkoma Blvd. We were like a horde on that street and when I got the first Ronkonkoma request from Joey, I couldn’t say no. The Olsons quickly followed as did a Lopez.
After months of procrastination, my family met the Olson family in real life (thanks Heather!). I was nervous. These are people who I haven’t seen in over twenty years. Growing up, the Olson’s house was on the opposite end of the block from mine. Dawn, the older of the two girls, is less than a year older than me but when we were younger it seemed like way more than that. My most vivid memory of Dawn is that she introduced me to “The Edge of Night” and soap operas in general. Heather is her younger sister. When we came to her house she told me that her memory of me was daring her to eat dog food in my basement. Talk about taking advantage of the little kids (can you say awful?). Their parents Florence and Tony look the same to me as they did twenty years ago.
Then there we all were, these older and different but the same people we had been twenty years ago. My son immediately took to Heather’s two kids and they were inside and outside and running around all over the place. When we left my son told me that he wanted to sleep over there. We all just sat around and chatted about the old neighborhood, kids and what was going on in our lives. It was a very pleasant visit. It was one of those times that it was easy to see the benefits of Facebook to re-establish lost contacts. Contact that would have been gone forever.
When I got home Florence sent me an email asking if I knew that she was my godmother. I did not. My mom didn’t even remember. Florence said that she thought of me on my birthday and if there was ever anything she could do for me, I should just ask. I was touched beyond belief. This person to who I was just a memory; reaching out to me in this way. Thinking about it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and I like it. Today a relative asked me if I was antisocial and I think the answer might be yes. So the widening of my NY circle with my old neighbors was definitely out of my personal comfort zone but I am so glad that we did it. That we all swallowed that fear, that fear of the unknown, and met for real. My NY circle has gotten a big larger and I am extremely thankful for it. An unexpected bonus to the extended trip here.