Monday, March 24, 2008

Reaching out to old friends

I mentioned the other day that one of the sad parts of putting together a class reunion was in figuring out the "in memorium" piece. My class lost another classmate yesterday. I'm not going to mention his name because nothing has been in the paper yet. This classmate lived 2 doors down from my sister, so she lived through the craziness. This guy and I were friends at one point, mainly our freshman year. I went to homecoming with him as a sophomore. For him, it was a date. For me, it was going to homecoming with my buddy. The evening didn't go well, and our relationship grew very awkward. It took the remainder of high school for us to get back on an even keel. This has long been one of the few regrets I have in life.

Over the past couple of years following some health scares (one mine, others my parents'), I've actively sought out old friends from my grade school and college years. My grade school friends and I drifted apart largely because everyone spread out from our Detroit neighborhood during the urban exodus of the early '70's. (We watched the national guard roll down the street during the '68 riots--our parents hung out longer than most!). These folks are largely the reason why I am the way I am. Of those I've managed to track down, all are highly successful in their careers and lives in general. If I win the lottery, we're having an 8th grade class reunion. (or if they read this, maybe we can figure out a way anyhow).

My high school friends I see regularly since many of us are still in town. I get the opportunity to tell them how much I appreciate all they've meant to me.

My college friends are all over. I've found a couple of old roommates and a couple of my drinking buddies. We were too busy living life to tell each other we cared way back when. So now I'm telling them. I'm also mending fences where needed. One of my best friends from college and I parted on less than stellar terms--another one of my major regrets. After looking for 10 years, we've reconnected and I hope this friend will be in my life forever. If not, they know I care.

The lesson today: tell the people who matter they matter NOW. Don't have regrets. Fix those you can. Hug your kids. Tell your parents you love them.

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