Random ramblings of a mind damaged by years of disuse and abuse. Also a place to go to be bored to tears.
The Random Cartoon
Words to live by...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."
(The right to looseness has been officially given)
By the way... there's a crossword at the bottom of this page
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Conversational Walks Down Memory Lane
Last evening, Faye and I met with some friends we knew while we lived in Manassas, VA. Actually, I knew Rick from a period where I was going through some extensive training for my job back in 1977. Ellen, his wife, came into the picture later.
We met at a class in Baltimore and hit it off immediately. Not sure why, exactly, but we just "clicked". The training took place over a period of close to 6 months and involved traveling to Chicago, Columbus (OH), and Atlanta. For much of that time, we lived out of suitcases and in motels and hotels of varying quality and learned the ins and outs of air travel as we were fed knowledge about the Phone Company's latest and greatest long distance switching system.
We had a number of adventures during that half year, Rick and I, most of which involved alcohol and a willingness to flout rules of conduct. We challenged and dared each other, we played a lot of golf, we disrupted our training classes as much as humanly possible without getting fired, and prowled a lot of bars. We bonded as friends.
When the training ended, we continued our friendship. I visited him in Richmond a few times, he visited me in San Diego once. We kept in touch by phone, there being no internet in those days. Over the years, our individual lives changed, in similar ways. Rick met Ellen and divorced his first wife. I separated from my first wife, met Faye while in a 4 year journey to divorce and finally married her. Rick and Ellen lived in Richmond, Va., and helped with my transition when I transferred out to Virginia in 1986. We started to lose contact when I transferred down to Jacksonville in February of 1988.
We lost most contact (though it had dwindled to Christmas cards already) by the time Rick and Ellen moved to the Bay Area (San Francisco, Ca) in the late 90's. We would get those canned form letters each Christmas (transformed later into emails) which were mass-mailed, it seems. Rick had retired early from AT&T when Ellen got that job in San Francisco and they moved to Baja, Mexico, when she retired a couple of years ago.
So, here we were some 23 years later. We did the usual ritual that humans do... we gathered around food and drink. We chatted about old times, we brought each other up to date on our lives, we spoke about our respective towns, about old friends we'd known who had passed away.
And drank a bit. But not nearly so much as we once did. We told each other we hadn't changed... much... just grayer and Rick was balding a bit (but not that much). The truth was suppressed. Things we used to talk about, like politics, were avoided. But now we talked about cholesterol levels, diet, and exercise. Those were never subjects of our youth. We talked about parents who have passed away or are approaching those assisted living years. We talked about children who are approaching, or arriving in, middle age. We bragged about grandchildren (well, I did anyway).
We've become our parents.
Still, we made tentative plans to meet again sometime, to visit Rick and Ellen in Mexico (maybe next year), to have them visit us the next time they come to Tampa... all plans which may never play out.