Facebook and Memory Lane

Veronica Writes!

About a month ago, a thought popped into my head. What ever happened
to Tamera? Where did that gangly, sweet and truly unique little
girl with the pig tails and big glasses that I went to Junior
High with end up? What did she become?

We were the original Valley Girls. We hung out with boys who
skateboarded, went to the beach every weekend
and said “Like” and “You know” like, way too
much, you know? I wonder if she finds it ironic, as I do, when she
hears today’s college girls speaking like this, while most
of us old school Valley Girls don’t anymore? Actually, I’ve
managed to completely kill off the “likes,” but the “you
knows” keep sneaking in no matter how hard I’ve tried
to subdue them. I fear it will be my lifelong homage to my California
roots. Maybe I should just like, embrace it, you know?

I performed a quick scan of my life since Junior High, and wondered
if Tamera’s life paralleled mine at all.

Was she one of the “supermoms” that many of us, for better
or worse, became? Did she struggle to balance career and family?
Or did she become a career-first woman, living the life of “Sex
in the City” on Manhattan? Maybe, she is on the high seas chasing
down illegal whalers with Greenpeace. The more I thought about it,
the more I HAD to know.

my Facebook use was limited to keeping up with my daughters, 24
and 22, who were part of the site’s original college demographic.
When David and I left St. Croix to become gypsies, Facebook allowed
me to stay in touch with the island gang.

Soon, things blossomed a bit — people from my recent past found
me. Suddenly I was receiving friend requests from folks I had
known during our years in Nashville, students from the school
where I had worked — all in college now and scattered about the
country — even our buddies in Europe. I am now “Facebook
friends” with some of 24 & 22’s chums and even a
few of THEIR mothers, none of whom I’ve ever met face-to-face!
It’s a remarkable tool. (At this point, I must add a little
jab at The Boy, my 19-year-old college student, who STILL hasn’t
“friended” me. — I must remember to harass him a bit…
for my own enjoyment, of course.)

Now that I had become Facebook literate, it was a simple process
to see if Tamera was a Facebookite. To my delight, she was! I
sent her a friend request and while I waited with bated breath
for her reply, my mind wandered down memory lane…

Little incidents popped into my head. Like the time Tamera and
I stayed up until three in the morning doing a left-off-until-the-last-minute
history project — fashioning the Pyramids out of paper-mâché.
The details are unclear, but the next morning, one of us groggily
stumbled out of bed and smashed them flat! We turned in what had
to be the ugliest project in the history of man.

Back then, Monday mornings were spent with the gang recapping
and spoofing the hilarity of the last weekend’s Saturday
Night Live, brand new to the airwaves. When the Eagles released
“Hotel California,” it changed our lives. “Are
You There God, It’s Me Margaret” was THE book we discussed
while anxiously awaiting the onset of our first periods. We got
the lowdown on R-rated movies from the kids with the “cool
moms.” I experienced my first kiss, my first slow dance,
my first heartbreak. I learned to shave my legs and paint my nails.

As with most people, I suppose, Junior High was a defining moment
for me, a mixed up bundle of hopes and hormones. I was learning
who I was, and the kids around me were a big part of who I would
become. I learned through their action and inaction. We were a
small, tight knit group at a tiny private school. Ours was a family-style
dynamic. We didn’t always like each other, but woe to the
outsider who tried to put any of us down. Junior High gave me
my first glimpse into how I would fit into society.

Tamera turned out to be a beautiful, passionate supermom of two
— who just dropped her oldest off for her freshman year of college.
Our lives were eerily parallel in some ways, strikingly different
in others. “Stalking” each other on Facebook was so
much fun.

In the space
of a month, things have snowballed. Tamera is Facebook friends
with Jason, who I caught up with in an hour long Facebook chat.
Jason sent Mike, Tina and Tyrone my way. And so on.

Facebook walls are being written on: “Remember Christine?
What was Gary’s last name? Has anyone heard from Lisa?”

Dusty yearbooks are being cracked: “In seventh grade you
said you wanted to be a doctor. Are you a doctor?”

A reunion is already in the works. It’s incredible.

As a group, we are still a little society, a microcosm of the
world around us. We are academics, artists, doctors, lawyers,
studio heads (I am from California, remember) and peace officers.
Together we have raised a small town’s worth of children,
are happily married and happily single, are Republicans and Democrats,
have paunches and wrinkles and, most importantly, have a shared
past. And, sharing we are!

A few tips on getting started down Facebook Memory Lane:

when signing up for Facebook, include your maiden name as your
middle name. Explaining who you are all the time gets old — quick.
This also makes it easier for long lost pals when searching for

for someone and received multiple results? Let’s not kid
ourselves, at our age, NO ONE looks the same as they did in school.
You are not going to be able to tell who they are by their profile
picture. Unless they are using their 8th grade school photo. How
great would THAT be? The best way to ID someone is by stalking
their friends list. Chances are that you will see siblings or
parents on there.

you have made contact, stalk everyone’s friend list. See
who else is out there.

Send a little message along with your friend requests. If they
don’t recognize you, they aren’t going to “friend
you back.“ Sometimes people need their memories jarred.

Facebook “Groups” are another great way to find people.
My elementary school has a group. 24’s community dance troop has
a group. I bet you can find Boy Scout Troops, dorm floors — who
knows? I’m a hacker at heart and I love digging around. Start
by using the search box on the top of the page.

you’ve kept them, keep your yearbooks handy. Mine are packed
in a storage unit a thousand miles away due to our GypsyNester
lifestyle. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished
I could have something more than my memory to rely on during this
process! A small price to pay for the freedom of the road I guess.

that you have a little group together, be active. Post to their
walls, comment on their statuses. That’s when the REAL surprises
happen. As diligent as I was combing through friend lists, I missed
quite a few people. Why? The most common obstacle is not knowing
married names but one guy has an alias he uses just for fun. Another
guy uses a new last name because… he somehow got adopted after
high school? Has a stalker problem? Maybe he’s in the witness
protection program. Oh, I know, he must have married a rich widow
and decided to take HER name. By commenting, Facebook shows your
message to others and voila! someone recognizes your name. New

things a bit:

Facebook has a “find classmates” feature. From your
“Home”, click “Friends” on the top menu bar.
Once there, scroll down the page and click on “Find former
high school classmates.” There is also a feature for college
(no Junior High, unfortunately!).

To automate further, go to your profile page and add your high
school and/or college. On the top menu bar: “Profile”,
then “Edit My Profile” under your picture, then “Education
and Work.” This enables your old buddies to find you when
they use Facebook’s “Find Classmates” feature.

As an added plus, every time I connect with someone new, the old
ticker gets a little jolt. That has to be good for at us at our
age, like, you know?

Veronica, GypsyNester.com

Did you enjoy what you just read? Then you'll LOVE our book!
Going Gypsy: One Couple's Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All Going Gypsy One Couple's Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All 

GoingGypsyBook.com - See how it all began!
ORDER NOW - Wherever Books Are Sold!
Amazon - Barnes & Noble - IndieBound - Books-a-Million
Also available as an audiobook from Audible.com

5 thoughts on “Facebook and Memory Lane”

  1. I signed up for facebook because all the cousins were on there, otherwise I had absolutely no interest at all. Then my college friend “N” found me! We used to go to Motley Crue concerts together and would sit in the TV room for hours on most Saturday eves to reserve it for Headbangers Ball on Mtv! She came to my daughter’s graduation party. So glad we reconnected.

  2. We moved a lot when I was growing up and it’s been such a joy to open my Facebook page and find a request from a long lost childhood friend.

  3. I’ve re-connected with lots of people from my “past life” including my best friend from 4th grade! It’s been so much fun seeing what we all look like, what we’ve been up to in the last 40-50 years and what our lives are like now. What a hoot!

  4. FB has been a wonderful tool for me, since I’m at home with a disabling chronic illness. However, like most things, it can cut both ways: Let’s face it, we carry or create myths about the people we used to know but have lost touch with. I am talking about the ordinary psychological myths that we use to fill in the spaces, which we’re not usually aware of creating. Often these keep people frozen in time; sometimes we create fantasies about where their “marvelous lives” may have taken them. I have been briefly devastated by attitudes of certain folks; I have been pleasantly surprised at the depth of others. I think there are a handful of folks I may never seek out on FB; I think I prefer my own myths. Time will tell. I’ve also had to open up and be honest about the condition of my own life. It can feel very vulnerable — but I have discovered that I am not the only one (by far) whose life turned out far, far indeed, from what I had imagined. Who considers such things when signing up for something so seemingly benign? On balance — glad I’m there, but it can be a deeper experience (for good and ill) than one imagines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *