Back in 2009 I had the crazy idea to attend my 20th high school reunion. If you knew me, you’d understand how crazy that idea really was. High school wasn’t my best time. Truth is, I think high school is rarely anyone’s best time. For a few people, yes, it probably was the time of their lives. I suppose those are the people who organize high school reunions.
For me, however, high school was something to endure. I had my eye on the door from my sophomore year — I wanted to get through those years as quickly as possible so my real life could start.
I skipped my 10th reunion without a second thought. As my 20th reunion approached, and the advent of MySpace and Facebook brought me in touch with some old friends, I started to consider the possibility of actually going. What can I say — I was in a nostaglic mood. I had left my hometown soon after high school graduation and only infrequently returned in the 20 years that passed. But between the 10th and 20th reunion, I had experienced some major life changes. In particular, I had two children.
These children were the main motivator. Not because I wanted to show them off. (I didn’t bring them, BTW. Thanks, Nana and Grandpa!) But having children was the life event that made me want to understand my childhood and youth. I was deep in a search for who I was and why I did the things that I did.
What better way to start than a high school reunion, all planned and ready for me.
I also went because I didn’t want to regret not going. I didn’t want to be 72 years old and say to myself, “Why didn’t I ever go to a high school reunion?” I felt on some level that a high school reunion is a life event that should be experienced at least once in a lifetime. Like traveling to a foreign country or going skinny dipping.
So I went. And I realized what a surreal thing it is to catch up with people you hadn’t seen in decades.
After I came home and had some time to process the events, The Facebook Friend was born. In part, it was a reflection of Facebook’s ability to bring you back in touch with people from different eras of your life. It also acknowledges that some elements of social media are less desirable — because sometimes there’s a reason you lost touch in the first place.
While the people and events in The Facebook Friend are completely fictionalized, the events are based somewhat on stories that I’ve heard or things that happened to me. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.