Saturday, August 08, 2009

In praise of Facebook

When I was 11 (in the 6th grade) my family moved from Shaker Heights, OH (a suburb of Cleveland) to Carmel, IN (a suburb of Indianapolis). Since this was the first move that I was old enough to remember (we had moved a few times since I had been born but had been in Shaker since I was about 2) this was a cool, fun, and exciting adventure. I hated leaving my best friend, Liz, behind but how cool is it to have a pen pal? We wrote back and forth frequently and stayed in touch.

A year and a half later we moved again. This time to Opelika, AL (next to Auburn). The girlfriends,Kim and Carol, that I had made in Indiana were't much for letter writing and it didn't take long for us to lose track of each other. My best friend and next door neighbor, Mike, was killed in an accident riding his skateboard along a busy road about a year later. After that, I really had no ties to the place. But Liz and I continued to write.

In Opelika I made friends with another Kim (whose birthday just happened to be the same as Liz's and one day after mine--kinda strange). I also discovered boys while we lived down south but that is a whole different post alltogether (but I am still a sucker for a man with a southern accent). Anyway, we lived there for three years and Kim and I were thick as thieves. I don't remember when Liz and I stopped writing. I think the time in between each of our letters just got longer and longer until we didn't notice that they weren't there anymore. By this time it was highschool and we were all so busy.

In the summer before my Junior year we moved back to Shaker. Of course by now it had been five years since we left. Five years doesn't sound like much but when you leave as an 11 year old and come back as a 16 year old there is a world of difference.

I don't remember what was said between myself and Liz but it wasn't much. The highschool is huge and classes were hard. We never really reconnected. Instead, I became friends with Rashmi. Her mom was Dutch and her father is Indian. She was and still is one of the most gorgeous women I have ever known and she either didn't know it and or didn't care. Our greatest mutual love was horses. Just as our friendship was forming I found out that we would be moving again. We were only there for six months.

Now, all of these moves were employement/career driven. My father worked in marketing at True Temper in Cleveland. I don't know what sparked the move to Indianapolis but he was then working for thw Blue Luster Company (a member of the Liggitt Group). The move to Alabama was a transfer within the Liggitt Group to a company called Diversified Products. Unfortunately, they did not end up doing whatever it was in marketing that my Dad had expected and he quickly grew bored and dissatisfied. When he started to get his name back out there as available (where is this place and can I put my name in?) He got a call from True Temper. They wanted him back. That's how/why we moved back to Shaker. That summer as my parents moved us to Shaker (and we were all away at summer camp) True Temper decided to move their corporate headquarters from Cleveland to Shiremanstown, PA to be closer to their manufacturing facility. A handfull of middle management (my Dad included) was asked to make the move and it meant a promotion. So we ended up in Harrisburg, PA.

Kim and I were keeping in touch and Rashmi and I wrote also. This was of course back in the stone age before PC's. Before cell phones or i-pods. Before laptops. And, before crackberries (I mean blackberry) like the one I am using to post this. So, while I have always been a champ at talking on the phone (especially late at night) I was never very good at writing letters and back then, long distance was expensive. So, I lost track of the boys in my life completely at that point. That Rashmi and Kim managed to stay in my life is a testament to their tenacity, not mine.

I write all this now for two reasons. First, I have reconnected with Liz (and a few other people who were/are special to me but lost for years) and Kim, and Rashmi through the wonderful invention that is Facebook. If you don't already use it, I recomend it highly. And secondly, while I still live in Harrisburg and don't forsee any sort of move in the near future, I am about to "move away from" some of my closest friends.

It has already started. Ron, and Heather (who coincidentally both have the same birthday as my son Max) don't deliver to the warehouse anymore. Paul doesn't swing by every few days in that huge white Volvo truck anymore. I can't tell time by Mike showing up at 4 in the morning anymore. How do I know it is Tuesday when Greg and Gene and Bubba and Mike aren't around? These are just a handfull of the driver's I became friends with whom I miss so much. I have their phone numbers but it's not the same.

Two weeks ago Steve, Barry, Jim, and Ken were offered "early outs" and jumped at the chance. I miss them all.

So, for the next week Pete, Denny, Chris, Mike, Scott, Kevin, Gary, Ray, Luke, and I will still be together. Luke works for the lumping company and will be done in our department on Wednesday. Ray works in inventory control and won't be done until September. Gary has all but begged for a job at the warehouse in Lancaster and they finally threw him a bone and offered him something a couple of days ago. But in typical Gary fashion he's making more out of it than I'm sure it is by being secretive about what possition it is--like any of us care at this point. Sad thing is that while he was begging for a job there all I would have had to do is say yes. My former boss was begging ME. But that is not something or someplace I want to be or be doing.

So, that leaves me and the 6 boys. I call them boys because very few men ever really grow up. As they get bigger so do their toys. But in reality, the youngest of these guys is Scotty who just turned 42 last week. Kevin and I are next. I turned 44 this past Thursday and am 13 days older than Kev. Pete will turn 46 this coming Wednesday (a week before Kev's birthday). The ages go up from there and I don't know the particulars but I still call them all boys.

So, this Friday is the end for the other 7 of us. We plan on going to a little local dive (that has great food and opens at 9 in the morning) for a couple of farewell drinks. The 4 that already left are coming too so it should be quite a party! I even think some other guys from other departments will be joining us and Steve might bring his wife, Brenda.

In case you couldn't tell I am closer to Pete, Kevin, and Scott than the others who are still here. But Steve and Pete have been my closest confidents for the past two years. I have been closer to Pete and spent more time with him than anyone else. And he tells me yesterday that after Friday we'll probably never see each other again.

WHAT?? He says he won't be driving to Harrisburg anymore. I protest with the fact that I will be heading his way (he lives about 40 miles south of here) when I make a trip to the yarn shop. He says he is going to run and work out and other wise be a home body. I protested that we both have cell phones. He says he is not much of a phone person and now that he won't be driving to Harrisburg every day he might just get rid of his cell phone. I say, "I know where you live".

Gwen (Pete's wife), I appologize in advance for showing up on your doorstep. I don't know when it will happen but I do know that if the little boy you live with doesn't stop pouting abd being the biggest asshole I have ever had the misfortune to give a damn about, I will end up there. I am not about to lose the people I care about again without a fight.

Brenda, consider the above apology to be for you as well. But I have to give Steve credit for phone usage. Now, if the two of you could just learn to use the computer (or a smart phone) and get on facebook (and use it) we wouldn't have this problem.

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