posted Tue, 07 Jun 2005
Let me explain why it is such a big deal to me to see a friend from high school.
Except for my relatives, I have no connection to my past before a few high school friends. Military brats lose their history every time they move. Between kindergarten and my senior year of high school, I went to ten different schools. In fifth grade, I changed schools three times.
I don’t keep in touch with a single friend from before high school – not because I don’t want to, mind you – but because you lose track of people. Youngsters, there was a time when it was really hard to keep up with people. Yes, there was an era when you couldn’t just google someone. I could google friends from back then now, but their names have changed.
I don’t even have the luxury of returning to a place to learn how the story ended. If I returned to Torrejon Air Force Base in Spain, no one who was living there when I was a kid would be there now. (Not to mention I think it is now the property of Spain’s Air Force.) I can’t go back to a hometown and find the parents of my second-grade classmates.
So I have been burning the candle at both ends to see as much of Joan and her family as possible. I met them for dinner on Sunday, had them over to my house last night and will see them again tonight.
Joan and her husband Steve have two really cute little girls: Jordan, who is seven, and Jillian, four. After dinner last night, we were sitting on the front porch eating watermelon. Jordan asked me in her melodious, lilting voice, “Miss Class Factotum, do you have any chores for us to do?”
Just to tease her, I said, “You see that pile of grass on the sidewalk there? I need it moved to the compost heap in the back yard.” It was the grass I had dug out of the flowerbed on Saturday.
“OK!” she said brightly and jumped out of the swing.
Not to be outdone, Jillian scrambled out of the swing and grabbed her shoes. They marched out to the pile and started carrying the grass, handful by handful, into the back.
Steve took pity on them and got the wheelbarrow and the shovel and took care of most of it.
When they finished, they asked for the next project.
“Well,” I said thoughtfully. “My car needs to be vacuumed and cleaned.”
“OK!” they said enthusiastically and jumped to the task as soon as I got the dustbuster and some rags.
“You’re doing a great job!” I praised them.
“I’m only four!” Jillian boasted.
“Most four-year-olds can’t do this caliber of work,” I told her.
“And I used to be three!” she said.
When they finished the car, they asked for the next project.
“I need a new roof,” I mused.
Jordan’s face fell. “We don’t know how to do that yet,” she said.