Thursday, June 16, 2011
Old Friends, New Conversations
Last night the kids and I drove up to my parents' house for dessert. They had old friends visiting, from my New Jersey childhood. The kids had fun breaking in Grandma's new firepit by making s'mores, and I had fun catching up on the news of what their kids are up to these days.
Their son Jeff was my best friend in elementary school, mostly because he lived right across the street but also because we got along so well... at least until the other boys told him he shouldn't play with girls because he'd catch cooties or something. Silly boys. Jeff just got married last weekend and while they didn't have wedding pictures to share just yet, they did have photos of the happy couple, and of their older son's children - their grandchildren.
It was a fun visit, and my oldest son (who had been grumbling on the entire drive north) told me "Well, they're really nice people. I'm glad we came."
I think my son was expecting a lot of "Remember when..." and stories about me as a kid. He was expecting to feel left out.
Instead, the conversation stayed current, and they asked the kids lots of questions about themselves and school and sports and the upcoming concert this weekend... there was a little reminiscing and comparing my middle son's running ability to their middle son's running ability (and he ended up with a Cross Country scholarship to college and is now a doctor...) But the conversation was mostly in the present.
It seems like I've been getting back in touch with lots of old friends lately, some in person some via social media. One of my college roommates and I "hooked up" via LinkedIn recently. She came to the Cape during her vacation last week, and we got together for a long walk on the beach followed by lunch at an outdoor restaurant overlooking one of Harwich's five harbors.
I hadn't seen her in 24 years, and yet after an initial awkward period, we were chatting and catching up like the old friends that we are, talking about jobs and houses and kids. We talked very little about our shared history - we were both there, after all. I was more interested in what's happened to her since the last time I saw her.
I'm not saying there isn't a time and place to relive the glory days. But sometimes it's fun to stay in the present and just catch up.
When you get together with old friends, do you spend more time reminiscing or swapping stories of current events?
Who is the one person from your past that you'd like to catch up with today?