Friday, May 23, 2014

Old School Friends

It is hard to put into words the experience of moving to a new country as a teenager. There are so frequently times when I am with my peers and friends now when things from childhood are brought up and I have no idea what they are talking about. There are also times I try explaining parts of my childhood to my friends or even Mike and my children, and they have no reference point to understand my story or experience.

So it was quite joyous to sit down in a pub on the evening of my first day in England with 2 friends from "elementary" school and talk about things we all could relate to from our childhood!We attended Cheam Park Farm Infant and Junior school together for many years. Our classes stayed the same from 2nd-6th grade, and so the friendships formed were fairly consistent over the school years.

Of course we all went our different ways, but with Facebook, I reconnected with many of these friends several years ago and I have loved Facebook for that very reason since I joined in 2008! Two of my favorite Facebook friends from my younger days are Wayne Boys and Clair Layton. I had not seen Wayne since July 1986 when we left the junior school to start "high school". I did see Clair during a visit to England in 1991, but that's still a long time ago!

When I walked into the pub and saw those two standing there, I think I almost ran into their arms! Oh my goodness! I wish more of the "old gang" could have come, but these two were a delight to be with!

We sat around that table talking about just about everything! There was NEVER an awkward moment of "What shall we talk about?" or "What do we have in common?" My life is as different as night and day from their daily lives, but our childhood commonalities have united us in a way that brings tears to my eyes just thinking about.
(Wayne, Tiffany, Clair)

For all the slack social media gets, I love that Facebook has reconnected me with so many people I would otherwise have absolutely no contact with, especially old friends from England.

After Cheam Park Farm Junior school, I attended Nonsuch High School. (I left towards the end of the 2nd year/@8th grade.) For several years now, I have been friends on Facebook with a friend Anne (Dinsdale) from my Nonsuch. I wasn't quite sure if we really would meet up while I was in England, but I did mention to her that I would be there. She immediately replied that she would love to meet up with me, and a few days later she sent me an invitation to join her on an Afternoon Tea Bus Tour. She insisted on treating me to such an extravagance. Tuesday afternoon, as I sat at the base of the London Eye to meet her (having not seen her since March of 1988), I could not believe I was there having this opportunity. Sometimes, my life in England seems like it wasn't really real because of the stark contrast to the life I have now and the experiences of my children's schooling. (It's very hard to explain, I'm not going to try.)

Anne and I spent just about 2 hours together, and it was a definite treat to reminisce about some fond memories of my time at Nonsuch, although for the most part, my time and experience at Nonsuch was anything but fond. (Which is interesting to note, Anne said that not long after I left, dynamics, attitudes and behaviors really changed there. (Not anything to do with me leaving, simply the timing of it.) I have found myself several times since returning home from my trip to England, filled with a tremendous amount of gratitude that I didn't have to attend that school for any longer than I did.)

It is hard for me to look at this photo and really think that I had a whole different life from my life now. Yet from the wonders of Facebook, I feel as though I have a "new friend" when really, she is an old friend. Our lives are very different. She is very intelligent,  has a fancy job, and 2 young children (and a husband) living in a London zip code. I have little intelligence, no fancy job, 5 children and enough animals in my backyard  that would make living in a London zip code impossible. Yet, we both have strong, opinionated minds, tender mother hearts, and I thoroughly enjoy my Facebook friendship with this friend.

Sorry-I got off subject--back to the Bus Ride...


A perfect way to spend a sunny London afternoon.
Much obliged Anne. Thank you.


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