Monday, December 31, 2007

Mobility and Continuity

When I told my daughter I'd been located by a classmate via Google, she shuddered. "Remind me not to put my maiden name on things the way you do, Mom. There are lots of people I don't want to be found by."

At 27, my daughter lives in the Cincinnati area, where she grew up, attended college, and married. Former classmates are all around, and she does not care see some of them. During the years I lived in New York, I too drifted away from many of my classmates. I didn't think much about it at the time-- I was getting on with my life. Later, I spent nearly thirty years in Cincinnati, and I've been here another five. At times, both Cincinnati and Johnson City seemed almost different from the Brooklyn of my girlhood as Nanjing or Weihai.

Therefore, it is a wonderful thing when I encounter a former classmate. If I was close with the person previously, as I was with Marnie Mahoney, we may find we have much in common. Even if we don't, it's fun to chat for awhile. Those with whom we grew up occupy a special place in our identity, in our sense of self. How can I explain to people in East Tennessee what it was like to attend a high school with over 5,000 students?

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