I tried to explain to E. why I started using Facebook. Staying in touch with old friends is more important when you move to a place where you don’t know anyone. The only person in my town that I knew from before was my husband’s aunt, whom I’d met approximately twice. I’m good at making new friends, but it’s tough when no one knows your history, your family, or your childhood home. You can’t explain all that in a few minutes so people end up with misconceptions about you. As you build close relationships over the years this becomes less important, but it’s still an issue.
Another reason for keeping contact with old friends is that since my mother died 19 years ago, I’m curious about other people’s perspectives on her. My mother was a complex, intensely shy person. I don’t quiz my elementary school friends for their memories, but it’s comforting to have contact with people who knew her. Of course, the two reasons are related, because I don’t have anyone to report news about old friends. (“You’ll never guess who I ran into the other day. . .”)
Suddenly E. thought of something. “Your mother liked to crochet, right?” I was bewildered. “Yes, how do you know?” E. and I grew up in different cities. E. continued, “The first time I met you at camp, you were wearing a crocheted bathing suit. It was green.” This does ring a bell. My friend continued, “That bathing suit was the reason I noticed you. It was interesting, and made you stand out from the other girls. I remember thinking how lucky you were to have a mother who would make you such an original, creative outfit.”
Memories flooded back. My mother loved Women’s Day and Family Circle magazines and them for craft ideas. No doubt the bathing suit idea came from there. I still have a crocheted vest, and a stuffed cat made out of an old sock (pictured).
Whenever I speak to E. she reminds me how much my suggestions helped her at a difficult time in her life. E., it’s my turn to thank you.