Whatever happened to …

… those lifelong friends?

It was a friend request on Facebook that got me thinking about this.  The friend?  The two of us were great friends in high school and shared an apartment during my second year of university.  We were pretty much inseparable for the longest of times and I thought that it would always stay that way.

As you can imagine, it didn’t.  Jobs took us in different directions.  Throughout university, many more friends were made.  Similarly, they were only transient as well.  But they were everything at the time.

On my bookshelf, I have this …


The directory is impressive, listing everyone along with addresses.

As I always do with these things, I flipped to myself and saw the address listed.  Hmm.  Since then, I’ve lived at six different addresses.  Along the way, I’ve made great new friends and, now that I think about it, have lost contact with so many more.

If one of my old university friends tried to track me down using this paper directory, they’d never be able to do it.  For nostalgia sake, I fired up Google Maps and dropped to Streetview and looked for the places that I’ve lived.  A couple look just the same, a couple have been re-sided, and one has been torn down.

The notion of a paper university alumni directory certainly is certainly a dated one.  The University of Waterloo, not surprisingly, has gone online.  But the concept of alumni doesn’t really stop there.  I took an education program at Toronto and additional qualifications courses at Windsor and Western.  I don’t think that it’s unfair to say “moving target”.

Then, as an educator, you can become an alumni of schools that you taught at.  I’ve had former students reach out to let me know what they’re doing now – as a teacher, there’s no better feeling.  I was also invited to join an alumni group on Facebook.  Just clicking the list of members brings back memories of classes.  I feel good knowing that it’s sometimes difficult to think about the actual academic content but very easy to remember things about specific people.

How about you?

  • Do you belong to an Alumni association at your university or a school where you’ve taught?
  • Do you stay in touch with former students?
  • Have you ever had a person who was going to be a lifelong friend only to find that you drifted apart?
  • Do you use social media in an attempt to reach out to friends from the past?

It’s been an interesting activity writing and thinking about this.  I hope that it was for you too.  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Do you have an idea or thought that would be appropriate for my “Whatever happened to … ” series of blog posts?

Please visit this Padlet and add your idea.  I’d love for it to be an inspiration for a post!

Author: dougpete

The content of this blog is generated by whatever strikes my fancy at any given point. It might be computers, weather, political, or something else in nature. I experiment and comment a lot on things so don't take anything here too seriously; I might change my mind a day later but what you read is my thought and opinion at the time I wrote it! My personal website is at: http://www.dougpeterson.ca Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dougpete I'm bookmarking things at: http://www.diigo.com/user/dougpete

15 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …”

  1. Hi Doug!

    Where do you get all these amazing ideas? I love your blog posts!

    Well, I’ll tell you a story that just came to mind as soon as I read this post…when I was born, I had a few issues and the nurse that took care of me at Etobicoke General Hospital and my mom became friends – that amazing lady of a nurse checked in on me for months after that, and that’s how the two women became closer. They became pretty much inseparable and all, and kept in touch even when we moved to Greece. They kept writing to each other, sending cards on birthdays and Christmas, calling each other once in a while because it was way too expensive before all this technology appeared that you can make calls for free…then something happened, we moved, she moved, my mom and her friend lost each other. One summer I was in Greece after I moved to Switzerland, my mom had found a box of mementos and was wondering what had happened to her friend.

    Without my mom knowing, I looked for her friend online and I combed and combed through lists of ladies with the same name, tried to find photos of each one that I thought was close to mom’s friend, and I couldn’t believe it when I found her. She looked like an older, but still beautiful version of the lady who had helped me live a healthy life and was my mama’s good friend. I found her email address and wrote to her – the next thing I knew, she had answered and had emailed my mom too!

    They are now in touch again and have even FaceTimed a bunch of times : )

    Have a great Sunday,

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes to all four questions! Facebook has meant reconnecting with friends from various schools I attended and have worked at. I do keep in touch with some former students. One day there was a new student in the classroom next door. He looked really familiar, so I asked to be introduced. When he told me his name, I asked is your Mom, “Mandy’? And it was. I had taught his Mom my first year of teaching in a school 45 minutes away from where I am now. A few days later she came in for a visit. So, social media is great, but sometimes fate makes those reconnects for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ramona, that’s an awesome story. It’s one that I can’t repeat since I didn’t have the chance to teach different generations.


  4. Many many thanks, Doug! It’s amazing what we can do today with technology. Like us two – we have never met in person, but have collaborated and communicated in so many ways!

    Thank you for your great posts!


  5. As time goes by, some of us have become active in organizing Anniversary events. 2015 was our 50th Anniversary for High School, 2017 was our 50th Anniversary for Founding of ZTA (ladies fraternity) at Rider University. Both of these events brought friends and classmates back together. The best outcome was renewed friendships. We are continuing them by Lunches at Local Restaurant every other month for High School Friends. Both groups have Facebook presences, but some of these folks are not computer savvy and facebook is NOT there thing. A plain old googlegroup seems to work better for most. Some are just more comfortable with a phone call to be informed when the next get together occurs. Only 4 of the founding members made it to ZTA Anniversary on October 28, but we are communicating with many more that could not make the trip.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you for sharing about the anniversary, Arta. A 50th anniversary is a big milestone and its wonderful that people still maintain their connections after all that time.


  7. I love this topic of life-long friends! I don’t know if this friend of mine can count, as I met him in my second year of university (his first), and we’ve been best friends ever since. That’s going on 20 years now. Makes me feel old! 🙂 Our communication methods have changed though. We used to only phone to talk, and now use technology and monthly get-togethers instead. I will say that this kind of strong friendship really took time and effort from both of us to make it work. I still keep in touch with another friend of mine from university, but we speak and write less than we did in the past. He lives in Ottawa with his wife and children, and the further distance makes getting together harder. When we do meet up though, it’s like that time apart never happened. Strangely enough, Twitter actually connected us back together, and we now communicate far more through social media than we did before. I’m sure that changes in life impact on some of these longer friendships, but it is nice to have a few people that have withstood the test of time. Excited to read other people’s stories. Thanks again for a trip down memory lane!


    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for your comment, Aviva. You’ve got my wondering as you always do – were the ties stronger among those who make the effort to stay connected?


  9. Hi Doug
    A group of 20 or so high school friends (I`ve never actually counted how many of us show up) have continued to meet about twice a year since high school. We have potlucks or meet for breakfast. We`ve managed to stay in touch for over 40 years. I have lost touch with my university roommate, though. I wish I could reconnect with her.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That’s wonderful, Teresa. I’ve moved a long way away from my high school so those connections aren’t going to happen here. We do try to connect when we visit our home town though. Sadly, many of them have also moved away.


  11. I just went to the Stuy07 reunion last night. Wrote it up here: http://cestlaz.github.io/posts/reunion-season

    I keep in touch with many students. Mostly through individual emails and a mailing list I maintain (1000+ members 🙂 and yes, Facebeook.

    on the other hand, Stuyvesant’s actual AA is such a mess I wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot pole. The dysfunction is the subject of newspaper articles every couple of years.

    I’ve written a few times about the alumni community we’ve built and how it’s such an important part of a teacher’s career (at least mine).


    Liked by 1 person

  12. Circumstances might make my reply a bit different. I’ve kept in touch loosely with two high school friends who live in a land far-far away – at first, the contact was through snail-mail, then through social media. Through the wondrous experience of undergrad, I forged and have maintained a close relationship with a friend who lives in a land far-far away. I am blessed to still have close connections with pals I first taught with in a land far-far away. I was welcomed into friendships with amazing people soon after we settled in Canada…and I am still close to them. As neither my husband or I, except for our amazing two children and our grandgems, have any biological family in Canada, we are very fortunate that these pals have become our ‘logical’ (I can’t recall who first coined this word) family in Canada. I am very grateful for each and every one of my pals – I value them as gifts from the celestial heights.

    Liked by 1 person

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