Friday, December 9, 2011

Childhood Perceptions

Yesterday I received a strange message from a girl I went to elementary school with. I'm pretty sure I only knew her two or three years. I wouldn't really say that we were ever friends but I always thought she was very nice (albeit painfully shy) and when she found me on Facebook I was glad to accept and see where she went in life.  Then I was surprised to get this message.

Ok.. so... I'm sitting here and having one of my many sentimental reflective moments. And at times it takes me back to the time I lived in Illinois. A time that is dear to me... I never wanted to move to Ohio nor do I ever want to move back to Ohio (I'm currently living in Georgia) even tho all my family lives in either Ohio or Illinois. But that is beside the point. I got to thinking about why certain things stick in our memories better than others for some reason. For instance, I have ALWAYS remembered something mean that Stephen said to me in sixth grade (do you remember him?) And then I got to thinking about you... you always hung with the "cool" crowd yet you were never mean. I never forgot that about you. But I have to say that I always saw you as being the one to settle down in the city you grew up in and being married with 2.5 children and a white picket fence, you know what I mean? So I got to wondering, what brought you to New York? And are you happy? And if you are still reading this email than obviously I've kept your attention for this long so I do hope that you will respond and I hope that you arent totally caught off guard with this random email. I used to be pretty shy but in my old age (we are almost 30!!) I've realized that it doesnt really matter what you do, you only live once, right?!

What a sweet surprise, right? I'm completely shocked by her childhood perceptions of what those years were like and how they differ from mine. For instance, the Stephen she refers to was a very shy guy himself. I think he had an extremely difficult childhood. I recall him being very nice and awkward. I wonder what he could have possibly said that bothered her for the next twenty years?

I don't really recall being a part of a "cool group". I guess I didn't realize we had a cool group because we didn't have a whole lot of kids in the class. I was also pretty insecure myself. Now I'm wondering who was involved in this group and how it came to be. I'm so incredibly flattered that she thought of me as nice. I would like to think I was a nice kid. I hope I never said anything that tormented another child for twenty years. I know things were said to me but I've forgiven those people because children are stupid and that stuff happens. It's a learning process on how to grow into a decent human.

What on EARTH gave this girl the idea that I would be a mommy in a little city with white fences? What could I possibly have done to ever put that in her head? Truth be told, I think every other girl I knew from those years did exactly that. Maybe I was a follower? Gross. I'm so glad to be me.

I wonder, since I have the almighty Facebook at hand, if I should pay it forward? Perhaps I should write a message to some other random kid from that class with my perception of those years we knew each other. What do you think? How would you feel about being on the receiving end of such an out of the blue memory sharing moment?


I'm With Stupid said...

I wonder how many people get Facebook emails from people they went to school with who say "I remember you were a total a-hole and you don't appear to have changed at all."

Just me? Okay then ...

In all seriousness, this is pretty cool. And I did LOL at the settle down, get married, have 2.5 kids and be a housewife stuff. That's pretty crazy. ha


Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with paying it forward if it's to say kind things.
Of course, no one would have ever said I was part of a cool group...

Mike said...

This could get your acting career off the ground. Knight plays Barbara Billingsley playing Mrs. Cleaver in the new Leave it to Beaver.

LL said...

What an incredibly bizarre question for me to try and answer. First of all... I'm not on the book, nor do I have anyone from my class of 44 kids who would actually look me up to say something nice.

If you'll remember, the most asked question I got at my high school reunion was... "Now, who are you?" ;)

But... my dear Knight, if'n you thought of doing it... then something tells me you should.

Farmer*swife a/k/a Glass_Half_Full said...

This is really sweet. But, when I read the part about the picket fence and 2.5 kids it didn't sound like the 'you' I know and wondered if she had you mixed up with someone else.

Personally, if I haven't seen or spoken to you in 20 years I really don't care to go pick up where we left off. Obviously, our friendship didn't have durability. I have friends who I've known for 20 years and my live long friend I've known since she was four - That's like 30 years ago. My friends I've know for 20 years I see regularly. :-)

But, your idea of looking someone up and sending them a 'hey I remember you' message does sound kind of cool. And, it totally sounds like you.

Last -you? Insecure? No way. Never. You've got it going on and I just feel like you always have - even if you weren't aware of it. :-P

Dianne said...

I'd pay it forward, especially if you remember someone who you feel would like/need to hear some kindness

Elliot MacLeod-Michael said...

I probably wouldn't pay it forward to be honest. But then again I'm not the most friendly person, and I would probably feel awkward. But if it's something you feel moved to do, then I'd say go for it. If I did do it I would probably tell the person I thought of them as one of the "cool" kids. I wish someone would tell me they thought of me that way.

Dianne said...

I'm back and totally unrelated to this post

I'd put you in the top 5
yes I would :)
I can't believe we have such differing opinions of Jen A
that surprised me although I get where you're coming from

jack mehoff said...

there are people out there who at times take us off gaurd with their kindness. its sad isnt that we as a society look at this as strange behavior. i would take it for all it is, a random act of kindness that brightened your day.

nothing wrong with sending that feeling on down the line...

Reb said...

Go ahead and pay it fwd, it can't hurt (I assume you will be kind). lol
As for her perception, maybe she thought that you were the mothering kind, because you were in the cool group, but not mean?

Anonymous said...

I think this is awesome and you should totally respond to her than pay it forward. She's right about it not really mattering anymore if we reach out and say these things now - we're not in a tiny school where anyone's judgements can hurt us like when we were itty bitty grade schoolers. I am glad she was brave enough to write you!

Benjamin Brack said...

holy shit - this girl was a deep thinker in elementary school... how could she have seen into your future with kids and fences tho? Who even cares about that shit as a kid? Or maybe thats what little girls think about, i dont know. I prob was thinking about matchbox cars.
Memories do stick around forever i guess. I have certain ones too.
Perhaps you had an identical twin.. Maybe she's the one who got married, etc... If you do have a twin and she's divorced lemme know