Several years ago, back when I still used to do chat rooms, I said something to one of my chat room friends about my brother. She replied, “It’s weird to me to think that you have a family.” I asked why, and she said something about how she doesn’t know any of my family, and it’s like I just came out of nowhere.
I’m still not sure exactly what she meant by that, and I know she didn’t mean it as an insult. But she does have a point. Most of my closest friends now don’t know my family, although my brother has come to a couple of my birthday parties and 20th Century Video Game Nights. I definitely have a family, though. I’m not one of those bad-ass superheroes with dead parents, like Batman or Spider-Man or Kinsey Millhone. My parents are very much alive, and they raised me. I didn’t come out of nowhere.
But for a long time, I have felt that something similar was missing: childhood friends. I don’t have that lifelong friend whom I’ve been close with since kindergarten. In elementary school, I was the kid who constantly got picked on, and my attempts to fit in were met with ridicule and rejection. I started making friends as a teenager, but once I graduated from high school and moved away, I would only hear from them sporadically, or not at all.
A few days ago, those of you who are my friends on Facebook may have seen a picture I was tagged in, a group photo of a bunch of kids with bad 80s haircuts wearing San Francisco Giants gear. The picture, taken in October 1989, was from my 8th grade yearbook. That was also the year that the Giants played (and lost to) the Oakland Athletics in the World Series. Since those two teams are the closest to the school, we did group pictures of fans of each team. And now, 25 years later, someone scanned that page from the yearbook, pointing out that we’d been Giants fans for a long time. Similarly to the stories I told last month about my class reunion, this was a guy I had had a couple of classes with at one point, but we didn’t really run in the same circles later on in life. Yet he still thought to tag me.
I hear friends talking about their childhood friends that they still spend a lot of time with, and sometimes I feel like that was something I missed out on. Pretty much all the people I hang out with these days are considerably younger than me, and I feel like I’ve always been an adult as far as they’re concerned. It’s like I came out of nowhere, like that one friend told me once. But I have a past. I had a childhood, I had teen years, and thanks to Facebook and the recent reunion, I feel a little more connected to my past than I have in a while. I really should stay more connected with my past.