Good Ol’ Days

     Some people are pretty dubious about social media–Facebook, Twitter, MySpace–but I’m a fan. I usually have to listen to snarky little remarks from my husband about how the only way to find out anything about anyone is to read it on Facebook, but I don’t care. He puts up with quite a bit of snarky from me, too.

     One of the biggest benefits for me personally is that I get to talk to friends (and family!) that I otherwise wouldn’t. Just a few days ago, for example, the brother of one of my best friends in elementary school sent me a friend request, and long story short, I have now chatted with my two very best childhood friends.  It seems like a small thing, but it makes me very happy.

     To my kids, I’m a fossil. In their minds, I caught a ride to the one-room schoolhouse in the back of a covered wagon and did my homework at night by the light of a lantern.  The thought of me actually having friends and playing and having sleepovers is almost unimaginable to them.  However, though I’m much older now than I was then, I’m not so old that I can’t remember those times, and I remember them fondly. I’m sure everything wasn’t perfect, but through the lens of time, the bad stuff sort of fades away, and only the good things really matter.

     Were those the best times of my life? Great question. I don’t think they were. I think now is the best time–when my kids are still small and growing up around me. Seeing them laugh and grow and change and learn, that makes this the best time. I will make one concession, though. Those were by far the easiest times of my life. Now, when I was actually living those moments, I’m sure I thought they were anything but easy. All kids think their lives are incredibly difficult. I know my son is especially prone to this mentality. And I try very hard to be understanding and not make light of his problems, because I DO remember what it was like to be that young.

     For example, I moved away from my childhood home when I was very young. I left the only home I had known, and the kids I had literally grown up beside. I was devastated. I declared I would die, that I hated the new home, hated the new kids, all of the typical childhood angst. The truth is, I don’t know if I ever did have any friends as good as those I had when I was a little kid. It seems to me like friendship is something that isn’t as important as it used to be. Allow me an old person moment to say that kids these days just don’t make and keep friends the way we used to. I think being a good friend means being unselfish and loving someone more than yourself, and I think as a society in general, we suck at that.

     I have a couple of very good friends now that I love very much. I’m very thankful for them. But I do miss those days, and I miss my friends. Once I moved away, it was never the same. The area I moved to is a very rural area, and very different from the one I left. If you’re not from here, you are never from here. Even though I am slowly creeping up on the thirty year mark of living in not only the same area, but the same house, I am still an outsider. My views and beliefs are always just a little to the right or the left of most of the community. Another interesting point–my very best friends are not “from here” either, in the same sense that I am not “from here.”

     Where I grew up, I belonged. We were all coal camp kids, our dads all worked for the same company, we all lived right around each other, we all just fit together. All of that is gone now, even the school where we spent our earliest years. Those kids? They’re gone, too. They grew up, and got jobs, and had kids, and left behind the “easy” of childhood.  But the memories of those kids are there, and in my heart they’ll be little kids forever.

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