Pages of my life…

Well Connected…Heart to Heart

Posted on: November 24, 2009

After a lengthy reprieve from all things human…I made a command decision …and decided to plug myself in…to the world around me and all that involves.  With the ever growing abundance of social networking options at our fingertips…you either look like a dead battery…or a well charged machine …ready to roll.  It never ceases to amaze me…the many different aspects of any technical application…and all that can mean for those who chose to join in the game.  We are all players…like it or not …with masses on the sidelines… acknowledging our existence.  Not the least of these…is a well known site where classmates respond to roll calls from the past…hoping to learn who is present and who is absent.  Comments and stories are shared…seeking to make a heartfelt connection with the past.  I had joined in this networking venture for a short chunk of time…but the perpetual nipping at my heels and ever so deliberate nibbling on my purse strings persuaded me to stray.  I think many people made the same decision…as a new tactic seemed to have been deployed.  Suddenly…people had left me notes or simply signed in to say they were there…and with enough gentle persuasion and the implied guilt that comes with ignoring any visitor to your virtual doorway…I knuckled under to the social pressure and spent good money to renew my vested interest…only to learn it was people whose entry into the adult world transpired decades after mine…and the only tie we had in common was at some point in our life we had studied in the same location.  I felt scammed and wrote a scathing letter noting the same.  Shame on you…I thought…feeding on the conscience of good folks whose social graces would likely command they do the right thing… and acknowledge a greeting left in our name.  In retrospect…we need a new site for human "lost and found"…one whose walls do not let strangers in…but afford the searching party to post the name of their "lost one" and their information for contacting in return.  I understand the need for monetary gain…as we all have bills to pay…but I only admire subtle attempts to raise such funding.  I respect the way ABC addresses such a venture… as the online episode option for popular television shows offers up a small window with a short attention span for commercial acknowledgment of sponsors.  If you choose to hurry the process along…you may…and often I enjoy the ad content well enough to watch it again. This is in complete contrast to some of the news affiliates blasting you out of your silent realm by a virtual home invasion where a small character suddenly appears in the corner of the screen…disturbing you with audible commercial content.  I am offended to be blind sighted in such a crude and unwelcome manner and these sites will eventually feel the bite from unwelcome barking…as viewers choose to seek their news elsewhere.   By contrast…when we are willing…it is incredibly easy to form attachment with a sweet and lovable person on the other side of your laptop screen.   I confess…I am guilty of getting wrapped up on a ridiculous scale with such a person… checking my mail a zillion times a day…finding it impossible to wait for the clever reply…before firing off a few more things I wanted to share.  Like everything else in life…e-lationships are a numbers game.  You may think you are making yourself available…ready… willing and able to please in every way…and someone else can construe the abundance of attention as being an effort to be controlling…or worse.  Your end of the laptop might be singing love songs…while someone else is sitting in true Gong Show style…banging on the gong and saying… "next".   Curiosity got the best of me the other day…and I began filling in the blanks of my youth.   I once again got sucked into the whirlwind of school friendships…and I am so very thankful I acquiesced this time.  There is not a doubt in my mind… that the site is still fully engaged in the game of playing both ends against the middle…but I have now connected with some amazing faces from the past.  When I was growing up…we were shuffled around from one school to the next…and one social setting to the extreme opposite.  My country club to cockroaches adventure…sprawls across the land in every direction.  I went to three different high schools in a unique scenario for which I will be forever thankful.  My sophomore year was spent with a host of good buds and beloved friendships from junior high school and beyond.  As my junior year approached …I was transferred to a new school… creating in the wake a fascinating story for all time.  There were four high schools in town to that point…north-south-east and west.  About that time …integration and segregation issues in the deep south took a wide swing …twisting and turning along the road of education.  A brand new school was built with a mandatory drafting of fifteen or twenty percent of students from each of the four regular schools.  Students would be bussed across the tracks…and mixed in with students they would never have had the chance to encounter.  For the first time…black and white students would sit side by side…and there were black teachers as well.  Race riots of a different kind broke out…with many parents arming themselves…prepared to fight to the death before their child would attend such a school.  And then there were those of us…who went willingly with an open heart and mind.  As it was the first ever experience for everything… opportunity was available everywhere you looked.  I became among other things…the first editor-in chief of the newspaper.   My choir teacher was a black gentleman whose talents had been shared at Carnegie Hall…and we actually recorded an album.  I was very well rooted within the confines of those school walls…as I had been the previous year…substitute cheer leading…second place in the beauty pageant…a real prom dress to feel like Cinderella at the ball… so many memories.  It was the first year of many when a nickname took precedence over all else…as everyone called me "sweet pea".    At the end of the school year…my world fell apart…and a middle of the night move across the land changed everything.  One parent would now be back raising kids alone…and beloved relatives stepped in with a proposed solution.  A private boarding school for privileged kids was close to where they wintered each year…and off I went…once again heart in hand.  With a wide selection of children whose roots derived from oil barons…royalty… presidential and political beginnings… and enormous successes in every possible business sector…this was sure to be a different experience altogether.  Everyone had a horse…and every sport and possible topic was laid at our feet.  The swimming teacher was an Olympic gold medalist… as had been my figure skating teachers some years before.  When someone’s parents came to visit…it was normally by Rolls Royce or flying in by private craft…or bearing lavish gifts untold.  I became the editor-in-chief of the paper once again…and involved myself in every part of campus life.  There were about twenty countries represented in our little world…that looked more like a miniature United Nations.  With fifty acres to freely roam…transportation to take us into the elite little community nearby…and advantages most people would give anything to have a chance to enjoy…the reality was nearly unanimous.  Almost all of us felt as though we were loners… popular or not…seemingly a collection of souls wandering alone.   Our interaction with the outside world was limited and monitored closely…but come the end of the day…many years later I have come to finally love and appreciate the vast difference in going to school with someone…versus living together…day in and day out.  Janice Ian could not possibly have hit the nail on the head any better she she sang those infamous words…"it isn’t all it seems…at seventeen".    And so…a few days ago… when someone made a point of noting the difference in value between matters of the heart and "success" as seen through the eyes of the world…I decided it was time to crawl out from under the rock where I have been hiding…and visit the past.  What I discovered in the process was beyond any measure of wealth.   I found friends whose loving kinship nearly a lifetime ago was vital to our existence.  I discovered people from each of my three high schools whose memories and reflections mirror mine.  I have been invited to enjoy the company of smiling faces I can see as clearly as it were yesterday….and not decades ago.  Invitations have come in from one part of the world to the next…at a time where I fully expected to be licking my wounds for some time to come.  It does not mean the sting of being distanced from an attachment you well and truly loved will hurt any less when the mind wanders to that part of your heart and soul.  But it does mean that by choosing to reach out instead of retreating within …I am now in fact…very excited to have "plugged in"…and made the best kind of connection…heart to heart. 

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