I’ll just warn you up front, this is going to be a long navel-gazing post, and if you weren’t affected by the situation, you probably won’t be interested in this story. Of course, you may be interested in how small a world it can by and how people are connected. Facebook really brings that last point out. But to tell my tale, I have to supply some background and that starts with who I was in high school, a bit over 30 years ago.
BTW, I changed all of the names in this story. I think that those involved will recognize their character.
I was a little kid in the 9th grade. Little as in small. My late blooming caused my time in junior high to be a living hell. I had started liking girls, but with one or two exceptions they had not started liking me. My athletic record was pedestrian at best. I didn’t take getting picked on very well. I was an average kid in a lot of ways and a geeky looser in others. I thought a lot more of myself than that and really didn’t understand why everyone else didn’t see it, too. It put a bit of a chip on my shoulder and sure didn’t give me any training for handling success.
So I arrive in high school and things start going better almost immediately. I had grown a good bit over the summer. I made a ton of new friends when classes began. Before long I had a car and had been on a few dates. I really started enjoying the social scene.
In the spring, I switched out of running distance races in track and tried a sport that had fascinated me for as long as I could remember, pole vaulting. Turns out I was really good at it. It was at Big G High School when I really took off (pun intended) increasing my best height by 2 feet and taking 2nd place in the meet. I became the best new pole vaulter in the county that year. I followed up that success with a run for the junior class council. I not only won, but was voted class president. I was flying higher than any time in my life. Needless to say, I wasn’t ready for it and messed up a few things in the following year.
I had started dating a girl, we’ll call her Allison, which I had known from church since I was 4. She was and is a wonderful person and I was really lucky that she liked me in return. We dated through the summer in into our junior year, she at Big G H.S. and me at the Big I. My status change got the best of me that year. As I got the opportunity to start seeing other girls, I did, but I didn’t tell Allison. Just before Christmas I met Jenny at school. She was nice and young and cute. The two girls went to different schools and had no way of meeting, so what’s the risk. Right?
That went just fine for a while, so well, in fact, that when I got the opportunity, I started dating a third girl, Lynn. There was nothing wrong with the first two girls’ looks, but I think everyone would agree that Lynn was stunning (probably still is). She was tall and thin with long blond hair and delicate features made her one of the most beautiful girls I’d ever known. The fact that she AND Jenny both went to the same school was a risk that I decided to take. I can’t say what I was thinking because I just wasn’t.
There was nothing more serious with any of these relationships than first base with maybe an occasional attempt to steal second, so I wasn’t doing anything physically dangerous, just really callous, selfish, and downright stupid. Those were fun times, but it didn’t take long before the stress and the lies turned the whole situation sour. I ended up breaking up with all three shortly thereafter. In one particularly callous move, I told Lynn when we arrived at school one morning and left her crying in the car with a request to “lock it up when you are through.” Jerk just doesn’t go far enough to describe me that day. My breakup with Jenny wasn’t any better. I think I just stopped calling Allison.
That was a really long setup about things that happened a long time ago. Now fast forward to 2009 and the rise of Facebook. It' has been great fun connecting with a lot of folks that I haven’t seen or heard from since high school. I reconnected with Jenny and her sister Linda almost right away. It was a while after that, but I eventually reconnected with Allison. Until this past week, I’d not been able to track Lynn down, but I found her husband and he’s been kind enough to pass my connection info along to her. I’ve yet to hear from her and won’t pursue it any further. Of course, given the story so far I wouldn’t blame her for not writing.
That brings us to the Facebook lines where I started. As soon as I friended Allison, I got a real surprise. It said that we had 2 friends in common even though I had not friended anyone that I thought Allison would know. One of those friends was Linda, Jenny’s sister. I just had to find out how this connection was made. It turns out that Allison and Linda shared a suite in college. What are the odds? I came clean with this story to both sides and we all had a good laugh, including Jenny.
I thought that would be the end of it. However, this past week I was looking around the internet to see if I could find Lynn. I’ll poke around for folks I used to know. I probably thought of her for some random reason, a song maybe. I knew her married name and the town she lived in a while back, but still couldn’t get a lead on her whereabouts. So I tried finding her husband and found Tom on Facebook. That’s when I got a real shock. It said that we had a mutual friend, and that friend was Allison. That was too weird and something that I’ve not had the chance to share with anyone. It turns out that Allison and Tom were friends and classmates at Big G High School (recurring theme). Unbelievable! It is a small world after all (couldn’t resist).
I have always been disappointed in myself for that whole situation in high school. I would say that Allison, Jenny, and Lynn, and I ended up with pretty good lives since those days. Our paths crossing and my mistakes were part of that path and I wouldn’t change my destination for anything, so I would never say that I wish it hadn’t happened. I hope they all feel the same. To say that I’m sorry it happened is a bit of a contradiction, but I am.
It is funny and weird that Allison would end up connected to Jenny (once removed) and now Lynn (also once removed). and Jenny and Lynn went to school together, so they probably remember each other at least a little. It took Facebook to reveal it. Turns out everybody knows everybody. Well, almost.