{27/03/2012}   Meeting up with school friends

Over the past three days I have seen two school friends, one I’ve probably known for 27 years and the other for a seemingly impossible 31 years. However, while neither of them are friends I see most regularly, they are two of the easiest people to just gabble away with for hours on end. We have also known each other since way before we really became the people we are now.

I think the friends I have made since university are more reflective of my post-education self; most I have met through travelling and a few through work. All of them I have chosen to be friends with. I am lucky that most of my school friends went to the same schools as me from five to 18 so I still have quite a few “old” friends, ie we had a long time to become friends so more chance of staying friends. We have all gone very different ways. I doubt our paths would have crossed and we would have become friends had we not stayed in touch past 16 or 18, and had Friends Reunited then Facebook not existed for those with whom contact was lost for a while after school.

Many years ago, I went alone to the wedding of someone I’d known from about three years old. I only knew her and her family at the wedding. My friend, the bride, introduced me to her closest friend, someone she met way after we first met. It really struck me that I know the bride as someone she might hardly recognise as the close friend she met when they were both working adults. But she knew the bride as the person she is now. I still think of her as the schoolgirl, but she now has a proper grown up job, a husband and two children. Whenever I think of her (it’s probably apparent but we hardly ever see each other as grown ups), we are about five or six years old in a grey and yellow school uniform clustered around the outdoor drinking fountain in our school playground. I guess we are still friends because of the significance of having known each other so long. I am glad we are friends still but we really don’t know each other as we are now.

I don’t think I revert to being more like I was at school when I’m with old school friends, but there is something ever so slightly different about spending time with people you’ve known for, as far as my memory serves me, ever. Maybe in part it’s because you know their family and can share distant memories of childhood experiences, significant because it’s hard to remember things about yourself unaided. In fact my friend last night reminded me that she didn’t really have curry at home as a child but she remembers eating curry with sultanas and apple with sliced banana on the side at my mum and dad’s house for my birthday. There is potentially a vulnerability to you with old friends because they know so many things about you in your early stages of development. But I know just as much about them!

I am not for a minute distinguishing between friends I’ve known from school and those I’ve met later, each friendship is important, in fact essential, and unique. I thought a lot about such things recently, particularly having been through a lot of old photos. I have friends from all key stages in my life and that makes every single one of them a reminder of who I am, how I got to be who I am and that at every stage of my life I have collected along the way some unloseable “souvenirs” worth infinitely more than all my photos and nick-nacks.


diana says:

ha ha the old fruit curry!!

I even found a 1970s recipe for curry that included sultanas, apple and sliced banana on the side!

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