I am not one to make New Year's Resolutions. I find the process to be a waste of time. I know that I am too old and lazy to really change many of my ways. I know I will probably always hold grudges. I will always cry when I watch "The Sound of Music." I will always be sarcastic. I will always laugh at inappropriate times. I will always hate to go to the gym.
While I don't promise to change my life while drinking myself into a stupor on New Year's Eve, I DO become quite nostalgic and wonder about some of the people who have been in my life at some point in time or another. While I consider myself to be incredibly lucky to have the most wonderful friends in the world, I still can't help but wonder what happened to a few people I used to know.
First, there's Barbara, whom I met in 6th grade at Critchfield Elementary School. I found her to be so fascinating and worldly because she came to our little town all the way from Rochester, New York. And she was Jewish. At the time I was fairly certain that she and the rest of her family were Jewish settlers, braving our christian town to live a better life than what they had. You have to understand--I REALLY don't think any Jewish people lived in our town at the time. And it showed. Once word got out that she was Jewish, some of the kids in my classes harrassed her. I remember one bully in particular would bellow, "JEWWWWW!" when she walked down the hall. The popular girls ignored her. But she always kept her cool. On the one hand, I was thrilled that I wasn't the only person being ignored by the popular girls. My crime had more to do with my Salvation Army wardrobe than my religion. On the other hand, I was embarrased that my classmates were so immature and petty. Besides, I had just read every Judy Blume book in the school library, so I felt as though I knew all about the Jews. And periods. And sex.
At any rate, Barbara and I became good friends until she moved back to Rochester our freshman year of high school. We wrote letters for a year or so, but she quickly became sophisticated again simply by being back in New York. I always wondered about her and hoped she was well. I did find her in college while I did a research project for one of my Journalism classes. We were given the task to find someone from our past. This was before the internet,so it actually took time. Looking back, I realized that this is more like an assignment in stalking, but I enjoyed the prospect of finding her and reconnecting. While we did speak on the phone for a few minutes, the whole thing was weird and we never spoke again.
I often wonder about my last three roommates from college. Emily, Steven, Bruce and I lived in a fantastic house my last year or so at IU. All three of them were opera singers studying their Masters degrees at Indiana University's Music School. I was the only one in the house who couldn't carry a tune. Our house always had laughter and singing and drama which is what made it so much fun. Bruce was this HUGE man whose voice BELLOWED through the house. Steven was tiny and always bringing boys home. I loved his voice but I always imagined him doing Broadway. Emily was this amazingly funny girl who had absolutely no confidence in her ability. The first time I saw her perform, I cried. The four of us had lots of crazy parties and lots of interesting adventures, like the time I had to drive to Louisville on a Sunday morning to bail Steven out of jail for a DUI.
I left the house first when Herr and I moved to St. Louis. We all tried to stay in touch but it became so difficult with their nomadic lives. Steven settled in Chicago and struggled for a long time. I saw him about 10 years ago and he was doing OK. Then he got lung cancer and he stopped answering my emails. Bruce and I saw each other once in Washington, DC where he was performing for a summer. Emily actually lives in Europe most of the year and has performed all over the world. I am happy that I am able to follow her success, and hope to see her perform again soon. I hate that I don't know what happened to Bruce, and especially Steven.
I also thought about my old friend Tonia this year. I went to high school with Tonia but didn't actually get to know her until we were servers at the same restaurant during our junior or senior year. Tonia grew up in a very strict and religious home. We became close during a time when she was rebelling against her parents. She spent a semester in London her sophomore year of college and met a boy who was going to grad school in Kansas. Once she met him, she became wild and crazy. I loved this crazy new Tonia, except her boyfriend called her "Tone-ya." They talked about bodily fluids and lit their farts on fire.
Tonia became a person who LIVED to cross the line, and I loved her for it. A prime example of crossing the line was the time I admitted that I had hooked up with a guy at IU one weekend, not knowing that the guy was dating my co-worker. I was mortified because I really liked my co-worker and I was angry that this guy treated her this way. Upon telling Tonia and my friend Lori about it,Tonia hatched a plan in which we would send this guy a pizza delivery that he would never forget. And she, um, orchestrated the whole thing. Now if that isn't the sign of a good friend, than what is?! Tonia ended up marrying the college boyfriend and we all moved away from each other. Herr and I saw them about 10 years ago when they were visiting Washington, DC. We met them at a very expensive restaurant and watched as they and their friends split a salad and about 4 baskets of bread. I think she became a nurse and I think he is some sort of social worker and an elected official in the town in which they reside. Every time I go home I want to call her parents to get her number, but the thought of doing that makes me feel like I am 19 again. I imagine the disapproval of her mother since I think she blamed Tonia's girlfriends on her changes.
I would be lying if I didn't admit to wondering about some of the boys I dated. The part of me that carries a grudge hopes that several of them were victims of prison rape. Like Matt, who was my date for a wedding until he left the reception with another girl. THAT was a fantastic 3 hour drive back to school the next day. Or Kevin, who hid pot all over the apartment my friend Lori and I lived in without our knowledge. While that may not seem like much of a big deal,he would freak out when he couldn't remember where he put it. Since we didn't know he was hiding pot, he would just have fits of rage instead of telling me wha the problem was. Had I known, I would have GLADLY given it to him as it was apparent he really needed it. I later found out he cheated on me every chance he could. And he smoked crack. Yes, crack.
All in all, I don't like to think about the old boyfriends for very long. In the end, I am always grateful that I met Herr.
While it was great to think back to some fun times with good friends, I don't think I will make any promises to spend 2007 looking for any of them. It's not like any of them have come looking for me as far as I know. Besides, I am pretty happy where I am with the friends I have. And I have to go to the gym.