When I was in high school everyone gathered at my house. It was only 5 minutes from the high school and we had plenty of space. I liked it that way; I didn't have to go anywhere. I had a party here freshman year, to christen it as the house to come to. I could come home and know that people would come over.
As we moved through college I lost touch with high school friends. Some just never wrote back to emails or responded to IMs; some found a new focus and path that I wasn't on, others I'm not sure what happened with, we just lost touch. I would come home and know that no one would be coming over it would just be me, visiting my house. I got to like it that way, I love spending time with my family and most of the activities we did were for four. There was one friend I did stay in touch with, but I would go to her for visits. I'm not sure why, but I started to feel the strain of always driving to her in order to maintain the friendship. I started canceling plans, it was so easy and comfortable to just stay home and I honestly enjoyed hanging out with my parents. We kept in touch, still and I did still see her... but there started to be a shift, I started to see her less when I was home, even with invites to my house or invites to my city. We finally talked about it, or wrote about it, in a couple of tense emails. We got it all out. The need to stay in touch, the hurt feelings when plans were canceled, the acknowledgment that our lives were taking very different paths and sometimes that makes it difficult to stay in touch. The connection grows weaker if we aren't experiencing similar things. Since then we haven't seen each other much. I did put in more effort for a couple of visits. I made it a point to go to her, I drove through a snowstorm to get to a party she was having. It didn't make a difference, I haven't seen her in at least 2 years and we haven't written either.
I come home very often, even more often since my Dad's death. I probably go home more often than my old high school friends I don't stay in touch with who still live in the area. Why did we all fall out of touch? Could we be friends again? I recently had a drink with someone I had been close with my last two years of high school. We hadn't even really tried to stay in touch, although I remember a visit my freshman year at college, she was a year younger. We talked a lot about high school friends, where we're going in our lives and where many of the people we went to high school with are going. How that is much of the reason we don't stay in touch, or want to see them when we come home. We are too different now. We had the same perspective. It’s so nice to go home, to be with our family, to be in that house, but we wouldn't really want to see those people. It would be awkward, hard, forced. It felt refreshing to get it out, and have it mean something to someone in the same situation. Her parents had moved out of the house she grew up in, its easier for her to go home and not see those high school friends, they aren't around. My Mom still lives in the same house that had so many of my high school friends go through it when I was 16. My boss and another executive once said to me, "You're too savvy to be from New Hampshire." I told them that my Mom was from the South Shore of Massachusetts and my Dad from Waterbury Connecticut. They ahhed and agreed that's why I'm so Un-New Hampshire. Maybe that is part of my desire to visit home, to be in this house, but not see the people I grew up with. Many of them are born and breed in New Hampshire. I'm not saying they aren't savvy people too, but there is something to be said about not being born and bred here. There is something to be said for me falling in love with a man who is New York City through and through. I'm very drawn to the rural ness of my upbringing, but to the city like qualities he possesses.
I am in touch with some people from high school through MySpace, although I don't think that's really a connection more of a way to find someone again and if you meet in person then it becomes a connection. I tried to rally them to help plan a reunion. I'd like to see what's happened to everyone, where have they gone, what have they done... could we be friends again. It didn't happen. No one else was as behind it as I was.
Obviously I think about this a lot. People ask me about it too, "Are you in touch with anyone from high school?" I always say, "Not really." And I can see the surprise on their face because they know how often I visit home and I'm sure assume part of it is to see old friends. When I was in high school I figured that these people would be my best friends for life. That it didn't matter if we were all going to very different schools, we still had home, we'd still come here and everyone would come to my house and it would be like old times. I'm wiser now. I still mourn the loss of those friends, they are my high school memories. Yet, I know that they weren't my friends for life, I've made them in other places. And, I have a trunk full of notes passed in the hall to relive those memories through, I have yearbooks full of quotes and inside jokes. Maybe some day I'll get that reunion planned and we can hug and laugh at the good times we used to have and share our current lives and the differences will be clear... but we won't say anything about it... we'll both just know that after this event we won't be in touch. We'll just be memories.