Without reading them all again to make sure, (and, believe me, I’ve got better things to do than THAT!) I calculate that fifteen out of the one hundred & nine postings that I’ve made so far gave a significant mention to my old school, Copleston Secondary Modern School for Boys in Ipswich, Suffolk, UK.
Actually that has, with this post, now gone up to sixteen out of one hundred & ten!
Anyway, when I started this literary delight (BLOG sounds SO common doesn’t it?), I was in frequent email contact with one of my old classmates (in Thailand), fairly frequent contact with another and had corresponded electronically with a third for a very brief period in 2002 until our messages fizzled out for no discernable reason.
Now we started our fifth and final year (year 11 by the current reckoning) as class 5A in September 1968 with twenty boys preparing for their GCE “O” Level examinations.
By Christmas of that year we had lost one of our number – this was NOT down to carelessness on our part, his Dad’s job resulted in an unexpected transfer and he was whisked away to deepest Essex! As he started the final year though I believe it is only fair to count him as if he finished it too.
And where, I hear you ask, am I going with this?
Well, it dawned on me recently that I tend very easily to lose contact with people who for any number of reasons mean something to me.
Friends, if you like, because I define “friends” as people with whom I share a mutual “liking” and who have thereby made my life better than it otherwise would have been to a greater or lesser extent. As I hope I have improved theirs.
I last said something along those lines in a posting over a year ago when I learned of the death of one such “absent friend”, a former work colleague, and I recently learned of another former colleague who is (and I can really only understate this) extremely unwell!
It seemed to me that I must let no more parts of my life drift away and, indeed, should try to bring back IN to my life as many as possible of those people who once played a part in it! And there seemed no better place to start doing THAT than with that little group with whom I spent my formative years.
I must admit that I didn’t think it could be too difficult to track down nineteen other people especially when I was already in touch with two! Well it IS difficult!
Looking up personal names on Google isn’t all that effective unless you already know quite a bit about the person so that the thousands of “hits” for each name can be narrowed down. And that usually means knowing enough about them that you would have been able to go to them directly anyway!
However, “social networking” sites such as Friends Reunited offer slightly more hope as here the former classmates, in theory at least, offer themselves for contact. I have put out “feelers” to those listed for my class on that site but the problem seems to be that many people joined up years ago when it first started, using email addresses that they no longer have, or don’t look at any more!
I do, therefore have hopes of re-establishing contact with the one with whom I fleetingly spoke in 2002 and possibly bagging another two from “Friends…” if they reply to my overtures.
There are also another couple of possibilities who I will have to approach using an email technique along the lines of “If you recognise this list of names you are the person I’m looking for” and then attaching the class register. And then there is the possibility that THOSE people will still be in touch with others.
Still, progress has been made and I am delighted to be able to report that last Saturday my wife and I met up for an evening of drinks and SERIOUS nostalgia with Richard and his wife. Richard is the one who left the class early and while we HAD emailed quite a lot I hadn’t actually SEEN him since December 1968!!
Despite nearly forty-two years we got on fantastically well (as, fortunately did our spouses who we sadly neglected for nearly three hours) and now agree that we still have a lot more ground to cover. We will consequently be doing it again, soon.
It’s a start! And, hopefully, now it will grow!