A Blast from the Past

Posted: July 24th, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Friends and Strangers | No Comments »

A couple weeks ago I got an email from my friend Mike entitled “You won’t believe who I saw.” For some reason I immediately thought it was our old friend Kelly. Kelly, Mike, and I were at the University of London together for a junior year abroad semester which was somewhat oddly called the Beaver program. Kelly was at Simmons College (I think), Mike at Tufts, and me at Harvard, I mean Kenyon.

Over bad cafeteria food, endless pub pints, and Eurail adventures we formed the kind of friendship you develop when you’re 19 and living even further away from your family than your college got you. Add to that we were in a huge city and another culture where no one knew us or expected us to act or dress or talk or think a certain way. College is liberating, but studying abroad takes it all to another level.

Mike is one of those people who is still in touch with the other kids from his kindergarten class. (He’s also saved the Playbill from every play he’s ever been too.) It amazes me that he’s managed to maintain those friendships, but Mike is such an incredible human to have in your life some of the effort must have come from the other people. Despite all this (maybe I should have taken the hint?), Mike and I fell out of touch after our British educational adventure. Then, a few years later walking down the street in the West Village one evening, we bumped into each other and have been fast friends ever since. He was my partner in crime in my NY years, and the one person who’d make a move back to NYC seem do-able for me. I still regret not having him as a bridesmaid, but at least I have something from that day to beat myself up over.

So every once and a while Mike and I have wondered what ever happened to Kelly. She was so smart and fun and excellent, and as I mentioned, in the 6(?) months that we were in London we became pretty damn good friends. No doubt she was up to something cool. And for Mike, I’m sure he was just confused and frustrated by ever having let a friend slip away.

In fact, like Mike and I, Kelly and I bumped into each other in NYC back when I was living there too. Of all weird coincidences she lived on my block and I saw her walking a huge German Sherpherd one day. And her boyfriend was from Bristol! He grew up a couple houses down from my Uncle Joe. I remember hanging out with her a few times after that and going to hang out with her at her parents house in Massachusetts, but then somehow we drifted apart again.

So Mike sends the “You’ll never guess who I saw” email, and it ended up being some random political spam he sent out to like 300 people, which I didn’t even read. I emailed him about my disappointment that he hadn’t found Kelly. Especially when you have an friend like my 4th grade best friend Sydney Smith, who has a kinda generic name, you think even the powers of Google will never reunite you.

Well by that day’s end, God bless him, Mike had found her. All hail Google, where he (freakish memory that he has) remembered Kelly’s home town amongst other details about her (like her last name). He tracked her down to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts where she’s worked for a decade now. He even found her email address and had exchanged a few messages catching up with her.

You know you’re getting long in the tooth when you reconnect with someone you haven’t seen in 15 years. And it’s not a childhood friend. At any rate, Kelly just got back from a vacation today and sent me an email after having gotten the run-down on my life from Mike. Hooray! She is well and married and has a sweet 3-year-old son named Cole, and by the looks of the photo she sent Mike, she hasn’t changed a bit. I’ve got to make a plan to see her when I’m on the East Coast next.

Now I just need to get Mike on the scent of Sydney Smith…

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