Katie (McClaflin), me, and Linda (Hubbard) in the quad
This whole internet thing is so crazy. I moved to Texas 13 years ago. I left Vacaville, CA on August 11th and arrived here in Austin on August 18th. I have never ever even come close to running into someone I know from back home. The closest was finding people who had been stationed at Travis Airforce Base, or people who used I80 and therefore had driven through Fairfield. In comparison, my native Texan friends run into people from their home towns all the time - just yesterday Sheree, my best friend, told me she ran into people from her home town this weekend!
I wistfully imagine that's what it's like when you stay in the state where you grew up as opposed to moving several states away. Not that I don't keep in touch with some of my closer friends. I still talk to my closest high school girlfriends regularly enough and have seen them over the years at weddings and Christmas. And a few years ago several of us from the swim team managed to organize a little reunion since our graduating class never has had a reunion of its own.
But eight or nine years ago the internet starts offering these free sites like Classmates.com (it used to be free, you know). I was able to get in touch with all sorts of old high school friends as if I were running into them on the street. Stan Montee, for one. He was in school to become a dentist and we talked about our mutual crush in high school that, sadly, went absolutely NO WHERE except that he was the first boy whose hair I touched (it was crunchy from all the gel he used). I found a handful of other friends from school that way, too, but none of us kept up a correspondence and I lost track of them all over again.
Friendster and MySpace were a lot fun for me, too, in kind of a similar way, but it was more of a local thing for me - long lost college peeps that I'd run around with. But Facebook - whoa, boy. My good friend Bob (whom I actually MET online) kept telling me it was like a big high school reunion for him and I should totally join. I was skeptical thinking I had already done the whole online reunion thing. Yet, boredom and nervous energy while waiting for Hollis to be born found me at the computer making my Facebook profile. And voila! I'm in touch with so many old high school mates that I feel like my deepest roots are finally being watered.
Leaving the world I knew to make a new life for myself has had amazing ramifications on my person - every one of them a good thing - but I have always yearned for that sense of familiarity that only comes from a shared experience. In this case it's Fairfield. That bedroom town that no one notices on their way to San Francisco or Sacramento. Split down the middle by 80 with the "rich kids" on one side and everyone else on the other. A town so unremarkable even the mall is laid out in a strip (I experienced my first mall with turns in it when I ventured closer to the bay in Walnut Creek). The "downtown" experience was a series of rundown store fronts, ostensibly charming, but more like just sad. Trapped in the outskirts of "the Bay Area," but devoid of any of the rich culture Fairfield's biggest claim to fame has always only been Travis and the fact it was where all the Vietnam soldiers left from and came home to. How sad that Fairfield was the last US city some of them ever saw.
I know I sound harsh, but it's how I feel and how I have always felt about that town. Fairfield isn't even in the top 10 to the beauty queens that are San Francisco, Napa, Stinson, Berkeley, and the ocean. Thank God they were all at least in my orbit, or I would have surely suffered even more than I did; my thirst for culture, passion, art, and intensity such as it was. My parents hated FF, too, but it was "a good place to raise kids," they have said. Whatever, we make do with what we've got, right?
All my friends here in Austin don't know what Fairfield means, but all my long lost schoolmates do. It doesn't even matter to me if their feelings are the same about FF. And we don't even need to exchange long emails catching each other up. It's enough to have this webbed connection of 1s and 0s and I feel good about it. I love reading everyone's blogs and profiles (I'm going to list all the blogs I know of on here so I can feel even more linked up).
Thanks to Facebook I've been able to reconnect with some surprising characters from my past. People whom I never thought to talk to again and it has been wonderful discovering all the new things about them and reconnecting. I must say we've all done very well for ourselves! Bravo to everyone! Cheers! Woot! Yaaaaaaaaaay!
So this post is for you guys, fellow Falcons. Thanks for being so open to reconnecting and I look forward to keeping the connections going.