Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

Loss Of Contact.

It made a nice change today to wake up thinking about something other than a virus.

I was actually thinking about people I once knew well, and have not seen in half a lifetime. Starting with someone I called my ‘best mate’ for all of nine years, until he got married, and moved away. I last went to see him in 1980. Since then, some Christmas cards, but never a phone call either way. I can remember the times we shared as schoolfriends and into our late teens as if they were yesterday. But when I see his face in my mind, he is still only 18 years old. Forty years have passed since we met, and it is likely the next contact will be made when one of us dies.

Cousins that I used to spend most weekends with, go on summer holidays with. Some not seen now for twenty years, and their children don’t even know who I am. One moved to Canada. Is he still there? What happened in his life? I have no idea, because ‘Merry Christmas’ on a card tells me nothing. Does he ever think about me at all? I was his older cousin who he met at our grandmother’s house. I went to his older sister’s wedding, but the last time I met his younger sister, she asked who I was, and how I was related to her.

Splits in families will do that. You tend to pick a side, like it or not. And because my dad left my mum, we picked her side. By the time we tried to resume contact and build bridges, it was too late. Life had passed by like traffic on a motorway. I was a face on a photo that nobody recognised.

Work colleagues, male and female, can often become great friends. But if the girls get married, what if their husband is jealous of your closeness, suspectng something else? You do the decent thing. Step away. Give them a chance. And what if your male friend marries someone who doesn’t like you, or you can’t stand them. Do you hang around and cause friction? No, you disappear.

I sat up in bed thinking about all the people I had once been very close to, and had not seen since. I stopped counting at fifteen, then added the more distant relatives to arrive at a total. Twenty? Thirty? I am sure it must be more than that, if I think harder.

In an age where communication has never been so widespread, or more instant, it seems no easier to keep in touch.

74 thoughts on “Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

  1. Interesting thoughts here. Social Media platforms are a lovely tool, as it created this opportunity to comment on a complete stranger’s thoughts. However, face to face interactions sometimes are no more genuine. We can put up whatever front we like, and some will never be the wiser. I’m generally an introvert, so it takes a good bit of work on both parts to stay connected, and thus far very few in my life want that kind of true effort.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Timothy. I come from a generation before computers, mobile phones, and social media. I used to write letters, make phone calls, and spend a lot of time in the company of friends and family. Maybe that’s why I miss that more?
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  2. For me it is all the flatmates that I lived with at various times and shared so much life and space with. Many of them were immigrants and moved back home or elsewhere and we drifted apart. Having a child also caused a separation with a lot of my childfree friends. We moved. My time became so much more limited.

    Oddly I speak to my mum’s family more than ever (my dad has no living family but my brother and I) because of WhatsApp. One of my cousin’s wives set up a family chat and now anecdotes, photos, videos and jokes get shared daily. This is despite the fact that I live in the UK and my uncle lives in Bali!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I think we will still see each other but life will get taken up with other things. I see it as a good thing. 🙂 Best wishes Pete. I hope you catch up with some people and I appreciate being in your blogging community.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I have moved about so much that I have never built up a large friendship group. My most recent ‘best friend’ died a few years ago and since then I haven’t had any opportunities to make new friends as I am not a ‘joiner’ and no longer work. I did keep in touch with my best friend from grammar school until my 60th birthday when for the first time I didn’t receive a card from her. I sent her a card for her 60th but never had any reply, no contact since and as far as I am aware she is still alive and still living in the same house. I have never understood why she suddenly cut herself off.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have lost two very close friends who ‘died young’, relatively speaking. But like you, I am aware of friends who just decided to stop communicaton. I can’t be bothered to ask them why.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

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  4. You’re right. If I think about it, the fact that I moved to the UK in 1992 meant that I lost touch with quite a few of my friends over the year, especially because the way medical training worked meant that I kept moving every few months, and even the people whom I kept in touch with ended up having a bunch of addresses for me and no longer sure of where I was. Of course, I know I would have lost touch with many of them anyway, but I must confess that now that I am back in Barcelona I don’t necessarily see the few friends I kept in touch with, as our circumstances are quite different. People I studied with I haven’t heard from in years, and people in the UK, again due to the moves, it’s proved difficult to keep track of. Choices one makes, life, and other things. It’s amazing when one thinks about it. TAke care and thanks for making me think about so many people. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can sympathise with you, Pete. I’m slowly losing touch with my old schoolfriends. We used to meet up at least twice a year, but it’s been a couple of years now with no contact except birthday and Christmas cards. We all live too far apart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Strange how we view distances in the UK. There are bloggers in the US who drive 50 miles each way to get a new tyre on their car, but for me the thought of driving 100 miles now seems like an expedition that needs to be planned. Driving for 5-6 hours to visit someone I used to work with is just never going to happen. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wouldn’t drive that far either, but Sam’s used to driving long distances and has just told me he’d rather drive to Aberdeen to see a customer now instead of getting on a plane. We’re taking 2 cars to the Island in July, but I don’t mind driving there!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Like Robbie I moved around a good deal as a kid and got used to leaving people behind, and no relatives other than my son, so no-one from my past in my life now, but I’m OK with that, but do wonder what happened to so and so now and then.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post 🙂 The more things change, the more they stay the same 🙂 As for you and everybody else, I just want this coronavirus to go away so things can get back to normal. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I know you don’t have much interest in Facebook, Pete. To be honest, I didn’t have much use for it either for many years. (Like most forms of social media, there are positive and negative parts.) One big plus for me is that it has helped me get back in touch with old students that I’ve always been curious about. Last week, one of my past students who I’ve had no contact with over the previous thirty years reached out to me. It was so great to get caught up after all those years and hear about his life.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I like that old saying, ‘make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold.’ I have kept in touch with many friends over the years but there are others I was close to from the school years and haven’t seen since. A reunion of sorts might be fun but could be disappointing too as we might find out we grew into very different people who no longer have anything in common.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Interesting perspective, Pete. I moved away from Seattle for Los Angeles, and left many school friends behind. Strange this is, due to social media, I am “online friends” with some of them again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had already got past the point of contact before email and other social media outlets became the norm. If you have managed to reconnect with your Seattle friends, that’s great to hear.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. We can’t stay in touch with everyone, sadly and I do feel sad about some of the losses, but new people come along and life moves on I feel blessed that I have plenty of friends that I am in video contact with during this pandemic

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I grew up in the 1950’s when all families were happy and all children well loved. Except, of course, that was a cultural myth. One of my most satisfying experiences came about 10 years ago when a girl from my elementary school was in a nearby town for work. We spent a couple of hours sharing what was actually going on in our families at the time. We each remembered how we had seemed then and how we had viewed each other. She could tell I was lonely then. I could tell her mother valued appearance over reality. A very rewarding exchange. And both of us had come through to have good adult lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was a nice meeting for you, and indeed rewarding. I do still have a large circle of friends, many of whom I have known since I was 11 years old. But just as many faded away over the years.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Yes, people with whom we no longer have contact remain in our memories the age they were when we last had regular contact with them. This remains true for me even if I have seen a photo of them as they look now. It is remarkable that in an age when telephone calls, skype and other forms of instant communication are virtually cost-free (after one pays for the device and service hookup) that maintaining contact with friends and relatives seems to be no better than in the day when long-distance toll charges were quite expensive (although he cost of first-class postage stamps in those days was very reasonable). I get the impression that social media platforms are the excuse: “If you want to keep in touch read my Facebook postings that will tell you what I want you to know. Indeed, if you really care you will read what I post and not bother me with …” From my point of view, more is the pity that social media is the current answer to contact. Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You sum it up well, Theo. I used to write to some friends who sent me short replies by email. After a while, I started to email them instead. Then we both just stopped emailing. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Very true, Pete. My daughter arranged a Facebook Messenger group video chat with Mom (still in hospital) and I was struck by how out of touch we’ve become.
    My brothers live back home in Alberta, and my daughter and grandson are on the other side of the country while she finishes her PHD in biology. You’d think between Mom being ill and all of us apart, there would be a steady flow of conversation- not so much. We struggled to come up with things to say and I came away feeling very sad about that.
    Maybe this virus is a wakeup call. Make those connections before they are lost forever.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Could be that, Jacquie. In this country, we can’t even blame distance and travel. Most of the people I am talking about here could be reached in a 3-hour drive. But after so long apart, the meetings might be rather awkard.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. Sadly, I am a person who doesn’t stay in contact with others very much, Pete. I moved over 21 times as a girl and attended 14 different schools. I learned to come and go without looking backwards and trying to hold onto what had passed. I do understand your feelings though. Maybe you should reach out to a few of them and try and rekindle some sort of relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. It’s strange how people we’ve been close to slip out of our lives. I sometimes think I should make an effort to get in touch with my best friend from primary school days but worry we would have nothing in common any more apart from a few memories.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Because of my jobs I had very few close friends…..most were just acquaintances….but the few that were close we still are….and I am happy with that as long as there is Sue and MoMo….I am perfectly happy…chuq

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Despite the convenience of the internet, the 1400 miles that separate me from Missouri have also separated me from most of my relatives. Cousins have children who are much older than the age at which I last remember seeing my cousins…

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi Pete. I have a few of those; I’m sure we all do. I have two cousins in Phoenix, Arizona. One male and one female. Early in my retirement I made two trips out there. My aunt, the mother of oof the female Phoenix cousin was still alive and well into her nineties. Sharp as a tack she was. We had lunches and drinks together talking of the old days. Seems these two cousins rarely if ever talk to each other though they live only a few miles apart. I met with them separately! Spent a day with the other and his wife and sons. Exchanged pictures. Talked of our lives.

    Never heard another word from him.

    C’est la vie.

    Best from Florida

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lauren. I am aware it is impossible to keep in touch with everyone who dips in and out of our lives, but I was left pondering about how I could be so close to someone for so long, then not speak to them for forty years.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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