All the way through grade school—from Kindergarten or First Grade until Sixth, when I was twelve years old—I had two friends who were boys. Their names were Jimmy and Adam. Each was the other’s best friend, and the two of them were a great constant of my grade school education. I don’t remember much, but I remember a few things. Comic books drawn on ruled notebook paper, magic shows with newspaper palm trees, and strings of cheesy punch lines at long lunch tables. (And that makes me remember cafeteria hamburgers, plastic lunch trays, cafetorium stage carpeting in red. Do I really remember the plastic lunch trays, or did I make them up?)
Although my interaction with and knowledge of them mostly ended after we graduated Sixth Grade, moved on to new schools (and new states), I found them by bits and pieces over the following years. An email address here, a website there. A college, a new project, a fiancee, an IM handle. There isn’t any consistent keeping in touch, but there has been keeping in think; and I have dreams about them.
The dreams are always a little sad, or a little lost. I almost always wake up feeling like I misplaced something, or neglected an important connection. Of course, these weren’t friendships that deteriorated over time—we were twelve. We went to new schools. We grew up and made new lives. We became new people who (mostly) didn’t dwell on elementary school. But isn’t it odd… and kind of wonderful… that they come to mind so often? Individually, and together. For some reason, they were important. Well, they still are.
I often wonder what became of people I knew when I was a little kid. Just these more than most. Adam is teaching music, I think. Jimmy is Jim now—I don’t know if he’d lynch me for using a childhood nickname or not. (I can only plead fondness.) Is this entry a half-assed attempt at getting back in touch with them? I suppose it’s just as much a soft-hearted attempt at letting them know that they still mean something to me, if you can mean something to someone you only knew till you were twelve.
Well. I think you can.