Friday, February 6, 2009


Last year, I joined Facebook, for the same reason that many of you did: Phantom made me. In the year or so that I've been on, it went from being a clubhouse to being an interactive address book. I still spend way too much time there, spying on you all, but I'm not flinging pies anymore the way I was in the beginning.

My friend list consists of a jumble of family, friends, and acquaintances. Among them are almost all of the small handful of people I would call if a true disaster struck (almost: ahem, Mom and E., when are you going to join facebook, again?), some are long-lost people with whom I have been thrilled to be back in contact, but most are everyday friends, or former everyday friends: people whom I liked well enough while we had proximity on our side, but did not hang onto as time and distance intervened. A decent number are simply acquaintances, shtetl folk, potentially useful contacts.

Friends and Acquaintances: it will not surprise anyone who knows me that I am a Rabbit on the Winnie-the-Pooh character quiz.

And I will now admit, there is one person on my FB list who I can't remember at all, not even a little bit, but we had so many college friends in common I felt I was in the wrong for not remembering him, so I clicked "accept" instead of "ignore," expecting that any day now, some dining hall conversation would surface in my memory. That hasn't happened yet, but from his facebook activity, he seems like a very nice gay man, of the sort I was often having dining hall conversations with.

A jumble. Like the real world, facebook is a jumble.

Today, though. Today, a friend who was a couple years ahead of me in high school set up a facebook group for people who went through my high school's extracurricular theater program, those of us who consider ourselves students of its director.

I do. She taught me English and Theater, and she was my advisor, a role that was a little like being an untrained shrink, at my school. I chose her because I was a techie, a set builder, in fact, and it was not something I can easily explain to someone who wasn't there, but it was serious, what we were doing there, at School That Saved Me High. We were in high school, and therefore prone to tearing each other to shreds, but what we created? It was professional, and obsessive, and joyous, and good. We had chutzpah, and we taught it to each other. We had no stage: we started with a black box and transformed it into whatever we wanted, making magic with things we designed ourselves on graph paper purchased for math class and built with power tools we mastered along the way. (I specialized in staircases, because I was good at trig.)

Of course, theater was a multi-grade activity, so in a very real way, my cohort at school is not my class at all, but everyone who did theater during my four years, from three years older than me to three years younger, and there were some legends still echoing from the classes that graduated immediately before I arrived. Scrolling down the group my friend created, it was like being at the virtual version of the high school reunion I've been longing for for at least 20 years.


Songbird said...

It's amazing the feelings Facebook contacts arouse. Love these images from your memory.

Magpie said...

I've not had that kind of experience on Facebook, though I think many people do. I seriously don't remember many people AT ALL from high school.

Jody said...

I was among the last of the theater kids at our college who worked with an AD but did not have faculty advisors or a real theater, because the arts building and theater major weren't introduced until ten years after I graduated.

I'm charmed by your story because of all the random people to contact me on FB since I joined, it's my theater people who make me most happy to have caved to Phantom.