Last weekend, Sees Through the Eyes of Children and I went to our Old School Reunion Dinner. We have been to these events before, but they are usually small affairs with very few people that we know. The good thing, of course, is that we always know someone, when we go together. The Nursery Teacher that Sees Through the Eyes of Children works with also went to our school, although some years before us. Standing alone because my sister had been called away for some committee business (she was in part responsible for organising this event), I waved wildly as Nursery Teacher arrived in the bar of the hotel where we held The Dinner - 'Ooooh, thank you for recognising me!' she said.
Others arrived, but I didn't see anyone from my year. Then Divorce Lawyer with whom I did A Level History (although she was a year above me in school) and Practice Nurse (who was in my class when we were 4, but was 'promoted' to a higher class because she was slightly older when the infant school grew) arrived. They are still in touch with each other - it's clear their friendship has stood strong for the years since school. Still no one from my year group though. Sees Through the Eyes of Children came back, and we spoke to other people we knew and faces we recognised. It was lovely to have so many people of such wide ranging ages in one place with something in common. It seems those from other year groups had not forgotten old arguments and rivalries though: 'You can see who she's with, can't you!' was mumbled to us by someone. The school has been closed for some years now. Maybe it's time to let that go, whatever it was...
Finally, after dinner, Sees Through the Eyes of Children and I found other members of our class. Accountants, Family Workers, all sorts of career choices had come from all over the UK to this gathering. And it was lovely to see them. They're still in touch with each other - much more than we have been in touch with them. There have been weddings (Congratulations!) and sadnesses since we last saw each other, but it was great to catch up with their news and see how they all are. And we talked about those who weren't there, and who had got married and who had children, and whose little sisters were getting married (this last was a little depressing to me in my singledom!). We all had a lovely evening. And it made me want to try harder to keep in touch.
I have resisted signing up to social networking sites like Facebook. I'm wary of how much information about me I put in the public domain, particularly as you cannot entirely delete yourself from Facebook if you decide to leave it. I am listed on Friends Reunited, and receive update emails whenever anyone in 'my places' adds news, but I have not actively used it to keep in touch. I should have. And, as all my schoolfriends that I met last Saturday evening are on Facebook, I might now give in to the peer pressure (not something I do often) and sign up. It seems to be a good way to stay in touch with those you don't see, or who are not close friends, but whose news you want to hear. For the one who is posting the news, it's passive communication. In our busy lives, sadly there is not always the time to write long letters, or speak on the phone to everyone we want to, or indeed to everyone we should. It's both a good and a bad thing about the internet and its communication revolutions that it facilitates such passivity. But some things should be told to people personally (through whatever medium). Time should be made for this. However easy social networking might now be, we should not be careless in our communications.
Our friends should be far too important for that.