On my day off I ended up doing three useful tasks: assembling the snow blower, having my haircut and purchasing four post cards of my home state to send to people I've not connected with in a while.
When traveling to New York last month my path took me through the Bronx, more specifically through the neighborhood of a very likable friend whose career rose over decades and plummeted over months. I'd not known what became of my friend. He largely disappeared from Google searches, either professionally or in communal activities. Yet I thought of him as I drove through the neighborhood in slow traffic that allowed me to look around in the early winter darkness. I arrived at my motel where they had sample postcards on the counter. I took one, penned a brief note the next day but it sat in my living room for a month while I got around to purchasing 29 cent postal card stamps.
My son returned from St. Louis for the first time for winter break. I have lots of medical classmates who settled in the area, most of whom I've not seen or heard of since graduation. One psychiatry friend I kept up with in the early days of practice, marriage, kids and finally the early days of email but again a lapse of about 15 years. I do not know why she came to mind but as I purchased the four postcards of local interest, my first thought was which would be the one to best send her as a greeting.
Facebook has made renewing ties a lot easier. There was, and maybe still is, a dependence on weddings and funerals to bridge geography with perhaps a supplementation from class reunions. With the passage of time, the interests of closest personal friends diverge for a good reason while people who were mere acquaintances at a remote time have emerged as intriguing likable people in cyberspace. Some are caricatures of how I remember them, as undoubtedly I am to them. Forty years, though, provides a lot of opportunity to accomplish things, develop personality or personal ideology, nurture families, and watch ourselves become the dominant generation. All of these things got their start with a boost from the people we knew way back when. With a little luck and outreach we could still know many of them today.