If you have a place that you can call your hometown, no matter how good or bad it might be or might have have been, I consider you to be lucky, and I am jealous.
I, unfortunately, don’t have such a place that I can call my hometown. I can tell you where I was born, where I lived as a child, where I went to grade school and junior high, where I went to high school and then after the Marine Corps, to college. Unfortunately, they are not the same places.
My parents moved three times while I was growing up, and after college, I moved seven times. So, I don’t have any childhood friends, high school cronies, or any college buddies. I lost track of all of them after the moves. I still do have my memories, some very fond and some not, but that is all.
Think about it. Back in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, there were no easy ways to keep in touch with anyone after you moved. There was no Internet, Facebook, or even tollfree Long Distance calling. All we had was the US Mail, and that only worked if you took the time to write letters, which most men never did.
Of course, to use the Mail, you also had to have been smart enough to have written down your friend’s addresses before you moved as none of us knew our friend’s actual addresses, only where their houses were located or what they looked like. After you moved away, there was no easy way to obtain those addresses. That was especially true as kids, as back in those days, you never knew your friend’s parent’s first names as they never shared them with you. It was just Mr. Jones or Mrs. Smith or whatever. So, even if you did save an old phonebook, locating old friends or acquaintances could still be a challenge.
I really do envy you people who have longtime friends and acquaintances, such as the kids you played after school with, the kids on your ball teams, kids you knew in your high school classes and clubs, and of course, those later friends in your college fraternities or sororities. Other than a few girlfriends I had while in junior high and high school, I don’t remember the names of any of the people I grew up with, played with, went to school with, or went to college with.
And I know it’s my loss!
Right after I graduated from North Hollywood High School, I enlisted in the Marine Corps and never returned back home, and of course, as usual, I didn’t keep in touch with anyone after I left. So, many years later, when I was somehow tracked down by my high school alumnus, and I agreed I would return for my 50th high school reunion, my wife told me that was foolish. She thought it would not only be a waste of my money, but she was sure I would also find it to be a waste of my time. Well, she was right. Not only was it a total waste of time, but it also was not in the least bit enjoyable.
Not surprisingly, even with name tags, I only remembered vaguely a few of the people there, and apparently, no one remembered me at all. However, from my last name, all the girls seemed to remember fondly my older brother, who was much more involved in athletics and clearly the dating scene than I was. It appeared he had dated or, knowing him, slept with all the attractive women in my senior class, so I spent most of the evening at the reunion just answering questions from the ladies about him.
The only part pleasant about that was trying to figure how much plastic surgery they had all gone through in preparation for this reunion. For some, it appeared this had to have been one hell of an expensive reunion!