June 25, 2012

Nostalgia trippin'....

Generally I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I love that it keeps me from having to do as much talking on the phone, which I actually hate doing. I love seeing pictures and funny stuff that people post. I hate seeing political garbage that people post (especially in election years). I love being able to easily keep in touch with people in far away places like Mexico. I hate knowing the minutiae of the lives of friends who live fifteen minutes away. My feelings on Facebook are very mixed.

Every now and then, though, Facebook does something interesting. Like allowing someone you haven't seen in about 19 years (and I'm 29, so do the math) to find you. In fact, it was 19 years ago last week that my family moved to Molalla from Fairview, just a couple of days after I finished fifth grade. One of the people that I was pretty opposed to leaving behind in Fairview was a kid named Andrew.

I think I met Andrew in third grade. I don't believe he was at the school before that, though I can't remember if he moved there that year or what. I'd been there since kindergarten. I think we had different teachers that year, but we were in the same TAG class and there the bonds of shared nerdery were forged. I have sort of a jumble of random memories of time spent with him, but overall a very pleasant sort of association. We actually were in the same class in both fourth and fifth grades, if I recall correctly, giving us even more time to practice our brand of mischief. Which I think primarily involved playing Where in the World is Carmen San Diego on the computer any chance we got. So Andrew, if you're reading this (since I link to this crap on Facebook), please don't kill me. We don't have any mutual FB friends so your dignity should be safe... Here are some of those random memories I was talking about earlier:

*Working together in TAG class to build a structure that, if I recall correctly, was made out of milk straws and marshmallows.

*Trips to OMSI. I always thought Andrew's parents must be millionaires because not only did they have a fancy house with leather furniture in it (and the first artificial Christmas tree I'd ever seen), but he also got to go to OMSI any time he wanted, pretty much. And his mom was usually pretty willing to take me along. I always liked his mom. Even when she sang along to Michael Jackson songs in the car. (This was the only place in my whole life I ever listened to Michael Jackson music.)

*I remember when Hurricane Andrew hit. Andrew went around for days bragging that he'd just destroyed half of Florida. For some reason I found this hilarious.

*Andrew always insisted that he was cool because his family was Finnish. This was back in the day when just about all the kids at school except two were generic, white-bread Americans, and thus I also thought it was very cool that his family was Finnish. I also thought it was cool that someone besides me had a last name that nobody could figure out how to spell/pronounce. Also his surname reinforces my theory that most if not all Finnish names have a repeating letter in them. (Perttu, Eicca, Paavo, Mikko, Kivilaakso, Niiranen. The pattern holds.)

*I forget what he did, but in fourth grade he somehow managed to have his face contact a curb somewhere between home and school and showed up at school with blood running down his face. I remember the teachers freaking out over it and him being all nonchalant. It was the greatest display of manliness my nine-year-old eyes had seen (at least from someone in my own age bracket). And I think last time I saw him he still had scars from that. (Do you still?)

*One year, I think it was fourth grade (but possibly fifth), Andrew and I took first and second place in the school's geography bee. He only beat me because I couldn't remember the name of the volcano that had been erupting in the Philippines. Well, I'll never forget it now - Mt. Pinatubo. He won a Carmen San Diego board game, and generously offered to let me play. I think we decided it was kind of boring, though, and we ended up doing something else entirely that afternoon. But I would have been completely furious if I'd been beaten by anyone but Andrew.

*I have never known anyone else who could draw accurate maps of most (if not all) US states from memory. I remember in fifth grade for Valentine's Day we had these little heart-shaped books that we made and had to pass around and everyone had to write something nice in everyone else's book. Andrew drew a state in everyone's book. And he drew Illinois in mine, because he said it was his favorite state to draw. I think I may still have that somewhere in a box.

*Andrew's mom (who I believe is named Karen) actually taught me how to swim. In Blue Lake. She took us there quite a bit too, it seems. But I think he actually lived pretty close to Blue Lake, so that wasn't really a huge ordeal. 

*Fairview Elementary thought it was cool to torture fifth graders in April by making them learn the maypole dance and then having them perform it on May 1st. Most of the fifth graders thought it was torture because they had to be partnered up with and dance with someone of the opposite gender. Andrew and I were partnered up together. I remember practicing in his driveway and laughing about it with both of our moms looking on like we were insane.

*I actually did see Andrew one time after we moved. His mom drove him all the way out to Molalla, and he and I spent an afternoon hunting down the feral kittens living under our front porch. I think both of us got scratched quite a lot that day, but we caught some kittens (all but one of which we eventually tamed).

What really blows my mind, though, is that when we moved to Molalla I was almost exactly the age that my son is now. And suddenly I'm having all these memories from a ten-year-old perspective, which is a mental place I haven't visited in a long, long time, and remembering how I saw the world then. Also interesting since I just moved Damian from the only school he'd ever known (Molalla) and brought him to Gresham, about six miles from where I grew up in Fairview. I remember that first summer in Molalla as being one of the most boring times of my life, because I didn't know anyone, there were no kids around, and I hadn't been to school there yet so I didn't have any friends to call (and I think Fairview might still have been long distance from Molalla back then, before the dawn of EAS). If it hadn't been for the Molalla Public Library (and the mother of my future husband, but that's another story) I think I would have gone completely mad. Overall I think Damian's handling a remarkably parallel situation much better than I did. Of course, he's not hormonal yet. ;-) Though we did have this dialog this evening after I'd tucked him in bed.

DAMIAN: Auughh!!! My blanket reeks!
ME: Yeah, that's because it smells like boy. I keep telling you every morning that it smells like boy in here and you gotta let some air in!
DAMIAN: Man, I didn't realize that men stink so much!

Well said, my child... well said. ;-)

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