At this moment, I have 447 friends on Facebook. Which feels a bit like I’m on my way to Tila Tequila, considering I only have about 5 actual friends.
Among these acquaintances are a good number of connections from my pre-high school era. When I was 4, my family moved to Greenville, North Carolina where my dad would be working for the pharmaceutical company Borroughs-Wellcome. We lived there, at 201 Courtney Place, until January of 1992 at which time I was half way through the 9th grade. I lived a whole childhood there. I had friends. I had the cool, pretty, skinny girls that I was jealous of. I had crushes on boys named Ben and Peter.
I was completely heartbroken to leave. My group of girl friends through me a surprise sleep over party. It was supposed to just be a sleepover with Anne and I remember planning to not stay over night because I was just so miserable and crying constantly that I didn’t want to go to her house at all. But I got there and all of my friends jumped out and scared the crap out of me. And I did cry, but it was one of the sweetest things ever. They were such good friends, but I was so young when we left, and I mostly didn’t keep in touch.
In retrospect, though, I’m glad I didn’t stay there. It was definitely The South and it was small town, tobacco country. I have come to appreciate being from somewhere a bit more metropolitan, although take that with a grain of salt when talking about Clinton, NJ. But in high school and college, I was an hour away from New York City, not 3 hours away from Raleigh. There are some bad connotations with the hair of Jersey Girls, but I have to say, I think some of the fashion sense of that 80’s era in that North Carolina land was much, much worse. Many things about that place were just more close minded. It’s hard to imagine what might have become of me if I had stayed there, but so many of those kids are still in Greenville, or are very close by, that I don’t think I’d have made it to San Francisco. And if nothing else, I am quite happy that my path got me here.
So I’ve become “friends” with some of these kids on Facebook and in the past few days, someone posted a bunch of pictures from middle school and high school. There’s one of about 20 kids grouped in someone’s living room and it’s titled The Night Before We All Left For College. And I just can’t believe that I wasn’t there, that that was almost my life, but then it wasn’t.