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Writing

Postcards From Iowa #5

Reverse side: Personal note postmarked Oklahoma City, July, 8, 1908.

Social media hasn’t helped us stay in touch with friends and acquaintances.

In 2010 I searched for members of my high school class and asked them to join a Facebook group started for our fortieth class reunion. Many joined, but the group is now pretty inactive. Mostly we fell out.

It takes work to maintain a relationship and with all the stuff we have to do just to keep up with society it doesn’t happen. We drift except for those closest to us. I’m coming to a place where that seems okay.

What we yearn for is doing new, interesting, or exciting things. It doesn’t matter if it is with people we’ve known for decades or with those we just met. The arc of our lives isn’t a fixed trajectory. Just because we walked to school with the same group of people during the 1960s, that doesn’t mean the bond was permanent. If I encounter such childhood friends — these days mostly at funerals — we reminisce a bit in the moment and that’s that. We’ve built new lives that diverged from our beginnings.

I favor writing letters to friends and family. Not too much, though. There is an unspoken obligation to write one back and I don’t want to hang that on people I care about. Yet I write a letter from time to time.

This postcard reminded me there are a few people with whom I’d like to re-establish contact. Not that many, though. I have to ask why we fell out in the first place. Sometimes we’ll never know.

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