Last week I had the opportunity to talk to a friend from the middle school days of my life. He found me through social media and, as it happens, we live in the same state about 3 hours apart. It has only been about 50 years since we last spoke.
Although we did not go to the same high school, we kept some of the same middle school friends. He happened to go to a reunion that I did not and learned where I was, hence the contact. What a conversation we had. Though he went to Vietnam and I resisted that war, we found we had many similar interests and that our lives had overlapped a few times in the last few decades. The version of the person I talked to the other day was a mature, thoughtful, survivor who had overcome many of the challenges and obstacles that accompany PTSD and the resultant consequences. How wonderful and encouraging this was. Probably the reason we never talked about our middle school days,the girlfriends, the teachers, the parties, the adolescent drama.
Part of the filling in involved telling each other about our parents passings and then what turns and twists our lives have taken. There were wives we'll never meet, places we'll never share together, and some children and relatives we'll probably never meet.
A few times, throughout the hour we shared, I wanted to ask about the times we went fishing together and stayed at the cabin his folks owned near a large mountain lake in the Angeles national Forest. It somehow didn't seem important now.
For our generation, the Vietnam War was a defining juncture. Many of our contemporaries handled the issue differently, but talking to my old friend reinforced the notion that we all respected our choices, if not appreciated how they were right for who we were then and how much they have shaped who we are now. Most satisfying.
My friend seems to have some inner peace now. No doubt for the first time in his life. He works with wood now, lives in a small semi-rural town, and has a loving wife. 50 years is a good amount of time for things to come around right.