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Where Are Those Old Friends?

I heard about a surprise birthday party someone had for their spouse and it sounded like a great idea…birthdays 2so I began to think about planning one for a friend who turns 70 soon.

The invitees would represent each decade of my friend’s life: his best friend during his first 10 years, his closest buddy during the next 10, etc.

You would think that this would be an easy task…just find the people or person who was significant during certain times of someone’s life. At least I thought it wouldn’t be much of a task, until I set about identifying and then finding the specific individual for each decade.

I haven’t known this person all that long and really don’t know much about his youth and middle age years. I only know him as an old guy and his current acquaintances, so who were the people who filled his life, influenced him, guided him, infuriated him, and loved him throughout the years as he became the person he is today?

Family members would probably represent one’s childhood, birthdays 3so I would invite parents, cousins, siblings, aunts, and uncles, or at least the ones who were on speaking terms with the honoree. But I needed to find someone who sat across from him in grade school and helped plan the after school mischief that little boys can’t resist.


Who was that? Where does he live now? How do I find him?

Then who was his first love in high school? Or his football coach? Or his college roommate who he seldom sees but stays in contact with?

Who did he go through basic training with, slog through friends 12rice fields in Viet Nam next to, or meet at his first job? What about his first (and perhaps only) wife? Was she still nearby?

And then the magic 40s when career was the focus, and having children, and getting ahead? Who should represent those often turbulent times? Who was important to him? Who did he work with? Who was his golfing buddy? Who will he remember as his best friend?

Kids and their activities, their dramas, their ups and downs, seemed to hold center stage in my friend’s 50s. Volunteering, church, giving, leading were hallmarks of that period, so who walked with him on those paths?

Then came grandchildren, and aging parents, his own health challenges, and wondering about the future. Who helped him along the way, or who did he help?

We come to today, and I wonder if any of these special people is still alive? Is one of them in jail, or living on the street? Does alcohol or drugs dominate one of their lives? Do they remember him birthdays 6and the times they spent together? Can they walk together again?

Hopefully I will find answers as I delve into my friend’s history. And while I’m at it, I may just begin a search for my own ‘best friends’, wherever or whomever they are today.

Who were your friends when you were 12 or 25 or 53? And where are they now?

28 thoughts on “Where Are Those Old Friends?

  1. Interesting project you’re taking on! I just had lunch with a friend from middle school, who I haven’t seen in 30+ years. I’ve forgiven her for aging more slowly than I…


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