In just a few days, my old/new friend Sherri Frank Zimmerman and I will meet each other again/for the first time. We haven't seen each other for, oh, at least 34 years since I graduated from high school.
I live in Iowa, she lives in Wisconsin, yet we have "seen" each other practically every day for the past two months.
And it's all thanks to a little thing I like to call Facebook Kismet.
OK, so the term "Facebook Kismet" doesn't exactly roll off one's tongue. But what better way to describe the totally-random-yet-seemingly-predestined reunion of two old high school acquaintances on Facebook, that wacky electronic friendship generator to which so many of us aging Boomers are now addicted...
I mean, two months ago, Sherri and I were just two 50-something former Cincinnati Kids, both dying from boredom and the emotionally crippling effects of enduring one too many soul-killing winters in our respective, charming-but-out-in-the-middle-of-freaking-nowhere small towns, located in always-rousing cheese-and-corn country.
Then, apparently, sometime in early to mid-March, both of us -- each horribly desperate for human connection and conversation -- discovered Facebook. We each decided to give it a whirl. We each stalked, er, searched for old high school friends.
Sherri, a graduate of Madeira High School Class of 1976, and I, a graduate of Madeira High School Class of 1975, had socialized somewhat within the same high school circles. Both of us were members of that clique, er, clandestine high school sorority Sigma Tau Omega. But we were never what today one would call "peeps." We didn't really hang out together...
Sherri and I, as it turned out, began with two mutual friends on FB -- Nancy and Beth. Sherri saw my name and picture, remembered me -- vaguely -- and she decided, what the heck, to friend me. I remembered Sherri -- vaguely -- and confirmed her as a friend.
And the rest is Facebook Kismet history!
We started chatting daily on FB, commiserating, laughing, crying -- basically picked right up where we never left off -- as if we had been close pals back at good ol' Madeira High. Twins separated at birth. Mary and Rhoda.
I know exactly what she means by "life behind the cheese curtain." It can be equally as spirit squelching as "life in the tall corn state". And she gets that. We both know all too well why the caged tiger paces.
Oddly enough, we can't remember clearly one social event that we attended together back in high school. We can't even say for sure that we remember ever being in the same room...
Nevertheless, talking and laughing together felt so warmly familiar. Immediately. Kindred Facebook spirits.
It is so weird...
Two totally separate lives, yet our common thread-- self-inflicted social isolation (hey, no one forced us to trade Cincinnati for Green Acres) seems to have sewn a tight seam.
One Saturday, after chatting for an hour on FB, we dared to take it to the next level - we actually talked on the landline! I'd recognize her voice anywhere! And she, mine. Yet we don't recall any one-on-one gabfests back in high school...
And come this weekend, we will actually, finally see each other. Again. And yet, in some ways, for the first time.
We can't wait!
I will be riding along with my friend, Jess, as she and her family haul a trailer of goods for a giant neighborhood garage sale at Jess' grandmother's in Rockford -- the town were Jess' mom, Vicki, and I were both born (and on the same day, no less -- but that is fodder for another kismet post). Sherri lives less than an hour from Rockford, and will meet me there.
It's all good! And serendipitous! It's spontaneous! Just what the psychiatrist ordered.
So to those who think FB is just a waste of time and energy, or who are too busy to stay connected via the electronic friendship generator, I say, Bah! Humbug! I have found it to be quite a blessing...and I know Sherri concurs.
"A friend is a present you give yourself," the old saying goes.
And this weekend, thanks to Facebook Kismet, it's going to be Christmas in May.