Monday, March 20, 2006

Ten Friendships Sidetracked

I've done a lot of list-making on this blog, so it's time for another one, albeit a bit more personal. I think if any of us looks back, we'll see friendships that somehow got sidetracked; in most cases, we probably don't even remember why. Here are ten people I wish I still had regular contact with:

(1) Gary Steele - my closest friend from junior high and high school, and someone I remained close to until about 1979, when something happened. Don't know what, but from that time on, we went our separate ways, and as of now I have no idea how to even get in touch with Gary, since he moved a year or so ago and left no forwarding address or number.

(2) Sven Ahlstrom - I have a contact e-mail for Sven, but we only exchange perfunctory e-mails. However, there was that time in 1970-72 when Sven, Susan, and I were together almost constantly.

(3) Stven Carlberg - Our friendship was sometimes stormy, sometimes smooth, but I think that Stven and I had far more in common than either of us fully realized. Oddly enough, Stven's now in Atlanta and sees Ward semi-regularly, but I never hear nor see from him at all.

(4) Janice Gelb - One of the most remarkable women I've ever known, a person of incredible principle and dedication. Life led her on a divergent path, and I miss her.

(5) Wade Gilbreath - A dear friend throughout the 70s and early 80s, Wade and I shared a passion for music, for literature, and for art. The difference was, Wade was artistically talented and I was only modestly so, if at all. Wade remains in the Birmingham area, happily married and the father of a remarkable son. Wade and I renewed contact up until the time that my mother died; I felt that I overburdened him with my anguish at that time, though, and felt too guilty about it to ever renew the contact.

(6) Judy Walker - We taught together at North Cobb, but I all but lost contact with her after I left teaching. Judy's still there, and I hear about her from time to time from Robin Fletcher and others, but that's not the same as actually talking to her.

(7) Deb Hammer-Johnson - I got to know Deb when she owned the Book Rack in Rome, GA, and we became intense, sometimes fractious friends. It was a volatile, remarkable friendship, and it inspired some of the most vivid memories of my life. (I still remember the time I had her semi-convinced that we didn't exist...) Deb and I have exchanged a few e-mails, and I've enjoyed re-establishing a level of contact with her.

(8) Cecil Hutto - In the 1970s, we shared a close friendship, engaged in many philosophical discussions, and had a great deal of influence on one another. We drifted apart after a while, but every now and then we briefly renew contact; alas, I haven't heard anything from Ceese in about six years.

(9) Iris Brown - Iris was another dear friend from the mid and late 1970s and early 1980s; we stayed in contact sporadically through the latter part of that decade, but that contact all but faded away after she moved to Texas. We spoke briefly at the end of last year, and it was great to hear from her; I need to follow up on that and see how she's doing now, and if there's any chance she might be moving back home where she belongs...

(10) Sandra Jackson - Sandra was my mentor when I began teaching; the years I worked with her at East Rome High continually inspired me throughout my teaching career. I spoke with Sandra a couple of years ago, and she sounded quite happy with her life--and she deserves to be. I'm certain I'm not the only person who was inspired by Sandra...

Of course, there are other friends with whom I wish I could share more time, people who are dear to me--but at least I retain some level of contact with them, unlike these ten remarkable people whose friendships I still miss and blame only myself for lettting those friendships wither...

1 comment:

Ulrika O'Brien said...

Hi Cliff, greetings from a former fellow Myriadan. You say you swap e-mail with Deb Hammer-Johnson in this post -- I realize it's been three years since the post but if you are still in touch, I'd love to get her e-mail address (or have you pass on mine). I just saw Curt Phillips over the last weekend, and it's made me want to hunt down some of the folks I used to know in Myriad.

Thanks for anything you can do -- Ulrika O'Brien (e-mail is just firstname dot lastname at gmail)