Sunday, February 15, 2009

The End of the Story . . . or at least a few more chapters

This week we received a note from an acquaintance of 20 years ago. She'd met a mutual friend who mentioned us, and she took the time to update us on her life. It was a pleasant surprise to hear from her and reminded me once again that I've lived long enough to learn the end of the story for many friends and relatives. I don't necessarily mean that their lives have ended, but that they've reached the point where they've married, had kids, and pursued a career --- or not.

I believe Phillip Roth, in his novel about a 50th high school reunion, said something about it being a more relaxed gathering than earlier reunions had been. Everyone had done what they were going to do, and most people no longer felt competitive. I compiled a book for my 50th high school reunion that gave a brief biography of all the people who'd submitted their story. There were more than a few surprises, both disappointing and inspiring. When you're 20 it's hard to imagine where life will take you. When you're 70, you pretty much know.

Now we have Facebook, the social networking site that lets people locate and reconnect with lost friends and relatives. I've just joined, and am still figuring out how it all works. Not many people in my generation are members. But I'm wondering if it would be a good way to keep in touch with family members. It appears to be a medium for brief snapshots of day-to-day life, but not place for long, personal sagas. We'll see. Instead of waiting until the very end of the story, it will be interesting to read it chapter by chapter.


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