Lost But Lasting Childhood Connections

I traveled down the worm hole that is the internet today and found an article written by Scott Dinsmore the creator of Live Your Legend and a man who I only found through his untimely death while travelling the world with his wife (a climbing accident on Mt. Kilimanjaro, he was too young).

The article that captivated me was titled Painful Authenticity: 35 Honest Personal Stories, Fears & Facts You Don’t Know About Me.

In it Scott reveals things about himself that many people wouldn’t otherwise know through is public persona – the things that make him (and all of us) real human beings not the picture perfect ideal life living beings that we project through social media – which in itself has become one of the biggest connection tools that we now use in society (what does that say about us all).

There were many things that Scott wrote on his list but the one that stuck with me today was:

26. I wish I was closer with my childhood and high school friends. 

There have been so many times in my life that I wished this was true. 

As a child I was moved around a lot – not of my choice but rather a result of my fathers career.  I think that it taught me how to adapt, to figure things out in new surroundings and make a life for myself wherever I ended up – obviously a bit easier as a child where you’re put into situations to meet new people at the start of every school year.

I can still recall all the houses and schools that I grew up in:

Elwick Primary School (half of kindergarten) while my grandmother babysat myself and four other boys my around age – Vinnie, Brent, Bruce and Bryan.  Man did they torment me on our walks, leaving me behind to traverse the alley way between the school and my grandmothers complex – a mere 2 minute walk that was terrifying to a 5-6 year old.

L-R: Brent, Vinnie, Brian(?), Me

L-R: Brent, Vinnie, Brian(?), Me

Beaverlodge (kindergarten to grade 2)  while we lived in Charleswood, an address and phone number that I’ve always remembered.  I remember the street and the garter snake I almost picked up thinking it was the plastic toy belonging to the boy across the road.  My best friend was Jody who lived at the other end of the street whose house I ended up at while running away from that snake, whose house I wouldn’t leave knowing that somewhere between her house and mine was a snake.  I was terrified.

Me (left) and Jody being Rockstars like all seven year-olds are

Me (left) and Jody being Rockstars like all seven year-olds are

Waverly Public School (grade 3-6) and Bowmanville Senior Public School (grade 7) while living on Roser Crescent.  It was the biggest move to date, another province and I was getting older, seven years old and far to independent for my age.  We played outside still then, just me and the other neighbourhood kids – the illumination of the street lights our curfews.  There was Andrew next door, a little bit older and rough, Dawn and Shannon across the road who I still have connection to through the power of facebook.  A few other kids down the block whose names escape me, their parents and mine much closer, knowing them through afternoons spent in their pool.  I think one might have been named Melanie.  The house just around the corner where my a boy my 8 year old self had a crush on – Rob.  I can’t even recall his face.  My best friend and person I admired most Mandy, her radiance and authenticity shining through in ways I could only try and emulate, wanted to be her as I didn’t know how to be myself.  I remember much more about Waverly than I do from my one year in BSPS even though I was older – perhaps it’s the memories collected over a longer period of time that stick rather than those that are strong and full that happen so quickly, I’m still not sure.

Warsaw Public School and Lakefield District Secondary School (Grade 8-13) plus a semester of Grade 13 at the Ontario Science Center Science School (OSCSS) – the longest I spent in once place, my teenage rebellious years, too smart for my own good but also a part of everything.  I was the smartest kid in my class and I’m not saying that for my ego – I truly was.  I have the awards to prove it and moreso I have the memories of never having to study, of the late night phone calls from the second biggest brain in my year asking me about homework.  I studied for tests by answering others and through sheer boredom often corrected teachers about errors in their arithmetic or spelling.  I’m not proud but I was that kid.  A year later when I went to university (perhaps even in that one semester spent in Toronto at OSCSS with equally brainy students) I would get my ass kicked by how hard everything suddenly seemed having never developed good study habits (or any at all for that matter), it was a struggle but I still managed to survive.

Though I was the brain in highschool I also had many amazing friends, a closeness developed from the fact that there were so few of us and our constant reliance on each other through those growing years.  My entire highschool had somewhere in the neighbourhood of 600 students, our graduating grade 13 class somewhere around 30.  We were solid and held strong but I don’t think we ever really knew each other that well barely knowing ourselves much at all. 

There are only two I still connect with on the regular, if not in person any more at least in personal messages, messages of real life and struggles and authenticity in ways we didn’t know much about back then – our struggles so foreign we didn’t know how to share them with each other. 

Highschool best friends and beautiful women today (Lisa - bottom left, Deb - middle, Me - top)

Highschool best friends and beautiful women today (Lisa - bottom left, Deb - middle, Me - top)

Only one of them ever saw me at my worst, my world crumbling around me for a period of time, mornings spent at her house, climbed into her bed to hide from the world in the safety of a best friend.  Time and distance will never pull me apart from these two, a bond forged so strong and yet we are worlds apart, our lives taken completely different trajectories.  They hold the safety of my teenage years but we will never be as close as we felt back then.

So where is this all taking me, a lifetime of people who grew with me for a time, who share memories filtered through their own personal lens, people who I recall with fondness, who I miss in times of similarity.  People who I wish I’d known better, wish I shared my gratitude with for them having chosen to be in my life for a time, who taught me, who sheltered me, who were there to lean on, to laugh with, and to grow into fuller versions of ourselves.

Why do I so fully relate to that sentence above even as I have accepted that people are with us for a time -  to show us parts of ourselves that we need connection to, to teach us or reflect parts within us that need to expand?  I have moved countless times in my life since high school ended, those years only just the start and yet I miss so many faces I can barely recall in my mind.  What I have come to realize in the writing of this is that I miss the authenticity of those youthful connections, of us being real in ways that we didn’t know how to filter, to just living for the pure joy of it all and not worrying about what came next.  I cherish the love I felt then and still feel when I recall the memories.  The people and places of my life may continue to change, I will grow, they will move on but through it all that sacred connection once felt can never truly be severed as the memories reside within us allAre a part of who we have become through the years and though is why I miss them with all my heart I carrying them within me and wish they could see the woman that they have helped me become.