Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Changing Friends: Iowa City 1979

So, I moved around a lot as a kid--and around a lot as an adult. So, I became used to change, to saying goodbye to states and towns, to houses and neighbors, to friends. But this was a bit different, in Iowa, as we had stayed in the Des Moines area for a good nine years or so. I had gone through half of seventh grade on through all of high school in one place, in one state. I had developed good solid friendships with quite a few people and intimate friendships with a core of maybe four or five people (basically all guys--I had yet to understand that you could be friends with "girls", something the younger generation seems to understand better than mine). But them we all graduated and most of my friends went to Iowa State University in Ames, maybe forty-five minutes, maybe an hour, from Des Moines.
I didn't go to college. No right away.
Yes, I stayed in touch with them, visited etc. I worked full time and made new friends from that job. But then a year later (and after a short stint in Key West), I did go to school but I went to The University of Iowa, in Iowa City, not to Ames. Ah. In the state of Iowa, there is a big distinction between the two . . . and as the years went by, my new college friends began to replace my old high school friends.
I know, I know, nothing new there. And it wasn't like I didn't stay in touch with that core group of pals, but I soon quit coming home on weekends while in school, then quit coming home in the summer and then quit all together. Not quit school, but coming home at all . . . But by 1979 the situation was evident that my college pals--Matt, Brock, Mike and others--had replaced Bob, Kevin, Larry and others as my closest friends. And they--college pals--remained my main contacts for the next ten years or so. Then I got married, started a family and the closeness to all friends began to fade a bit.
But here's the thing. Jump ahead another, say, another twenty years, closer to today's date: I'm still married, my kids are venturing into college (about the same age I was in 1979) and my closest friends are not from Urbandale High or the University of Iowa. I still have a core group of four or five good guy friends but the are scattered about. And, I'm still sort of in touch with some of the people from my past. But--of those old friends, it is my high school buddies I talk to the most. My college pals, my best friends who I was closest to, rarely contact me and I, in turn, rarely contact them. Do I know where they live, do I have their phone numbers and know what's going on in their lives? Yes--sort of. The same with my high school pals. Yet I've talked more often and have physically seen the older group more often in the last ten years than the latter. I don't know why this is.
But I think we--my college friends--are about due. I think we will resurrect the old feelings and make an effort to see each other. No doubt we will all realize why we have other friends but, still, it would be good. It will be worth the effort.

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