Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Why I'm a Fan of Facebook

Months ago, several people at church ganged up on me told me that I should join Facebook, a social networking website. I thought the idea a bit pointless, wondering how it would be any different than just emailing my friends, but I caved to peer pressure went ahead and joined. Noticing that Facebook had a search feature to locate any friends that also might be members, I decided to type in the name of my long lost friend, Janet.

Janet and I grew up in a town in Kansas, attending school together, grade school through high school. We became friends especially beginning in fourth grade through the strings program. Janet played violin, and I played cello. Janet already had a head start on violin as well as other instruments, including the accordion! She always set the standard for maturity, hard work, and accomplishment at anything she pursued, whether it be music, or 4H, or academics, yet she was down-to-earth, humble, and easy to talk to. I stood in awe of her achievements, such as winning Grand Prize at the county fair for her sewing, playing accordion and fiddle in a country music band, earning one of the top chairs in the State Honors Orchestra, or accompanying our choir on piano, but she never put on airs or looked down her nose at anyone. Janet always had a strong sense of right and wrong, and was even willing to go to the mat to defend the right. I have to grin when I remember her scraps with two different school bullies over the years, and I recall accompanying her to the vice principal's office in high school in order to discuss our concerns over the conduct (no pun intended) of an orchestra teacher.

Janet and I kept in contact off-and-on through our college years and for several years after. Our last visit together occurred in 1994, I believe, when she visited me in Denver before she traveled to Europe. We wrote to each other during her trip, but I didn't return the last letter and then lost contact with her. I often regretted dropping the ball in our correspondence.

Because Janet had a very common last name, entering her name in the search field of Facebook to find her seemed like looking for a needle in a haystack. Hitting "return" brought up over 500 results! However, the very first person listed with her name featured an avatar of an orchestra with a woman conducting. It turned out to be a fan page for a music teacher in a school located in a country of northern Europe. My curiosity was definitely piqued! I did a Google search and found the website of the school named on the Facebook page. Combing through the site, I found my friend's name and an email address! I sent a brief email to the address, asking if this Janet had grown up in my hometown. When I received a return email, I discovered that I had indeed found MY friend, Janet!

Janet and I exchanged emails and family pictures, but the best part of all came when she had a layover in Denver when visiting her mother this fall. My family and I met her at the airport, and she and I had time to talk for a couple of hours, catching up on each other's lives.

Here we are at the airport:

I celebrated my fortieth birthday the week after our reunion, and I consider the renewal of a good friendship the perfect gift!


Margie said...

How neat, Melissa. Tell Janet hello from me too when you email her next.


Erin said...

That is really cool! I have found some "old" friends on facebook too.

Erin said...

Also, thank you for the link to the poem on the One Thing blog. I enjoyed reading it.

Jodi said...

This was fun to read. I can't believe all the old friends I've found thru FB. I started because I wanted to be "in the know" when my kids wanted one, and as they are preteens, I knew they'd want one before too long. Now, I'm enjoying it for me and all that I've gained from it!

skinny minny said...

I too am in love with FB. ihave reconnected with people I haven't seen in 30 years! ( I am only 40 so ...) i joined because a friend ( who I haven't met yet) from my blog sent me an invite and I thought why not? within 12 hours I had reconnected with my best friend from 4th grade!

Anonymous said...

Ok. Now you're tempting me to renew my FB account.

Anonymous said...

Oh Melissa, that is the loveliest thing anyone's ever written about me! I am so humbled by that! I have such great memories of our orchstra times, especially early morning quartet rehearsals at HHS! And remember having a pizza party for our music teacher, Mrs. Bailey, in 6th grade? We must be the only kids who have ever done such a thing! I loved meeting your beautiful family and am so thankful you found me!!!!!

Willie K said...

Hey, I get some credit here... i do remember cajoling you to join facebook!!