I love social media. I really do. There was a time I even referred to it as my hometown. When one’s parents move as often as mine do/did, it’s not possible to have a hometown. Sure, I can always go my family’s home and I’m confident I have one of the best – but I can’t go home.
Before Facebook, I had very tenuous ties to my past childhood haunts. I could glean bits of information from my lifelong friends, but I couldn’t experience it firsthand. All the changes and local gossip were seen and heard through someone else’s eyes and ears – and filtered accordingly. So when I joined FB several years ago, it felt like going home. I didn’t have to ask – Hey whatever happened to so and so? or Does anyone ever hear from whosabucket?
I simply had to type their name next to the magical little spyglass and hit enter. Suddenly, I was home. With a few clicks, I was reliving my summers in Montana and sharing old memories (and new ones I’d forgotten) with friends I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. I was looking at old class photos full of kids with lopsided ponytails and missing teeth proudly posed behind white-lettered signs displaying our grade and teacher. I was reminiscing and laughing with my childhood cohorts from Small Town, Arizona. My college dorm mates were no longer mere memories but real people living real lives with kids and jobs and mortgages. It was fun.
Those first few weeks were exhilarating. I felt like I was driving the streets of Kalispell or Snowflake or Mesa or Tucson (and all the places in between) and bumping into hometown folks on a daily basis. It gave me a connection I’d never had before. As the weeks morphed into months and then years, the feeling of exhilaration subsided and became more a sweet sense of security. I had a rich and varied past and it was nice to know it was there and I could check in when I wanted to.