Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lost and Found

Happy Birthday 
J-9 Restaino!  Read On...

Announcements at the end, including an important announcement about our Holiday Helping Hand project.

Today represents Day #2 of our Taste of USA blog topics.  Remember, participants of Taste of USA were tasked with selecting two random items from a brown bag and then using those items to create a topic about which we could blog.  

Today's topic strikes a special cord with me, but first the items...

Treye and a Stand-in of Heidi
(she had to leave early, but her smile really is that big!)
Boxing Gloves and a Koosh Ball
(Challenge yourself... what topic might you come up with?)

Treye and Heidi wasted no time filling up their page with ideas.  In fact, this dynamic duo developed an overarching theme for their topic.... Everlasting Connections.  Let's go with it.  Initially it conjured up images for them of, "manifesting one's ideas and bringing things full circle."  When asked to "whack" their idea with von Oech's Dream Card (everyone was whacked with the same card.  See yesterday's post for full text), Treye and Heidi immediately gravitated toward people.  They posed a series of questions.  Here they are:
  • Are there people you know who have shown up in your dreams lately?
  • Have any of these people lost touch with you?
  • How do you respond to  seeing them in your dreams?
  • Might you use HLA as a way to reconnect with people in your dreams?  
  • How did you become connected with your best friend?
  • How did you hear about Highlowaha?
  • Do you have a fun story about how you became connected with a friend?
I love all of these topics and, if I signed off this minute, we could have still have a full day's activity using their thoughtful questions. 
But... their topic got me thinking and consequently, I have a fun story to tell.  One of my best friends growing up was a girl named Janine.  Janine and I met at Junior High 67 (all the public schools in New York are numbers).  We played volleyball on the same team (along with Maureen), for a somewhat creepy coach whose name was Mr. Schneider.  Boy, did we have fun.  We met every day after school, walked down to the local deli for an after school snack and then came back for practice.  We were a close group of friends.  When it came time to order our uniforms we each decided, rather than put our own last name on the back of our uniforms, that we would wear the names of famous tennis players.  I think I was McEnroe, Janine was Borg, and maybe Maureen was Gerulaitis.

After junior high, Janinie and I continued playing volleyball together in high school.  We met every morning for practice and then played again in the afternoons.  We traveled to games together and to volleyball summer camps together.  When not bumping and spiking volleyballs, we worked together at the Samuel Field Y summer camp and at the Haagen Dazs, in Great Neck, New York.  We spent many a night at one another's houses watching scary movies like, Dr. Butcher M.D. and eating left over pints of ice cream from our closing shifts at the ice cream store.  My favorite flavor at the time.... Vanilla Swiss Almond.  

I remember distinctly going over to Janine's on a weekend night for a sleepover.  It was right before Christmas and my parents dropped me off, after taking me to a local department store for a new winter coat.  Janine's mother greeted me at the door with a surprised look on her face, but immediately welcomed me inside, as she and Janine's dad zipped passed us on their way out.  Janine, like most of us, couldn't resist the urge to peek at her Christmas packages trying to guess what they were.  The only difference was that Janine and her two brothers had perfected the art of snooping to a science.  And, her parents were gone for the night, making the coast perfectly clear.  Janine picked up a fairly large box and shook it.  Still not able to determine what it was, she aptly began peeling back the tape until the wrapping paper fell open.  Janine opened the box and imagine our surprise when inside was the EXACT SAME WINTER COAT my parents just bought for me.  We laughed the rest of the night.  We were best friends and we were in high school.  Nothing could have been better.

I went off to Arizona for college and Janine went to a rigorous school on Long Island.  We promised always to be best friends, but as time and distance sometimes has it, we eventually lost touch.  Not a single September 10th has passed without me thinking about Janine and wondering what she is up to.  I heard through the grapevine she moved to Florida and even tried tracking her down a few times.  Columbo, I am not.

Not even a month ago, Maureen informed me that she thought she knew how to get hold of Janine and passed along Janine's information.  I immediately mailed Janine a letter and she replied promptly with an email.  Back together after literally not talking for more than TWENTY years!  For the past three weeks, Janine and I have continued exchanging emails back and forth, taking turns filling one another in on all the gaps from twenty years of being out of touch.  

It is nothing short of a gift to know that Janine, this close childhood friend, is back in my life.  And, in some small - maybe even self serving - way, I attribute some of it to Highlowaha.  

Maureen is the one and only friend I have consistently been in touch with since high school.  Yet, even we have struggled to keep our contact regular, with the competing demands of family and work obligations.  Our contact was reduced to four or five great conversations a year.  It was not until I was "Reaching for 5,000" views of highlowaha that I contacted Maureen in a desperate attempt to have her make even a single post.  Maureen is the epitome of loyal and so you know the rest of the story.  She has not only loyally checked in to highlowaha each day since her original post, but she has become one of our most active community members.

So you see, highlowaha - a blog committed to creativity and community building - has given me the gift of friendship in innumerable ways.  First it put me in closer contact with two of my oldest high school friends and second it brought me all of you. For that I am grateful.  If I shut my shop doors today, I would have gotten more than I expected from this experience.

So that's my story of reconnecting with friends, old and new.  How about you?  

I might add, we have some VERY resourceful and creative-thinking people here.  Is there someone you are trying to find?  Maybe one of our readers can point you in the right direction.  It worked for me.

  • Helping Hand:  Thanks to the work of Sue, Brian, and Maureen a family has been identified to serve as the recipient of our thoughtful holiday gesture.  Tera's mother knows of a family in Ohio and is willing to serve as our liaison.  Check out the Helping Hand site in the next couple of days to learn more about the family.  Next task.  Fundraising.  This brings me to my next announcement.
  • Bring Your Calendar:  In the next couple of weeks, I will be unveiling two fun fundraiser opportunities for our highlowaha readers - lurkers and posters alike (it will take a village to pull off this service project)!  Bring your calendar this Friday when I announce plans for the first!  You won't want to miss it.
  • Reading Raynbow:  Did you see?  We are going to wrap up discussion on Randy Pausch's book, The Last Lecture.  Discussion is scheduled to take place this Saturday or Sunday.  We will wait to hear from Julie or Melanie about which day.
Signing off until tomorrow...

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