Thursday, May 20, 2004

Homework -- Old Friends

I did this week's assignment early because I'm excited about it.  Our fearless leader asks:

Tell us about your best friend in second grade (or the grade closest to that in which you remember having a "best friend"). Where is he or she now? Do you still keep in touch?

Can do.

I lived in Maryland until fourth grade.  Growing up, my best friend was Jinny.  She lived down the street from me.

I loved going over to Jinny's house.  Her mother always had a pot of rice slow-cooking  which I thought was the coolest thing ever.  Especially because of all the things you could do with the sticky rice.  It made fairly serviceable paste, for instance.  (And you could eat it.  And it was OK!   Edible paste.  If that isn't the envy of second grade.)  And Jinny's dad would get these big piles of paper from work -- computer paper, that had white and green stripes on it and holes down the sides -- and we'd make all sorts of art projects with the rice-paste and the computer paper.

And Jinny was going to be a gymnast, so her father built her some gymnastics equipment in the basement.  There were uneven bars and a balance beam, and a "practice" balance beam that was just a piece of wood sitting right on the ground, so you didn't have very far to fall.  She let me try that out once or twice.  But I was just so impressed watching Jinny on the gymnastics equipment.  I didn't have a really neat-o talent at that age.  I think I'd just started taking piano lessons.

Like I said, I moved away after third grade.  We kept in touch by mail for awhile, but, as far as I remember, the last time I wrote her I must have been around 12.  We drifted apart, as kids do.

Spurred on by our homework assignment, I googled her name and found her instantly.  (And I knew it was her because she conveniently put up a web page that mentions the city where she grew up.)  She got a PhD in mechanical engineering and is now teaching at a university.  (Ironically, we did our undergraduate education at "rival" schools without ever knowing we were in the same area.)  Married.  Has two kids. 

I emailed her.  She wrote me back in less than a hour -- with a current phone number and a picture of her family!  (Is that cool or what?)  She also said she represented her school at the World University Games (in gymnastics), so it's nice to know big things came from the little gym her dad built in the basement. 

I didn't ask if she's still eating the paste.


janothy said...


What a terrific little story.  I'm so glad you were able to find her again-that must have been really neat.

I have to agree, this is an assignment I can do, also.


ckays1967 said...

What a truly great story!!!

onestrangecat said...

And to think that John's weekend assignment brought you back together with an old friend!  Well who would have thunk?  Bet John didn't.

I am glad that you were able to get back in touch with an old friend.


fisherkristina said...

Wasn't childhood such a fun time?  You had a really cool friend!

hempenhomespun said...

How exciting that you found her again!  I think it's sad how we 'outgrow' old friends.  Hooray for the internet and its search engines!