Thursday, April 06, 2006

Let's Not Meet Up In The Year 2000

Just the other day, Diamond Geezer noted how Friends Reunited has sort of faded into a nothingness, in stark contrast to its heyday about five years back. As I caught up with his posts today, I had to nod in agreement. Long gone are the times where I might check the site once a fortnight or so, as slowly but steadily the amount of new people signing up or those already present updating their details reduced to a trickle. And that said, when anyone new did sign up, invariably I’d never heard of them, and when anyone did update they usually weren’t the schoolmates I wanted to hear about. As I finished the post, I thought about taking a visit to the site for the first time in about 4 months, but decided it would be pointless. I wondered if it's a culture thing: across the pond, sites like Facebook have flourished in the past 3 years or so, whereas here there seems to be a prevailing attitude of "Look, if I wasn't that fussed about staying in touch back then, I'm hardly going to now". Or perhaps it's the rather basic interactive (and not free) element to Friends Reunited, in comparison to, say, Facebook's dynamic and accessible layout.

About an hour later, an email arrived in my inbox. The title certainly caught my eye.

Subject: Is it really Huw who I held hands with in the playground at [Hometown] infants?

Hullooo, It's Rachel [Lastname] here, I had a wonderful friend called Huw at infants school in [Hometown] when I lived on [Such And Such] Road and he lived very close to the school as I remember. I remember kids taking the piss but we didn't care, they said we loved each other but we knew we were just good mates, we were too young for love and all that. Was it you???

Of course, the email had made it's way to me, in a roundabout fashion, via Friends Reunited. It was a little poetic for my tastes perhaps, but nice all the same. Except that I can't remember any Rachel, and certainly not one I endured ridicule for. Admittedly, this is potentially 20 years ago now, but I like to think I remember every girl whose hand I've ever held. I vaguely remember a humiliating moment when I was about 6 when my friend Richard and I were told in no uncertain terms that playing with a skipping rope made us the most detestable form of bum-loving gayers, and we were deservedly put in headlocks and had knuckles scrapped across our scalps by some upstanding older children as a punishment, but I don't remember any mockery arising from any Rachel (and I am sure that, by the logic of the playground, any holding hands with girls would have outed me as gay, so I'd have been sure to avoid it so as to save my scalp). I am also at the disadvantage of having gone to a school largely attended by the children of members of the army, and they tended to move on every year or so, meaning every 6 months in my class of thirty I'd see eight kids depart and eight new faces replace them: it plays havoc with the memory, hand holding or not.

I have to sheepishly reply to Rachel, and admit I can't remember having ever squeezed her palm in mine. I feel awfully guilty, and consider that perhaps this is why no-one has any time for Friends Reunited anymore.


dotdotdot said...

I had a friends reunited email from a guy that ended with "you might not remember me, as I left school after the lower sixth as I was run over and was in a coma for 2 months." Sure I should really remember something like that happening to a 'friend'...

Banksy said...

The knuckles over the scalp brings back happy memories.

In my school it was called a 'Buckley Scrub'.

Buckley being a wrong side of the tracks town not far from where I lived.

LĂ©onie said...

Poor Rachel. She was probably just making it up because she's lonely.

Be her friend, Huw. Go on. Then blog about it for our entertainment. I feel it's your duty, really.

Cleavers said...

It is extremely sad and pathetic to say that I'm jealous that someone contacted you through it?I only use it to nosey on what ex boyfs are doing.

and then I feel much better as they are all dicks.

Well, that's how I read it anyway

Cheri said...

Cleavers! Funny I have had the same experience (over and over). It seems everyone I went to school with ended up being dicks! (OK only *almost* everyone).

I'm not, of course!
(Hi Huw!)

Curly said...

I didn't have any friends in school, so I never joined up.

I went to the school of "Look, if I wasn't that fussed about staying in touch back then, I'm hardly going to now" too.

Me Over Here said...

I have regretted my decision to join up on Facebook mostly BECAUSE of its accessibility, if you know what I mean.

"Look, if I wasn't that fussed about staying in touch back then, I'm hardly going to now"--without being too corny, my thoughts EXACTLY.

Annie Rhiannon said...

I was thinking the same thing about the demise of Friends Reunited not so long ago.

Stumbling across your web page though, I was like, oh my god, this guy's name is Huw! He MUST have gone to Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy. Looking at your picture I was CERTAIN I recognised you, but after checking with my friend who knows everything about everyone we concurred that we didn't know you from Adam.

Nice site though.

Huw said...

Annie Rhiannon: I think my Dad once toook me to visit Gwydir Castle*, but that's probably about as close as our paths have come to crossing. Thanks for dropping by.

*which, might I add, didn't strike me as very Castle like**. More big-house like, or even Manorish.

**I hold you indirectly responsible for this.

Monica said...

Big in the states now is My Space. I am addicted like a hooker on crack.