I had worked in the paper industry for many, many, many years before
making the smartest career change of my life by starting over and
coming to work in Academia. In fact, I had worked for the same
paper company for 16 years! Of course, this means getting to know
a lot of people. Some of them came and went. Others, I
worked with for years and formed very strong friendships. But
like anything else, life changes and sometimes those contacts are lost.
The past several months, though, have had a wave of “reunions” with many of my old friends, in one form or another.
I would say that it was back around November or so when I had a
surprise email show up from my sweet friend Joanne (she’s still in the
paper industry although with a different company) and soon after, she
came into Cambridge and we had lunch together. It was so great to
see her again and I look forward to staying in touch!
Then, a couple of months ago, crazy Jenny appeared in my in box!
Jenny doesn’t work for that company anymore, either. She’s made a
few moves since then so I’ve sort of lost track of what she’s
doing! But she’s one funny chickadee so it’s great to be back in
communications with her!
Next, came Annmarie. Annmarie and I have been going to the same
dentist for oh….??? 15 or so years now??? Oh, at
least! I’ve known her for 21 years! NEVER have I run into
Annie there but my last visit (late January/early February) as I sat
and waited to see the dentist, I was reading the schedule for who was
coming in that day and, low and behold, there’s Annie’s name, along
with her two wonderful children! She doesn’t work for that
company anymore either.
Next, I think was Dana. Apparently, Dana had run into Joanne (the
one from 3 paragraphs ago!) and Joanne told her that we’d gotten
together so, yup – you guessed it – next thing I know, there’s an email
in my inbox from Dana! Dana doesn’t work for that company anymore
either although she was still in the industry until she was laid off
recently. That’s worked out okay, though, because it’s given her
opportunity to spend some time with her precious son as he begins
Annmarie and I continue to communicate via email (the one from 2
paragraphs ago) and she sent me an email saying that, when she was at
the dentist, she’d asked about another old coworker Irene (she’s not at
that company anymore either) and that the dentist told Irene she was
asking for her so she called Annie out of the blue. Irene told
Annie that she’d recently run into the lovely Michelle awhile back.
Michelle doesn’t work at that company anymore either, she’s staying
home and being mommy to her two sweet children!
Yikes, I can’t believe all this has happened and I’m not even done yet!!!
Last weekend, as I was out shopping for a floor lamp, I looked up from
the lamps and standing there next to me was Louise – our switchboard
operator! Louise doesn’t work for that company anymore,
either. She’s retired. But nobody could handle a switchboard the way Louise did!
Then…. on Tuesday, who popped into my email but my wonderful
friend Pam! Pam and I have known each other for close to 20
years! We have a very special friendship – we both understand
that life is hectic which means that we don’t get to see/talk to each
other all the time. It can go months between our communications
but every time we do catch up, it’s some of the happiest days of my
life! Pam doesn’t work for that company anymore either. In
fact, when she resigned, she FedEx’d her resume!!! That’s a truly
funny story but we’ll save that for another day!
Ah… that must be it, you say? After all, that was Tuesday and it’s only Thursday. Nope! Not quite.
Yesterday, as I sat at work, my phone rang. I could tell by the
way it came through that someone had called into the name recognition
system. Hmmm…. I wondered. Who could this be?
Well, next thing I get is “Hi, Mary. It’s Lori”. “Hi, Lori”, I
say. “I used to work with you”, I hear. “Oh, geez, which
Lori is this?” I don’t even recall her response but as soon as I
heard it, I knew exactly which Lori it was! Last time I saw Lori,
her adorable little girl was probably 6 or so. Well, now she’s
16! Ugh…. we’re all getting old! Lori doesn’t work for
that company anymore either. She does, though, live about 5
minutes from me now so a lunch date is definitely in order there!
Phew. That’s it now. What can all this mean? I don’t
know. I do know, though, that I am thrilled to have heard from
these old friends. I also know that I’ve been very fortunate to
have each and every one of them in my life and I’m looking forward to
staying in contact with all of them!
This also makes me think, though, who the heck does work at that old
paper company??? I just took the opportunity to try to rekindle
one more old friendship. I sent an email to another old friend -
Elise – at her paper company email address. Let’s see if this
works, or if she’s moved on, too!