Losing Touch With Friends, With Family, With Life

The title sounds dramatic, overly dramatic. I know it does because as soon as I put it down I crinkled my nose and made that face I make when I see something ridiculous. I probably snorted derisively as well, but I am wearing headphones and I can't hear anything other than Josh Groban and whomever follows him on my iTunes. Oh, it is Kate Bush.

Anyway, today my son the strapping young five year-old dug around in the hall closet and found some photo albums which he insisted I look at with him. It wasn't like it bothered me. I am a sentimental old fool and I love looking at pictures. Ok, let me qualify that I love looking at my pictures I am less patient about looking at others. Don't get me wrong, I like seeing them but I just don't have the same attention span for it, does anyone.

The big boy found hundreds of pictures of his old man. He saw me on the blocks at a high school swim meet. Wearing nothing more than a pair of speedos I am poised to launch myself out into the water.

Off to the side I can see friends from the swim team. Nelson, Patrick, Tony and Shannon are all on there staring at the pool. What happened to them. I haven't seen nor heard a thing about them in more than a decade.

In a different book there is a picture of me leading a hike. I am wearing a pair of shorts, a red bandana and some wayfarers. One hand holds a walkie-talkie and the other has a canteen. My son has two questions. He wants to know if I painted myself brown and when I say no he wants to know if I stopped showering. He doesn't know that his father tans easily and has been asked many times if he is mixed.

What I want to know is what happened to Ron and Danny. They are in the background of the picture. I spent hours hanging out with them. We were 19 and life was nothing but fun and promises of more fun.

There are other pictures from different times and places. High school and college memories are intermixed with some pictures of me just after college. In every set there are reminders of friendships that have died out. It is a sad thing to me and I find it hard not to be a little disappointed.

I have always been good about staying in touch. I am the guy who will keep calling. I am the friend who won't always wait for you to call me back because I know that time gets away from all of us and yet there are still all these examples of friendships that no longer exist.

I understand that people grow and move on. There are reasons why some friendships end but there are others that continue on uninterrupted so I know that they do not have to have an ending date. They can continue.

What I am really saying is that today as my son and I looked at these pictures I enjoyed reminiscing. It was fun to think about the good times and to laugh as remembered. What it really was is a reminder that I need to keep working at maintaining things. Tomorrow I have a few phone calls to make. It is time again to reach out and touch someone.


ifyouwillit... said...

Reading this, I was thinking this would never happen to me, until I reached I have always been good about staying in touch. I am the guy who will keep calling....

I guess it's a wake up to to the alarm that's been sounding slowling for a while.

westbankmama said...

This is a great post. Here in Israel it is very hard to keep up with friends because there is no Sunday (regular work day here). So the only people you see are the ones that invite you for Shabbat. As your family grows this becomes harder and harder. The only national holiday (not religious) is Yom HaAtzmaut (Israeli independence day).

If you are not a phone person (I know, I know, I may be one of the few females on the planet that really doesn't like talking on the phone!)than it is e-mail, or...nothing.

The only people I know who have a good social life are the retired folks.

Regina said...

It's funny because I was just scanning in old family pictures to keep them safe from the ravages of time. It's amazing when you look back and see the old images... and how it's not just friends we have problems keeping in touch with... family members as well. That's a shame. BTW, westbankmama- I hate talking on the phone! So you are not the only female!

Richmond said...

Hmmmm... I believe I have some calls to make today as well. Thanks, Jack.

Anonymous said...

One of my biggest regrets, seeing my kids grow up, is that these kids who are their friends now, who play such a vital role in their lives, will most likely not be around five years, ten years, or twenty years from now. It's a shame that we don't figure out to grab and hold on to meaningful relationships. Something always intervenes.

Jack Steiner said...


We all do the best that we can, at least we try. The thing is that life gets busy and you have less and less time to keep up.

You plan on calling but your kids need you, your wife has family in town, there is a plumbing problem at home and your boss keeps you late at the office etc.

You really have to work at it.


I don't mind the phone, but after a day of work/children I am just not that interested in speaking to anyone. I get so little me time.


The one thing that I haven't been good about is putting names and dates on the back of my pix. I have a good memory and for years it worked perfectly but time has taken its toll and some names are growing fuzzier.


What else is there to do in Wisconsin on a Winter's day. ;)

Soccer Dad,

Life is so busy. All we can do is try and make time and hope that others do so too.

Jack Steiner said...


If you were within a hundred yards you'd know. ;)

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