Two messages and a chat

I didn’t have to wait very long.  The very next morning, he sent me a Facebook message.

August 20 at 9:50am

How you doing? I see you are still living in Mass. In Washington myself. This is an account that I have tried to shut down. Looked for you from the FB account I use and could not find you. Guess you have searches blocked. look for me under Phil Xxxxx or email is Hope life is treating you well. I see a big smile so I assume that to be the case. Look forward to hearing from you.
I stared at it awhile.  It was so folksy!  straightforward and well-written with a little info and two ways to get more.   Which I desperately wanted to do.   So I starting writing.  I re-wrote it about 50 times, trying to be completely honest, upbeat and brief. 
August 20 at 10:55am
Philip! Wow! What a blast from the past! Great to see your smiling face on Classmates. I wish we could sit down over a pizza. 🙂
The FB account you’re trying to ditch is the only one that shows up when I google you or search FB. I can’t find your preferred account under that name or email either…I just enabled my public search setting, so you should be able to find my FB account with your other account now. Give it a try? Or we could switch to email. Whatever you prefer.
I’d love to hear about your life, family, work etc. Are you in D.C. itself or a burb? We visit Rockville MD sometimes. Who do you keep up from the old home town? My entire family lives here now – my parents moved over here – so I don’t go back anymore.
So ask me whatever you want to know, and tell me lots of news!
I sat at my desk at work, wondering if I’d said the right thing.  When will he write back?

I got another message very quickly!

August 20 at 11:20am
I do go back to the old home town fairly often. My entire family is still there. My brother lives there so I stay up there fairly often. I think of you every time I drive by the old church. Think about your Dad too. I hope he is doing well.
I don’t see that many people when I am in town. Most have moved away. I usually see people with my brother. The town seems to be fading but then I guess it always was. Still nice to go up there. Its a nice change from my place.
I have been in the military all these years. Its been a wonderful life. I’ve been just about every where anybody wants to go.  I am stationed in Washington now. I will be moving soon for one last tour and then retire and figure out what to do with myself. A beach house in Costa Rica sounds like a good start.
Been married to Sally all along. Had a bump in the road the past couple of years but on the mend now. Mid life crisis maybe, bitchy woman more likely. I have two kids.  there are pictures posted. Going to upload more over the weekend. Life has been good.
What are you up to now? It’s wonderful to hear from you. As I get older, I find myself more interested in old friends. Spent some time talking to folks from high school recently.
It’s great to be in touch. Please give my regards to your folks.
I was staring at that when the Facebook chat window opened!  

11:22am Phil Dropped you a quick note. getting ready to make the miserable drive to the beach. The drive sucks but its nice once I get there
11:22am Me Heh! It worked!
11:22am Phil I will be in your area in December. We could have that pizza, or maybe a lobster
11:23am Me Sounds great! Thanks for the note. How can it be 30+ years? Yikes… 
11:26am Phil Hard to believe. Just look at my pictures, you will see the years. Still feel good though.
11:27am Me I have to say I was wracking my brain trying to remember anything about you or us….not much left there. But I think you were “good people” so it’s fun to start over… 
11:30am Phil Was a long time ago. I still have fond memories, have not forgotten much. I hope I’m still good people. There’s a picture or two of us in a yearbook at a dance, talk about a blast from the past!
11:30am Me My dad just turned 88! 
11:31am Phil Wow, mine is 87, hard to believe.
11:32am Me He and Mom have a condo just down the hill from my little sister, her husband and their little girl 
11:33am Phil It’s nice that everyone is together. makes it so much easier to help them out and spend time. I have to make an effort to get up to see my folks. I go as often as i can now.
11:34am Me Yes, my dad just got home yesterday from a month in the hospital and rehab (broken toe, got awful infection, heart trouble etc) so nice they’re right here.
Where are your kids? How old?
11:35am Phil My kids live at the beach. Daughter and son in their 20’s.
11:36am Me I poked around FB looking at your family and was astonished to see that your younger brother has a son who is a big, married guy with kids. Yikes!
Are you a…grandfather? I have a mean old cat.  
11:37am Phil Oh no. I am not a grandfather. I’m not nearly mature enough for that. I’ve been accused of not growing up. Not sure I could live in a small town anymore. I’ve become spoiled by the convenience of city life. Was a great place to grow up though.
11:43am Me I loved it while I was there, but now look back and wonder how I ever lived in that fish bowl…
11:46am Phil Oh yea, everyone knew what you were doing. You managed to have a good time though.
11:47am Me I probably should stop babbling and let you drive off to the beach…and get back to work. This is a crazy time in my office.
12:01pm Phil Nothing wrong with a mean old cat. I have dogs. There are pictures of them posted.  I’m off to the beach.  Have a great weekend! Wonderful hearing from you. Looking forward to that pizza in December.
12:03pm Me Ping me whenever…have fun!

I copied the text out of the chat window into a Word doc, so I could read it over.  Holy cow!  We talked for 40 minutes.  He was so easy to talk with!  I could have kept going.  He’s such a nice guy!  So he’s got a trip up here… that’s probably what pushed him to find me.  I went back to work but could not help wondering… When will he contact me again?  

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