Saying goodbye to an old friend

I am one of those people who is constantly whining about technology. Of course, that is in part because I swim in it every day. It runs my life, and I think I am not alone.

In fact, I have a theory about all these gadgets that we now find ourselves so dependent on. It is this: I believe we are going to wake up one day in the not too distant future and find we are paying a horrific price for this manic need to be “plugged in” 24 hours a day.

Then again, maybe it’s just me.

There is, however, one overriding good thing I can say about technology, Facebook in particular. It has allowed me to make contact with old friends I have not talked to in years.

I’ve been able to reconnect with a lot of people I grew up with and went to high school with on Facebook. One in particular has been a frequent commenter on my Facebook posts, as well as my columns and blogs. We shared a love of sports, Philly sports in particular.

Unfortunately, there also is a downside to reconnecting with old friends. We’re getting older. While Facebook allows you to renew old friendships, it does not prepare you to say goodbye.

On Sunday morning, I got a Facebook message from another old friend, to inform me his older brother, my reacquainted Facebook friend and frequent commenter on my posts, had died of a sudden heart attack.

I probably had not seen and certainly not talked to Wes Singleton in more than 30 years, literally from shortly after the time both of us graduated from Oxford Area High School. Wes was in my sister’s class, a couple years ahead of me. His brother Jim was in my class. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You grow up in a small town like Oxford (yes, even though it now has a Dunkin Donuts and Walmart!) and you get to know the place - and the people who live there - pretty well.

We were all in the same classes, we took part in the school plays. We even started our very own student cheering section for basketball games that we called the Military Cheering Section (MCS). We played kazoos and generally tried to wreak havoc with the other team and their cheerleaders.

A few months ago, I was wandering around Facebook when I noticed a post with Wes’ name on it. I responded and we soon reconnected. We had been exchanging comments every other day now for the last couple of months.

And now he’s gone. My sister is bearing down on her 60th birthday, so I am assuming Wes would have turned 60 this year as well.

I’m two years younger.

Wes’ death is just the latest in what seems like a series of recent deaths and health maladies of people I know. I am the youngest of five children. Being “old” is something I’m not really prepared to deal with. But it’s here, and I guess it’s time to come to grips with it.

But first I will have to say goodbye to Wes.

I will miss our online conversations. Even though we hadn’t actually talked in years, you struck me as the same guy I knew way back then.

You were taken way too soon, Wes. The world could use a lot more people like you.

I appreciate that Facebook allowed us to reconnect. I just wish it could tell me how to say goodbye.


roberta scott said…
Wes was such a kind soul...he will be missed!