When You Reconnect with a Childhood Friend You Haven’t Seen in 20 Years

I have known Josh Johnson since 1985. We grew up together in Fort Payne, Alabama and graduated high school there in 1999.

One of my earlier memories in life was when his mom picked us up from Mother’s Day Out preschool and we went to his house to play.

He’s one of those people I’ve always known and have been connected to; without even meaning to or even trying. I was just always in his life and he was just always in mine: Like the concept of a “constant”, as explained in the famous TV show, Lost.

So it wasn’t random that during Class Night, which is an official celebration a few days before high school graduation, my mom snapped a photo of us together. After all, we knew each other since before Kindergarten.

The next time I would see him would be a year and a half later, randomly at the local Mexican restaurant, Mi Casita, the summer before I transferred from community college to the university where got my degree in Virginia.

And then… twenty years would pass. 

This year, my wife and I had planned our first ever “vacation without the kids” for June, in Florida… but Covid Culture messed up that plan.

So we decided to move our plans to Denver in September.

I’m not exactly sure why I knew or remembered that Josh ended up in the Denver area, but somehow that knowledge was still in my head.

Though he hasn’t logged into Facebook in years, I was able to track him down (it makes sense, as I am a recruiter for a living) and let him know about our upcoming trip.

And as the picture above proves, last Saturday, he and I reunited after 20 years; since the year 2000.

What we both probably imagined would be maybe an hour, there at Navah Coffee House, ended up being 4 hours instead! We had so much to talk about- the only reason we left after only 4 hours was because my wife and I needed to catch our flight back to Nashville.

I think something that has become apparent at this point in our lives, is that we are forever connected. Some people you just can’t shake off.

And I’m pretty sure that next time, it won’t be another 20 years this time before we see other again.

Picking Up Where We Left Off Last Time: Going Back to the Future After “To Be Continued”

The phrase “to be continued…” is a way of life for me.

In the summer of 1988 one of the things I remember most is watching reruns of The Incredible Hulk with my mom.  So many of the episodes ended with “to be continued…” flashed up on the screen.  For some reason, that really excited me.  Even to this day, if a TV show ends with that phrase I like it more than a regular episode.

Yes, closure is an important part of life.  But in my mind, the door is never really closed just because time separates me from another person.  (Obviously, I’m not including the given exception of ex-girlfriends. Instead, I’m referring to everyone else.) Childhood classmates and guys from my college dorm.  Anyone I’ve ever met in my life- I don’t forget them.  I may not remember many details about them- but at least in the smallest of ways, I remember them.

Therefore, something I have to remind myself of is this- my way of thinking and exceptionally good memory are not necessarily the norm.  Just because I can remember specific quotes from something someone said in 5th grade, it doesn’t mean they do, or necessarily even care.  The file folder in my head for that person reads “last seen: May 1998- to be continued…”  Theirs for me reads “last seen- sometime in high school- relationship terminated/cancelled”.

When I am reacquainted with a person I haven’t heard from in years or decades, I have this habit of immediately bringing up the first positive memory I have of that person.  For me, it’s like time never passed.  Interestingly, that’s how I think it will be after we die and are reunited with people in eternity.  Since time doesn’t really exist in the afterlife, we just pick up where we left off.