At first glance, they are group of strangers; middle aged, graying people with the trials and tribulations of their lives scored into their foreheads and around their mouths. I scan the photos eagerly, searching for recognition, clues of identity that thirty years of absence have buried.
I haven't seen these faces of my college classmates for three decades, and now they smile back at me from tagged images on Facebook. I try to zoom in to read the the blurred name tags on their chests, to no avail. Why can't I recognize anyone? Have I forgotten that I too am a middle aged woman? I click furiously through the photos trying desperately to find the boyish looks that I remember in the grown men before me. Then I get a break -- and make a connection -- oops - that was my "ex". I finally come across some photos with tags. Why is it the minute you see the name, the face becomes instantly recognizable? The image in front of you is supplanted by the one you remember.
I had an easier time with the women. My friend Imbi still had the long deep dimples in her rosy cheeks and Melissa was the same serene beauty she was way back when. It made me a little sad that I had missed the reunion. I often wonder how everyone's lives turned out. We stoked some big dreams thirty years ago and there was an eternal stream of optimism. We left one another, draft scripts in hand, yet to be played out.
Judging from what I could tell, most are enjoying a good run. And there is something satisfying and pleasing in seeing our youthful idealism and ambition cloaked in a softer, wiser (and maybe a little larger) frame. It's kind of like learning how the story turned out. It's all good (and I have a few new Facebook friends).