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« Oscars 2009: My Personal Best! | Main | Stretched Out »

February 28, 2009


Danny, Facebook is like revisiting the old neighborhood without having to actually go there. There is a level of comfort, being "around" people you grew up with, even if you weren't necessarily good friends at the time.
We all knew the same people, hung out at the same park, same McDonalds, saw movies and shopped at Lincoln Village, etc.

It's also a window to a more carefree time, where all we had to worry about was staying out of trouble!

If I find myself feeling too giddy about reconnecting with people from the past, I can always go back to today's stress-filled life!

In the meantime, save me a spot on the park bench....

Dear Danny,
First of all, do I win a prize ? LOL. I correctly picked you out in both class photos.
On one of those "What year did you graduate?" web sites, I reconnected with some of my classmates after a space of about 35 years. We didn't have a lot to talk about. And, one of them sent a spam email to me entitled, "Can a Muslim be a Good American ?" Of course, it was aimed at Barack Obama during the campaign. My response was an "F" word filled tirade. So, I guess I'm one of those guys who has no interest in staying connected to those people in my distant past.

I really do miss the growing up years when I had no responsibilities. That's what I see in your first two photos above.

I wish I could write like you do. You're writing is always so intelligent and filled with all the details that make a story interesting and fun.

Thanks for yet another great post. My favorites are when you talk about your childhood experiences, growing up.


I love this post.

I am a supremely preoccupied individual regarding the past. Just this week I bought a copy of "You Can Go Home Again" by Monica McGoldrick because I have the soul of an archivist and the docs, from my own family of origin story, to go with it and she is very interested in genealogy and psychology.

I have very few real human beings from the past with whom I can connect. I had moved 55 times by the time I was 35, so leaving has always been easier than staying and I most certainly pissed off a lot of people with whom I would now like to talk. But, what can you do?

Your writing brings tears to my eyes frequently, and not just when I'm flying on Kir Royales.

Are you going to go see "Must Read After My Death" up at the Laemmle Sunset 5? I'm thinking of going tomorrow at 1pm.


I love that the title of this post comes from a showtune.

I love that this is the clearest explanation of "Why Facebook?" I've read yet (esp. since I just spoke to 100 actors about that very question today).

Mostly, I love this as a shining example of the value of "personal" blogs. The best ones use our own lives as a lens through which we can see bigger truths. This is one of those rare blogs, and this post stands out among so many fine ones.

Well done, Danny Miller. Maybe because I feel the same way about the happy girl I see in my own pictures. Or maybe because you articulated it so I *could* feel it more precisely.

I think that we nolonger can remember all the accurate details of our lives as we get older. We have memories that are clouded by the actions that we have taken, good or bad. I know that I had friends in grade school and that we hung out. I can remember what we did.... A few special memories stand out, I want to hear about what others remember of those same times to compare and fill in the gaps. That's why all the intrest connecting with people from the past. Facebook is a great conduit. I know that we have all tried to find someone we knew but could not locate them. These networks are like a directory to our past lives.

I'm embarrassed: I just sent you a friend invite on Facebook. I feel so common, so predictable... (*)

That said, what a marvelous trip to the past. These photos look all too familiar--albeit not of me, yet they easily could be as much as they are of you. Something about this post smells of familiar things, bittersweet insights into my own past.

Thank you!

* And because Typepad kicked out my first and second (and third and fourth) attempts to post this comment with something as tedious as "We can't accept this post," I see I'm adding this comment long after Facebook updates and comment updates and yadda yadda yadda...

Danny, I too, originally got on Facebook to "spy" on my daughter. She was not happy AT ALL about the pressure from her sisters to "friend me" but she ultimately gave in. And here I am, a year + later, finding such joy in reconnecting with old faces from the past. It's so interesting to me that many of the people I have friended on FB were mere acquaintances in grade school (I was a Solomon girl) and at Von, and yet now there is true excitement in reconnecting. I think you are so right ~ our memories of the past are skewed. And I think Les is also right, that going back "there" brings such comfort ~ a connection that we all share ~ and there is joy in that.

I remember that maroon t-shirt very well. Thanks for the Facebook lesson this morning.

I was 17 when I left Chicago. I lost touch with so many of our classmates. This Facebook adventure has really been great. I am enjoying reconnecting with everyone. It's much easier than going back to Chicago and trying to call everyone to say hello. Besides, I have no desire to return to Chicago. I have no home there anymore. My home is in Florida now. Chicago is merely the place where I grew up.

Was it really all that care free? Nice post.

Danny, the interesting thing about you and your Facebook and your past is that we grew up around the same time, and I'm absolutely gobsmacked when you post about your past. I love the photos, I love reading about your friends and your schools. But honestly, I have NO interest in going back to my own past. None. It wasn't happy, I didn't have a lot of friends, I was miserable most of the time, and lord knows WHY I'd want to return to that. No thanks.

But I'm happy to live vicariously thru you.

Danny, Now I am going to have to join facebook even thou my boys told me it would embarrass them! Oh well I'm doing it anyway! Love the pictures that you posted and I can just about name everyone in them too! See you over there!

I recently got together with friends from an art and music camp I attended during Jr. and Sr. Hi. Yes, there were photos of me that I'd never seen! Wow...I was kinda' cute back then, but didn't realize it. It was fun to see everyone and visit, but we haven't really kept up since our get-together. Maybe we too need Facebook instead of just e-mail. Thanks for the tip.

I love when you write about Peterson School. The experience of growing up in our neighborhood still mystifies me. When I see the black and white photo you posted, which looks exactly like all my classroom photos even though I was in a different year, I think they must have been taken much earlier, like the 50s, not the mid 60s. When I mention to some people where/when I grew up, they ask, "were there still Jews in Chicago in the sixties?" because they're under the impression everyone decamped for the burbs. It also amazes me how much your experience and mine have in common even though we were a few years apart. Each class year felt so uniquely our own. One of my favoritest places was the Hollywood Bowl, across the street from school. Was that still around when you were in school? It was a penny candy store with a grill in back though I never ate there.

You are verrrry reminiscent of Spencer in that 7th-grade photo.

Great reminiscences. Like you, I had a rupture in my life in the early 70's (will the similarities never end?!!) -- although a far less traumatic one -- and I find myself constantly seeing myself in that time or through that lens. Maybe it's because I'm spending so much time back in my old neighborhood these days -- and with people half my age.

And like you, I've just recently reconnected with dozens of friends from that era -- on Facebook.

OMG, you always bring me back. I remember that shirt on you too! My memory is not so sharp, but you always give it a shake and I am back there. I remember you as happy, fun and helpful with a dry and zany sense of humor and very seldom unhappy, so I am sad for you that these emotions and internals prevail. My parents did not divorce but they should have, home life for me was also unhappy so I really get it. Maybe that is why my memory is not so sharp... there goes the psych major in me. See you on facebook!

Danny, I agree with a previous commenter--you look like Spencer in your 7th-grade picture. Another great post!

Memory is a funny thing. You should listen to a show on New York Public Radio called Radiolab. They did a whole show on memory, very interesting. I seriously love this show, its so good!!!

FAcebook is such a strange too. Some days I can get weirdly obsessed with it, and others, I find it overwhelming and stay away from it.

It's been great for me, because I'm horrible at staying in touch with people and FB makes it so easy.

I found a guy who lived down the street from me in Alsip from 1975 - 79. He was so shy he hardly ever spoke to me, even when I was in his basement playing Barbies with his sister. Now that we're older, we have such similar tastes in everything and he's super "chatty". It's great He still lives in the Chicago area, so hopefully soon I'll get to go meet him and his girlfriend there.

I joined Facebook for a little while and tried to get involved but heart wasn't in it. Then one day I abruptly closed the site and left. I am not sure why. One reason might be that I have enough going on in my life and I didn't want to deal with one more thing.

But, it does keep calling to me. Maybe when I get my degree in May and am finished with school, I will have more time.

I have been thinking alot about memory lately because of my father's dementia. I went to visit him a couple of weeks ago and he remembered me, but it was hard to talk to him. He had moments of lucidity, but they were sporadic.

Memory is precious. I didn't realize how precious until I saw the evidence that it can be taken away.

I spent a good part of the last 18 months picking through my past--old letters, diaries, etc. It was a form of therapy, I think, a way of looking back one more time and letting go of the past.

I have four friends who have been with me since I was about 14 and they anchor me and connect me to my teen years more than my family does. I have carried friends forward from all phases of my life and left some behind too.

Lots of old classmates have turned up on Facebook but I generally don't friend everyone who messages me. I'll touch base with old classmates via e-mail but don't necessarily want them "observing" my life too closely. I consider my Facebook page the more private of my online spaces.

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