How to befriend someone 50 years later – 

 July 9, 2017

By  Jana Hassett

About a year ago I got a text message from someone asking if I was Jana Justice that graduated from Helix High in La Mesa California in the 60’s.  Turns out it was the daughter of my high school buddy that I hadn’t seen or talked with in 50 years. Needless to say, I was shocked and delighted to hear from her and over the next year we chatted and texted.

Her in-laws were planning a family reunion for this July 4th just 50 miles from here and could we get together during that time?   We planned to spend 2 ½ days together, see some sights, and “catch up”, and that we did.

I laid awake the night before we were to meet, wondering what I’d say, what would we talk about? What did we have in common after all these years.  I’m picking up a perfect stranger and bringing them into my home for 2+ days, is that okay?  Many questions, but no answers not until we actually stood face to face.

I’ve lost so many loved ones in my life I wasn’t as emotional as she first appeared.  She was so excited to see me and get a hug.  It’s always been unconditional love between us, for lots of reasons.  I helped a very shy, but fine human being, crawl out of her shell her last years of high school, and she and her family were my life-line to sanity and values.  But I wasn’t sure I’d remember enough of the details she seemed to treasure to make this trip a good one for her.

Over the two days we talked about all kinds of events.  I stopped trying to come up with things to talk about and just had a conversation with her.  I asked about her brothers and their well-being.  She talked a lot about her daughter that lives with her and how they make that work.  And I shared some events from my life the last 40 years, but not the really private ones.  I didn’t talk about the things I regret. And I didn’t share my abject failures.

We had a nice time together.  We weren’t goofy teenagers any more, but we were both happy (I think) with where we are now.  There was something else nagging at her, but she never did express it. The trip meant a great deal to her and I was glad we made it happen.  We vowed to continue our conversation as we move along.  I’m looking forward to the next chapter, maybe I’ll know more what question I should have asked.

Any ideas what I should have asked?  Do comment.

Until next time – – –

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