My FB post, suitably revised for here with a little more detail. This is less public than FB.
It's funny how with a birthday coming up you get nostalgic. And if you're not careful you can get the wrong sort of nostalgic. I left university in the late 1980's. (UEA Norwich). But thoughts are wandering back there. I found myself remembering names, faces, trying to put names to faces that bobbed up.... started looking people up, out of interest, to see what some of these suddenly-recalled people might be up to now.
I'm not naming names on a public forum like FB. (I suspect that now and again, other people have looked me up. Not bothered about that, FB is a public space. Material people have chosen to go public with - well, they can't complain either, nor try to control who looks at it.) . Some surprises. There was a woman who was going to go places - she had the right blend of self-confidence, personality, assertion, et c. It showed. And go places she did, up until quite recently. I was sure I recognised her on the street in Didsbury, Manchester, a few years back. (she didn't recognise me, though, Just as well). Yesterday, I read that she went through seriously bad times a couple of years ago, and lost everything. Her story even made the national press, but as she worked in PR, and I recall she wrote for the Guardian at one time, that didn't surprise me. She would have had the connections to get it into national papers. For her, everything went - husband, high-flying career, house, home. We weren't close, anything but, but I read her story and felt bad for her. You wouldn't want that to happen to anyone, and when you read about it happening to somebody you know by face and name and had a tangential association with.... not good. But I did think "Well, you've joined the club, Michele. A small select group of UEA grads who hit rock bottom. Then had to get back up again." Harder to get back up when you've had further to fall, I suppose, and your life hasn't previously known poverty or destitution. Must be a learning curve for somebody from a well-off middle class family with a history of well-rewarded career acheivement - having to claim benefits and try to get a council house. And no, I'm not being embittered or gloating in any way. I do feel desperately sorry for her. Possibly because I've hit rock bottom too and I know what that felt like. I would not wish that on anybody.
Another of those remembered names and faces was this guy who I worked with in an eaterie in Norwich, and who at the time was good to me when I needed encouragement. He's doing OK now. If you've visited my FB page, GW, I'm glad of that, and I thank you for being decent and fair-minded to me despite no doubt having heard my ex GF's side of the story. I'm not hitting the "add friend" button, as I note Claire Parry is on your friends list. After what happened there a year or two back, and my original FB account was lasered out of existence. No way.
Then there's the affable Dutch chap I did some am-dram with. Not that he'll remember.
Then I found (online) the girl I was catastrophically infatuated with a long, long, time ago. Glad she's done well for herself, and that she lives a long way away in a part of England I have no plans to visit. May it remain that way. I could write more about this but maybe FB is not the place: if i can bring myself to do so it'll be here, but with discretion, as I'm aware identifying the person could cause her embarrassment and I really do not want to do that. Let's just say I recognised her photo instantly (mixed feelings) and felt a sort of relief it all seemed to work out for the best all round. And very carefully naming no names nor providing clues.
And above all, avoiding the "send message" and "add friend" buttons. I tried this once and believe me it did **not** end happily. If anyone reading this is somebody who recognises my name from UEA days and was moved to look me up - don't be a stranger. Talk to me. Leave a message. If you have issues with me, then we can talk about them, get it all out in the open and dealt with. Thanks!