Monday, September 19, 2011

Where are They Now?

Occasionally, I fall for a magazine, stacked up at the cash register of a grocery store, when it trumpets from the cover WHERE ARE THEY NOW?  Usually, there is a photo spread of stars of yesteryear, or other people in the public.  I am always curious about the paths that people's lives take.

With the arrival of social networking sites, such as Facebook, we can now indulge in our own version of "Where are they now?"  Maybe you have played this game.  After you sign up with Facebook, chase down immediate friends, relatives, neighbors, whoever--eventually you get to the point where you wonder "who else can I friend?"  (Sorry, it annoys me as much as you that we have converted yet ANOTHER noun into a verb!  After all, isn't "befriend" a perfectly good verb? Yet FB insists on "friend" as the verb form...but I digress.)

I love the graph below suggesting who finds YOU on Facebook.  Thus far that has not been my experience.  I have, however, had the experience of befriending someone who later, summarily "unfriended" me.  And, truth be told, I have done the same thing.  After all, no need to be subjected to reading updates about things which matter not on whit to me.

If you like the above graph, you can find more at

Recently, one of my Blogger friends, AC, hauled out a third grade photo, and had his readers guessing which cherub was him. That post engendered another, as he found a second grade photo as well.

That got me to musing...I know somewhere I have a fourth grade photo.  So I hauled it out.  I have only one such school photo.  Most of my elementary school days were spent in government run schools in then Rhodesia.  I don't think they took class photos there.  At any rate, in the mid-1950s, my parents returned to the U.S. for a furlough (extended vacation time).

Time enough for me to go to part of third grade and fourth grade at the Shepherdstown Elementary School.  My teachers were Mr. Meyers and Mr. Ryder.  How unusual then to have had two men as grade school teachers.  Looking at the photo, I have distinct recollections of most of the students.  One girl, standing right next to me, was named Ginny. 

I suspect every class has someone like her.  You see, her problem was cleanliness.  Or rather lack thereof.  She came to school day after day, frequently in repeat clothing.  Her hair was dishevelled, her face unwashed.  And her body odor was painfully rank.  Poor girl.  No--really.  POOR girl.  I don't know who cared for her, if anyone.  No one in class would tell her she needed to bathe, and use deodorant.  We all steered clear as much as we could.

By the time my family returned to the U.S. in the 1960s, and I finished high school, returning to the same school system, many of those third grade classmates were still there.  But not Ginny. 

Well, Facebook hasn't revealed any Ginnys to me.  I do not recall her family name at all.  And, yes, there are times when I wonder "Where is she now?"


Ruth said...

It has been interesting to get reacquainted on FB with people I have not seen in 30+ years. But there are people on my "friend" list who wouldn't cross the road to say hi in real life. I wonder at the Ginnys we all knew while growing up. People didn't inquire about abuse and neglect as much as they do now. (love that graph!)

Anvilcloud said...

Cute graph, and I guess you're right about the verbing thing. lol

I can't see anyone holding their nose, so I don't know which is you or Ginny, poor girl.

NCmountainwoman said...

I have refused to join Face Book and Twitter. I figure I can already contact the people with whom I want to maintain contact.

The thing that strikes me about your class photograph is the lone black child.

I do often stop and wonder what's happened to some of my classmates but my curiosity isn't strong enough for me to seek them out.

KGMom said...

@Ruth--I suspect there were many Ginnys. Today at least we have counselors and people whose job it is to help spot problem issues.

@AC--2nd row from the back, I am fifth in from the left (Mr. Ryder's side).

@NCMW--I too noted that lone black child. We had a navy depot close by, so the occasional black student might be in our classes whose parents were stationed at the depot. Also, one of our graduating class was a young black woman--she lived at a nearby Methodist orphanage. Not sure that there are any orphanages anymore.

kenju said...

I knew several "Ginnys" when I was in school. One I heard had died young and the others I don't know about. They haven't surfaced at reunions or on FB either.

Ginnie said...

When I went to my 50th High School reunion it was heartening to see that one of the "ginny's" in my class had become a very successful store owner. It would have been impossible to forecast that ... but she showed us all up!

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

My class picture at that age looks much like yours in manner of dress.
It seems we are of the same generation. . . .almost.

We had a Ginny on our second grade class. She had red hair and translucent white skin and always smelled like she wet her pants. It took me years to get over my dislike of red headed people. When I got two lovely red headed nieces I had to get over it.

I guess I was not the oly one with this prejudice. I read lately that sperm banks do not want donations from red headed people. There is little demand except in Ireland and I assume the Faroes Islands.

Nance said...

I found your sweet little face first, then confirmed it in your comment to AC.

We had several Ginny's, male and female, in our school. I've had the privilege of meeting one of them and of being found and "friended" by another on Facebook. Both have fared much better than I'd ever have guessed.

The one story is worth telling, I think. In first grade, there was a boy who was both poor and developmentally disabled. He was not a mean boy, but terribly impulsive and generally overwhelming to my teacher. We visited the railroad station on an outing once and he fell from the platform onto the tracks...that sort of thing at worst, and daily distractions and upsets to the class at best. I left that school in sixth grade and lost touch.

My cousin died a ten years ago. That boy, then a middle-aged man, was at the funeral. He had been the caretaker and janitor at the social service agency my cousin had managed. He was sharply dressed, warmly greeted by all he met, obviously valued. And he recognized me at once. It had been almost fifty years. He introduced himself, conveyed his deep sympathy, and said it had been his good luck to have remained acquainted with my family all those years.

I didn't know. I'd been traveling and living away all that time. My cousin had gotten to watch him grow and thrive in his community. They had been of service to each other.

I'm hoping Ginny's story turned out as well or better.