Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Positive words about Facebook

Last week my former college roommate (and maid of honor for my wedding) tracked me down after twenty years or so, which pleased me very much. She invited me to join Facebook to see more pictures of her and her family. Being the paranoid person I am, I asked around about how much personal info. I'd have to give and who could see it. Reassured, I joined, and I've been very glad that I did.

I won't name any names, because I wouldn't want people getting my info. from Facebook and publishing about me on their personal blogs, but I've been touched and surprised by the number of old college friends who have noticed that I am on Facebook and have sent me friend requests. These are people, in several cases, about whom I've thought often over the years and wondered, but after the manner of lazy human beings, have done nothing about locating.

I realize now that one reason I have left my college years behind me is because I am not entirely proud of my own behavior in college. I went to Baptist Bible College in Clarks Summit, PA, at the age of 16. And a half. Don't blame my parents. They didn't know what to do with me at home, I had knocked myself out finishing high school early for the express purpose of going to college early, and I would have given them no peace if they had tried fairly pointlessly to keep me in Chicago. Plus, I was more or less unemployable. They probably hoped that this would change if I got a bachelor's degree. So, at considerable expense to them (a point I did not appreciate nearly enough at the time), I went the 900 miles to a small Christian college.

It really wasn't nearly as rough for such a young student as it might have been. The atmosphere was carefully monitored and quite wholesome; the entire student body came from conservative Baptist churches and was expected to behave accordingly, which they more or less did. So there were no shocks, just the general feeling of defensiveness at being at least two years and more younger than everyone around me, looking younger still, and being something of a nuisance.

My solution was to glom onto anyone who was nice to me and pour my largely imaginary woes and largely indefensible prejudices and opinions into the ears of such patient people as fulfilled that description. And to the credit of human nature and Christian charity, several did. I had friends, almost all of them juniors and seniors when I arrived (hence, something on the order of four years older than me, and therefore perhaps even more mature and kindly than the freshmen).

Now, yea, these years later, a surprising number of these generous people have made contact with me voluntarily, and I've been able to find out what they've been up to. In several places, that information has been especially humbling: One family has adopted a son with many special needs, another family has nine children, and another former college mate travels abroad every year to make films of the poorest of the poor for the hunger relief organization he works for.

So I've just added a link to this blog to my rather spare Facebook profile, and if any of y'all come over here, this is just to say--Thanks, guys! And I'm glad to be back in touch. Feel free to comment, if you want. (Hint, hint.)

I should add that, as advertised, Facebook is a very low-key site and appears to be very safe. I have received no spam from them, and I've seen only one inappropriate ad in the margin. You don't even have to give your address, etc., when you sign up, because there is a "skip this page" option for all of that info. that you might not want to pass around too much. The only thing they definitely require, besides an e-mail address, is date of birth, presumably for legal reasons. So I recommend it.

P.S. I am in the far bottom right corner of the above picture, which a Facebook friend found and uploaded. This was our drama team. All names have been omitted to protect the innocent.


Richard D said...

I, too, enjoy Facebook. It has put me in touch with quite a few friends from back in the days before I had early-onset Alzheimers. Which means that I quite often have trouble figuring out who's who when I receive friendship requests.

But I remembered the Freshman who was younger than most and was tiny and adorable. Thanks for reconnecting. And may I say: What a long way you've come from those days!

It's great to know you again!

Lydia McGrew said...

Aw. Gee. Shucks.

Thanks, Rich!

And thanks for coming by.

Richard D said...

I came too early and didn't see this cool picture that you've added. I love it! You need to post everything you have from BBC to Facebook so we can all look at them and laugh and remember and cry and all that other good stuff.

One of our other friends has posted quite a few photos from those days and I have greatly enjoyed them. Even though it pointed out to me that I spent way too much time in the music building and not enough time socializing.

Lydia McGrew said...

You mean people weren't socializing in the music building? Gee, I thought that was what the music building was _for_. :-)

Actually, my chief memory of the way you spent your time, Rich, was very sociable: You played your guitar under the willow tree, and anybody could come and hang around and listen.

I got that picture from somebody else on Facebook. I don't have any BBC pictures that I can locate prior to an engagement party for Tim and me, and I just went through all my old pictures this spring. It looks like either I didn't have a camera in college (but I'm pretty sure I _did_ have a camera) or never used it. Kind of odd. I remember our buying one when I was pregnant with Eldest Daughter in 1992, so that looks like whatever camera I'd had before had disappeared somewhere along the way.

Bill said...

I've been touched and surprised by the number of old college friends who have noticed that I am on Facebook

I haven't had a single old friend find me on Facebook. Not a one.

Whose idea was it that you go to Baptist Bible College? Yours or your parents?

So you thought you were a nuisance, but it turns out you're "tiny and adorable." By the way, any chance that girl in the upper right corner is still available?

How'd you get done with high school so young? Were you smart or something?

I've seen only one inappropriate ad in the margin.

What's your idea of inappropriate? I saw one urging us to register to vote with Obama's picture in the banner, which of course revolted me.

William Luse said...

That above comment was from me, btw.

Lydia McGrew said...

Hey, Bill, in reverse order: My idea of inappropriate is an ad for making a particular type of movie, the word for which I won't give here. Fortunately (perhaps because of my ad-blocking software?) there were no illustrative pictures, and I didn't go and read the ad carefully. I'm not sure if it was an ad for someone else's movie of this sort or an ad for "make-your-own" of this sort of movie. Either way, highly inappropriate, to put it mildly.

I got done with h.s. so young because my h.s. was at that time very small and used a Christian curriculum for very small high schools that was programmed learning. You did a certain number of "learning pacs" to complete a year's worth of credit in a subject, and a determined student could work like the dickens and finish all the learning pacs for four years in three. I had skipped third grade. I have a winter birthday and so would always be either a little older or a little younger than the strictly typical student in a grade. At first I was that little bit older, then they skipped me over third grade. So I was only 13 1/2 going into h.s., then I deliberately ramped up the effort and finished in three years and was 16 1/2 going into college.

Isn't the young lady in the upper right beautiful? I always thought so. Really nice, too, and a talented actress. She's married. She just made me a Facebook friend the other day.

I picked BBC after being taken on a round of college visits in my junior year. Most churches would provide these big trips where they took kids to several different colleges in their denomination. I think we visited four on that trip, and I went on a different trip with a different church to one other. My parents said they would pay for college only if I went to a Christian college. I think they had a good point, esp. if I was going to go and live on campus. But I could have picked almost any evangelical Christian college. I figured considering five was pretty wide-ranging. The campus visit to BBC went the best, but the determining factor was the two summers during which the same brass quintet of guys had come to Camp Manitoumi (which I've mentioned before) where I was working and had spent lots of time with me. They were great guys. One of them was a top-notch pianist, and I used to listen to him for nearly all my free hours while he was practicing. I would just sit there quiet as a mouse. He could really play. I was planning at that time to be a music major, and he was a great advertisement for BBC's music program.