Where is your Very First Friend Today?

Everyone in an idle moment tries googling for high school friends who haven’t been heard from in five or ten years. "Hey, I wonder whatever happened to…"

But have you ever googled for your very first friend, your first friend from toddlerhood? I mean, because, you have so much to catch up on.

"How’s it going ol’ pal? Do you still eat paste? Boy, things really started happening for me once I stopped wetting my bed. Hey, I own my own house now and I can draw on any wall I want! It’s great."

Photo of Hayes and I sitting down in a backyard, smiling for the camera.

Hayes and I, or me and Hayes. I’ll let you guess. We’re wearing matching Looney Toons shirts featuring an assortment of cartoon characters squared off in boxes, covering every inch of the fabric. It’s one of my few 3-year-old memories, bolstered by this photo.

Well, last month I brought home a box of my childhood artwork that was saved by my mother. Inside was a birthday card from Hayes, my first friend, given to me on my third birthday. There was also a photo of us taped to an autobiography I wrote in the fifth grade (displayed here).

Hmm, I thought, maybe I can find Hayes quickly and e-mail him the photo. It would be fun to hear where he is today. It would be sort of like phoning into my high school reunion, except I don’t really know the person and have no shared memories to reminisce because my family moved away before my fourth birthday. Great, huh?

Step 1: I googled for Hayes’ first and last name, placing the name "in quotes" to search for it as a phrase. Bingo. Only 1 page turned up. It was at a church’s web site and mentioned his name and his mother’s name.

Step 2: I called my mom to confirm Hayes’ mother’s name. It matched the one on the web page.

Step 3: I searched for a phone number on whitepages.com, supplying Hayes’ last name and the city where the church is located. One potential listing showed up for his mother.

Step 4: I called the phone number one evening and talked to his father. "Do you have a son named Hayes and did you live in _____ in the 1970s?" Perfect! I found Hayes’ parents!

Now, it must be a little unsettling to receive a phone call from a 3-year-old whom you last saw 30+ years ago. It was more so in this case because the father never even knew me. I saw my friend during daytime visits while my mother attended League of Women Voter meetings at my friend’s house. His dad was always at work.

The dad didn’t share any information with me over the phone, other than to say his son had earned a college degree and isn’t working in his field of study today. The dad would defer to his son to share more. Only, I didn’t hear back. I did manage to get the father’s e-mail address and sent him the photo, but still didn’t hear anything in return.

Sorry. This isn’t a perfectly wrapped up fun little story. I wonder what exactly did happen to my friend.

  • Maybe he experienced a debilitating accident or disease.
  • Maybe he doesn’t have e-mail in jail.
  • Maybe he’s far too successful and busy to bother with me.
  • Maybe he thinks I’m a blithering idiot to be bothering him.
  • Maybe he doesn’t even remember me—I don’t remember any of my other toddler friends because I don’t have their photos to anchor my memory.

Who knows. I’m still glad I made the attempt, regardless of how goofy it may seem.


One Response to “Where is your Very First Friend Today?”

  1. Mark says:

    Most of my really good friends from young childhood, (ie, the ones I actually still remember) I’m still kinda in touch with to one degree or another. I have googled a couple of “best” friends from elementary school and HS that I lost touch with and actually got in touch with them. It’s amazing how the internet can keep connections alive.

    April 13th, 2007 at 5:15 pm

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