Monday, December 3, 2012

Serendipity, Facebook and One BFF

Last week I had one of those experiences that only come with being a Facebook user. And a blog reader.

The whole thing started back in sixth grade when I met my best friend forever, Curly Pam. We went through junior high and high school, undergraduate years at UCLA and into and beyond graduate school. Thick as thieves, we promised to be best friends. And we were, until we grew apart. I came to think that Curly Pam was meant to be my best friend for those years, but who was not meant to come into the future with me. Still, I never forgot her. Our paths crossed about every few years when we'd find an old address book and reach out with a letter. Until about ten years ago when the letters ceased. The last one came back, undelivered and undeliverable.

I wondered what happened to her. Had she died? Did she no longer want to correspond with a friend from the past who wasn't enough of a friend in the present or future? The last letter I had was from Fairbanks where she was living with her bush pilot husband, Jay. Had their plane crashed?

That brings us to the present. I love The Blood-Red Pencil, a blog written by a group of writers on a wide variety of topics. One entry was a wonderful review/discussion about a Western writer named Slim Randles. Can there be a better name for a Western writer?

Slim Randles? I knew a Slim Randles and his younger brother Bob Randles back at UCLA when dinosaurs walked the earth and dirt was young. I clicked the links and read Slim's bio. Too many touch points with what I remembered about my friend's brother. I asked the blog writer what she knew about Slim, but she didn't know if he was from Southern California or not.

I found Slim on Facebook and sent him a message. Within minutes, he responded that he was indeed THAT Slim Randles and could put me in touch with his brother. This would not have happened if Facebook didn't let these links come together.

Slim and Bob both married Pams. Slim married Red Pam back in the the late '60s, moved to Alaska and homesteaded out on the Yukon River. Bob married Curly Pam, my grade school friend, back it the late '60s. They didn't move to Alaska until a few years later. In time, both Randles brothers divorced their respective Pams.

My Pam, Curly Pam, stayed in Alaska and eventually married her bush pilot, Jay. After the birth of their son, I lost touch. We moved on with our respective lives.

So, why did it hurt so much to know that Curly Pam died from cancer this year? Because my husband and I didn't get up to Fairbanks where Curly Pam and Jay lived two years ago when we went to Alaska. Because I could have been a better friend and written more often.

Upon reflection, and news from Slim and Bob, I think my friendship with Curly Pam was meant to lapse. I miss knowing she is no longer of this world. I remember growing up together. And I rue not being a good enough friend to grow old with her.

I am so grateful to Maryann Miller for writing her column on Slim. After all, who could forget that name? I didn't and now I have answers to many unanswered questions. Thank you, Maryann, for helping me close a door to part of my past.