Old lady-friends

I’m planning another trip to my ancestral homeland in Seattle. Taking into account everything that went wrong when I visited in 2019, I want this visit to be different.

Last time, even though I was ‘home’ in Seattle, it felt like I was in someone else’s house — because I was. This time I’ll stay in a hostel, near public transit, not at my brother’s home in the most remote section of the next county south. I’ll be in charge of who I see and when, instead of being at the mercy of a spreadsheet itinerary planned for me, listing which relatives I'll be seeing every morning, midday, and evening. 

And last time, the only people I saw were family and a few old friends — male friends. This time, I want to see some old lady-friends, too.

For my 2019 visit, I had hoped to see Margaret, an ex I’d lost touch with in the 1990s. I Googled the heck out of her back then, and wrote a brief letter to an address the internet told me might have been hers, but she never responded.

When I’ve mentioned this to people, I’ve been scolded. Apparently, it's unanimous that reaching out to a long-ago girlfriend is a ghastly thing to do, way out of line, sketchy, and it must mean I'm a stalker. And Margaret never replied, so I dunno, maybe the unanimous naysayers are right — or maybe it just wasn’t the right address.

And you know what else? I grew up in Seattle, and until meeting my wife in San Francisco, all the girls and women I dated were from Seattle. Well, I'm visiting Seattle, and there they are, or there they were. If I can have coffee with my old guy friends, why can’t I have coffee with my old girlfriends?

Most people are Googleable if you put in the effort, so yesterday I put in the effort. I’m not going to hesitate, or talk myself out of searching or hitting ‘send’ because it might be misunderstood.

First off, I don’t care if it’s misunderstood. Misunderstand all you like. These ladies knew me, so I think they’ll know I’m not a stalker or a worry. I am not looking to re-boink any of them.

Second, I’m old. Every time I see a friend, it could be the last time, and these are people I want to say thanks and goodbye to, before it’s too late to be said. So I'm saying it.

Hello, Molly. She was the first girl I dated, when we were horny but shallow teenagers. Then we had dinner once again in my thirties, for old time’s sake, and boy, that was awkward. Now we’re both old coots, so maybe it’ll be less awkward — and I’ve found an email address for her.

Cathy and I dated only briefly, and I dumped her harshly (‘ghosted’ is the present-day vernacular). I owe her an apology for that, but her name is so common she’s virtually un-Googlable, so I think there’s no getting in touch.

Another Cathy has remained a friend over almost 40 years, but it’s mostly been by mail and email. We haven't actually seen each other in decades, so — maybe lunch? We can split the tab. She’s married, and she can bring her husband if she wants.

April and I dated for five years, and my life crashed like a 737-MAX when she dumped me. From Googling, I know that she’s married, with grandchildren — and that her son has a blog, where readers can leave comments.

With some fresh Googling, I’m 75% sure I’ve found Margaret’s current address, but that's the only info I've found. Is she married? Is she successful? Stable? Sane? I'm curious and I still care — and there's no knowing without asking.

Sarah-Katherine and I never really dated, but we held hands in the 1990s, and she brightened the few days when I saw her. Since then, she’s written books and I've read them, but sadly, she’s had no internet presence for several years — but I've found an old email address.

So I'm trying to contact five out of six of these ladies. Tell me I shouldn’t, but it’s already done. To each of them I've sent the message below, and it wasn’t quite spam because I personalized the opening and added an extra sentence or two, as a clue to who the heck I once was.

Dear __________

It’s been quite a while, but you haven’t been forgotten. I am in good health despite the years, and hoping you are, too. Time grows shorter, though, and before the end, I’d love a chance to see you again, and hear about you and your life since we went in different directions.

Just coffee, that’s all. I’ll be visiting Seattle in early February. Please RSVP.

Me? Fat and wrinkled and widowed. Living in Wisconsin, with a touch of gout. I’m as harmless as I ever was, and none of this is a proposition or a pick-up line, only an invitation to say hello.

You? That’s what I’m wondering.

If the answer is no, thanks again for your time with me way back when, and your time with this note today. Thank you for so many smiles. I’m smiling still, hope you are, too, and I won’t intrude again.



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  1. Whether its icky depends on what you have in mind, which seems to be coffee. Nothing's icky about coffee.

  2. It’s intrusive. I would be angry if an ex-boyfriend contacted my wife (and I hope she’d be angry too.)

    1. I haven’t heard back from any of the ladies, so maybe you're right, it’s a big mistake, and someone will freak out and call 9-1-1. My *hope* is that since I generally behaved as a gentleman then, they’ll give me some benefit of the doubt now.


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