I spent more time with the people I went to elementary school with, and the people I went to summer camp and a six-week advanced studies program with, than the people I went to Manchester Central with. Particularly with the two from Straw School, we spent almost no time talking about anything any of us had done since 1965. I don't even know the general outlines of their lives, only that they are both teachers.
We talked about the things that happened 1959-65, and what had happened to the people we knew. I learned something of their lives then that I had not realised. We shared some tragic news, some humorous updates, and many "do you remember" stories.
There are very, very few people left in the world who have even a remote chance of recalling those events. We clutch to them, as a reinforcement that they did really happen; that we do remember them at least approximately; that the person we were, that child we have not seen for 50 years who is ourselves really did exist. I could have made him up, you see. We learn that even events that happened a few minutes ago have no touch-point, no reality save within our memory. Perhaps, then, events 50 years ago have no reality at all, and we wander in a barely-populated universe. Joan Blajda and Barbara Letendre* remember a boy with my name, and associate him with me as strongly as I do myself. They remember things about him that accord with my own story. Perhaps I am real after all.
The connection with a circle of five friends from HS was almost an entirely separate experience. Other faces came and went. I tried to give each a little encouragement as they spent their six sentences on me before moving on.
*Ruth Hamilton was also there, but entirely quiet. She was quiet then, too. That adds to the reality, for it is not only the word-people who remember. I am evidently not a mere construction of words who finally became real in the 1980's.