I contacted Steve, a childhood friend, 42 years after last seeing or hearing from him. We had lunch. I found that my memories are sometimes accurate, sometimes not. Also, it turns out people can acquire all kinds of things in that span of time — in my case, an awareness of neuroses, in his case, a family with triplets in college.  

I had searched online and found him working in downtown Chicago like me. I postponed emailing him but decided that if he happened to move to Australia next year I would feel really stupid about not even saying hi. 

Why reach out to this kid I mean middle-aged man? Because for the five years we were in school together all I remember is lots of laughs. We were still able to laugh during our 2017 lunch, just about grownup stuff now. 

When Steve was a kid he had Clyde the dog and Oliver the cat. But in my memory he had only a cat named Clyde. Why did my brain delete a dog and give his name to the cat? 

I remembered more things about our grade school than he did. Privately afterwards, this led me to conclude that I peaked in sixth grade and it’s been downhill ever since. Maybe not totally true. Steve and I both found good work in the big city. But his life is larger and more complicated and therefore maybe it compressed or decreased his memories of our old school.  

As different as we’ve grown to be, we have a few simple things in common. Standing at different cashiers in the Corner Bakery, we both ordered the BLT. We’re both interested in architecture, we have cats in our homes, and wonder why some people need to share photos of their meals. 

In the end, I was grateful to reconnect with a kind spirit and he may have been relieved that I didn't try to recruit him into Amway or Scientology.