Old Friendship Found by
(21 Stories)

Prompted By Chance Encounters

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I went to college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1967.  It was a conservative state college as demonstrated that when Governor Ronald Reagan came there, the students waved and cheered his appearance.  One of the few liberal friends I met there was Ron from La Honda (it is on the San Francisco peninsula).  Two years later, I transferred to San Jose State University, and Ron and I lost contact.

Old college friendship rekindled.

One evening, a man came to my apartment trying to sell life insurance.  I thought I recognized him, and it was Ron’s Cal Poly roommate. He had kept in touch with Ron, and told me Ron now lived in the SF Bay Area.  I contacted Ron, and a life long friendship was rekindled. Ron and I did some camping, traveling and other activities, and he was an usher at my wedding.  The odds of this chance encounter happening were very low, but I am glad it did.

Profile photo of Joe Lowry Joe Lowry
I was a child that moved so often, (8 elementary/middle schools) and finally went to to high school in Arroyo Grande California. I ended up at San Jose State University graduating in Chemistry, minor in Biology. Got married, and had two sons. Unfortunately, my wife passed 35 years later. I worked initially in the pharmaceutical industry. After being down-sized, I ended up in the aerospace field, working on satellites. I still live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Characterizations: right on!


  1. Lovely ending to a chance encounter, happy for you Joe!

  2. I love that this happened, Joe! Sometimes we just lose track of people, and there’s really nothing like rekindling a good friendship. Thanks for a story that just made me feel good…I needed that!

  3. Suzy says:

    What a great chance encounter, Joe! Luckily you didn’t just slam the door when you heard he was selling life insurance, but took the time to look at him and recognize him. Did you buy any insurance too?

    Wonderful that you rekindled your friendship with Ron, to the point where he was an usher at your wedding! It would be fun to hear more about what you and Ron did together. Are you still in touch with him?

    • Joe Lowry says:

      Yes I am still in touch with him. In this era of Covid-19, the most we have done together has been phone calls. Before, we did some local activities like canoeing on a local lake, going to breakfast or lunch together, and discussing the fate of the world. Ron was an aero engineer, and I was a chemist before we retired. Today, we do some tutoring of high school students and enjoy our time. Also, I did not buy the insurance.

  4. Laurie Levy says:

    Glad you reconnected, Joe. So much of life is chance. It must have been hard to be one of the few liberals in such a conservative college. Would love to hear more about that experience. Maybe in another prompt?

    • Joe Lowry says:

      Yes, Cal Poly SLO had a conservative student body. Part of this could be explained because the most popular majors were engineering, science and agriculture. The engineers were the most conservative and the science majors, most were biology or chemistry, were somewhat in the middle. In agriculture, it was a strange mix because some of them had come from families that big ag (such as ADM) had taken advantage of them. San Jose State was a nice mix of students. Unfortunately, I still miss some of the beauty of the central coast of California.

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