Patricia by
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We had mutual friends from our high school class on Facebook, so when she sent the request, I accepted. I honestly didn’t remember her from Dondero. She has told me that she was very shy (as was I, but I was busy with choir and the plays). We were never in any of the same classes so our paths never crossed. We came from different elementary and junior high schools.

Now she lives in Arizona, so our paths will not cross.

We must have passed in the hallways and I went to all the football and basketball games, and as many dances as I could, though I had few dates from the school. I would go with friends; my little group. But after we became friends on Facebook, I went back to the yearbook and looked her up. Her youthful face was not familiar.

But Patricia has become a faithful reader of my Retrospect stories and frequently sends me private comments via Messenger; very personal messages about what her life was like and the memories that my stories evoke for her, how these stories resonate, how she processes them. She has encouraged me to share even intimate tales, some of which are difficult to share on a public platform. She sees value in everything I write. We have become close over the years as a result. And supportive.

She takes amazingly beautiful photographs of birds in the wild. I can’t imagine how she gets these images. It is truly art and, as a lover of art, I really appreciate what she does. Privately, we discuss politics, the nature of the sensitive soul, our hopes for this country, everything that friends discuss, and, aside from being in the same building for four years more than 50 years ago, we have never met. Yet we feel a kinship. Retrospect has provided that for us, as she reads my stories, then shares her memories, privately, with me, even some very painful ones and I respond with more than I dare put out there for the public. And we get glimpses of each other’s lives on Facebook, across the great divide.

I recently sent her the CDs from a choir performance from earlier in the year (Haydn and Schubert), as well as the yearbook from our 25th high school reunion. I attended it, but she did not. She is a whiz on-line, scanned it, IDed everyone and posted it to our FB group. Now she has sent it back to me with samples of some of her art. I eagerly await the package. I can’t wait to see her art.

Our 50th high school reunion approaches next year. She and another classmate started a Facebook group for our class. Though I never felt particularly close to many of my classmates during my four years at Royal Oak Dondero High School, Patricia has been my way into that group now. She is leading me back in so many ways, for which I am quite grateful. If there is a reunion, I will definitely attend, so I can really spend time with my Facebook, Retrospect, high school friend.


Profile photo of Betsy Pfau Betsy Pfau
Retired from software sales long ago, two grown children. Theater major in college. Singer still, arts lover, involved in art museums locally (Greater Boston area). Originally from Detroit area.

Tags: Dondero '70, Facebook, reading Retro, nature photographer
Characterizations: been there, moving


  1. Laurie Levy says:

    Betsy, this is a beautiful story of the positive side of social media. When I first joined Facebook, our grandkids were just being born, and the same was true for many of my friends. Because I no longer live in the Detroit area and my college friends have scattered all over the country, I love staying in touch this way and sharing this period of our lives. But now, I fear it has changed so much I’m not sure how to feel about it. The latest fake video that makes Nancy Pelosi look terrible and decrepit is a case in point.

    • Betsy Pfau says:

      Social media can be a great way to stay connected or re-connect with old friends and family. But as you point out, increasingly, it can distort and spread fake information very quickly. Just yesterday, FB said they took down over 2 billion fake accounts. This is spreading like wildfire. Very disturbing.

  2. An especially moving story, Betsy. I would say that your continuing exchanges with Patricia are certainly the highest and best use of social media.

  3. Suzy says:

    Betsy, I love this story! The combined power of facebook AND Retrospect has brought you and Patricia together. I’m excited to hear how it goes if you meet her at your HS reunion next year.

  4. A wonderful character portrait, Betsy, made all the more poignant by the fact that you are describing a social-media relationship ON social media! Very nicely done!

  5. John Zussman says:

    Such a sweet story! It contrasts well with your other story on this prompt, illustrating the positive side of being perhaps a little too willing to accept a friend request.

    • Betsy Pfau says:

      Yes, this is a happy story. I had already written this when the Instagram story occurred. I wanted to write the bad one up as a warning. I clearly was WAY too trusting and, yes, stupid. I’ve learned my lesson.

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