Thursday, August 9, 2012

An Unexpected Letter

I received this letter close to a month ago.  I have been unsure how to react so I set it aside and have looked at it now and again and I still don't know what to do.  As soon as I saw the name on the return address I recognized it immediately as an old grade school classmate.  I had probably last talked to him when I was 11, in 1978 or so.  Our class was rather small in that catholic grade school, so my first thought was of a reunion, perhaps.  I was a little taken aback by what I then read.
Red is the letter, Blue is my thoughts and responses, just to be clear.

Hi [Scoakat],
This note is from [childhood chum].  I don't know if you'll remember me, but I was in your class at [grade school] in [city, state] before your family moved away.  I hope you don't mind me contacting you out of the blue like this.

No, really, not at all.

I'm sure it's weird getting a note from me after 35 years!

A bit, but my first thoughts were good ones.

The reason I am writing is to ask your forgiveness for being such a jerk to you in grade school.

Really?  Now I was one that was prone to bullying*.  But I probably would have expected this letter from 1 or 2 others than this classmate.  He was a real dick sometimes, but also a showoff, as all kids are at that age.

I am currently working through some issues in my life and actually going through the Twelve Steps made famous by Alcoholics Anonymous.


When I got to step 8 and started making a list of people I treated badly in my life, I thought of you.  I remember some distinct times where I treated you badly when we were kids and wanted to write and let you know how sorry I am about that.  You certainly didn't deserve it.  I remember some times of being friends and doing fun things together (like watching those old SpiderMan cartoons at your house), while at other times I'm sure I must have seemed much more like an enemy.  At the very least I was a really poor friend.  so I hope you will receive this apology and be able to forgive me.

As I noted earlier, that was a very small class even for those days, I always thought we were pretty tight as a group when it came right down to it.  Well, I thought we all felt that way back then, but I moved away and they had to grow up together!  I had bad moments and good moments with each, to varying degrees, but I never considered myself as bullied too much, unfortunately I just was near the bottom of the pecking order then.  Cripes, we were kids!

You were a nice kid, and I have good memories of you.

Well, thank you.  Really kind of unnecessary, but if it helps, thank you.  The next few sentences are just personal info and chat.

Sincerely, [Childhood Chum]

He did provide his email in case I wished to contact him, and I may. Now that I have written this I may just send him the link as my response and then take it from there. In that case, I do want to say thank you for your thoughts, Childhood Chum, and good luck dealing with whatever brought you to this point.  All my sincere best wishes to you and yours.

Regards, Scoakat

*Edit  8/22 - What I meant by 'prone to bullying' is by other kids.  Sorry if my writing was misleading.
*For perspective, when I was that age I can say that I had no older siblings, no kid relatives (cousins, etc.) in the area and even if I did I was one of the oldest of those, and my dad got home late and left early six days a week.  I could go days without seeing him and when I did it was usually to berate me and/or whip me with the belt.  I'm just saying that I had no one to look up to or out for me back then and I didn't really do a good job of it myself.  But that was as kids, mostly when I could tell you my age on my fingers.  I've turned out as fine as anyone.

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