Friday, 28 August 2015

Something of a Facebook 'Photo Shock'...

While I was a teacher I completely avoided Facebook.  I've had an account for a long time, but it was completely dormant - largely because I thought that it was more professional to keep my private life 'private'.  When I left school at the beginning of the summer I promised my older pupils (who were struggling with the idea that I was moving on) that I would be slightly more active on Facebook.  I told them that I wouldn't accept any friend requests... but I would keep my account completely open so that they could 'stalk' me.  Whatever I post on my Facebook page is always written with the thought that a few teenagers may still be 'keeping tabs on me', but I'm pretty sure that they've moved on now.
As it happens, most of the Marcos car club on-line activity has also moved from a 'chat page/forum' to Facebook this summer.  Mark doesn't do on-line social media at all so I am responsible for posting about his garage projects etc.
All of this means that I seem to have collected the usual random collection of Facebook 'friends'.... close family and Worcester friends (why???! what's wrong with the phone???!); real friends and relatives that live at a distance; ex-pupils from decades ago who have looked me up at some point and still appear on my news feed; current and ex-colleagues;  Marcos owners all over the world and a small group of people that I went to school with (we were a close circle of friends in 1984 but, since my family moved away from Oxford completely in 1989, I doubt I recognise them in the street now.)
It's far to say that, in the words of L P Hartley my "past is a different country"..
Anyway, earlier this week I became 'friends' with G.  G. and I sat in class together for 5 years and stayed at the school for A Levels.  We went on the same language exchanges, took part in the same school plays, went to the same sixth form parties and have a lot of shared memories.  He hasn't moved away from the area so he still spends time with 'the old school gang'.  He clearly takes Facebook quite seriously and made a point of messaging me to say 'Hi'.  He explained that the last 12 months have been difficult because he lost his wife to cancer - but he has two children that are doing well, and that he's spending a lot of time on his motorcycle.  He told me that he'd posted a lot of photos from our school days in his albums.  (I'd forgotten that he was also a keen member of the school photography club).
So I clicked on the album 'Matthew Arnold 1984' and prepared to 'time travel'....
It was a set of photos of the 'Great Three Legged Football Match'.  Insanely, I remembered the lunchtime clearly... On the far right, S. and C.  (S. was madly in love with C.  She wasn't interested but humoured him by being his partner that afternoon.)  On the left, my best friend S.  (She was the female half of the only couple to stay up-right because she was delightfully bossy, terribly competitive and planned all their moves..)
S. again.....

And then - the 12th picture was completely different.
What a shock....!
The first photo I've seen in 31 years of my first serious boyfriend, J.
(Dressed in black from top to toe, cowboy boots and his racing bike - just as I remember him.)
J. and I were a couple for 8 months in 1984.  It was WAY too serious so the relationship didn't really do either of us any favours.  The break up was epically messy.
(Mark was still dealing with the 'fall out' when we started dating in 1985.  J. got pretty obsessional, wouldn't let go and all sorts of really silly - and upsetting - stuff happened.)
It's hard to explain how this unexpected image has 'rattled' me - I really didn't expect my 17 year old self to re-surface and that I'd be quite so bothered by 30 year old memories.
Have you had any similar experiences with unexpected photos?


  1. Ooh,,very strange!!! I'm not on Facebook so I haven't experienced anything like it, I could imagine feeling a disconcerted by photos although I didn't have any boyfriends like that.x

  2. I'm not on Facebook but I'd quite like to see some photos from my school days. Only this morning I was going through old photos with my parents, lots of memories there. It's funny how a photo can stir all sorts of memories.

  3. Wow Jan, that eould be ashock if unexpected. I too had a too serious boyfriend, who a decade later married one of my former best friend from highschooll. Not former because of any falling out just grew apart. We are on friendly terms with all, but seeing old pictures still is a bit odd so many years later.

  4. my facebook account is closed, and I am really tight on who I allow as a friend, I never let work mates on, but I do use it to be close to my nieces and nephews who are spread around the country.

  5. How wonderful. I dip in and out of facebook. I probably post twice a year. Can't understand why people find the need to live their entire lives out in public. I went to a school reunion and it was like stepping back in time. I think most of the emotions were reliving the excitement of what our future life had to offer even though we were all 45 at the time. Weird very weird.

  6. FB can be entertaining, stimulating, frightening, horrid and many other things. I have witnessed people arguing with each other and FB. So much easier to say nasty things when you don't have to be face-to-face with the other person. The only photo that startled me was a photo of an old boyfriend, laying in Hospice, dying with his children around him. Why they would post that is beyond me! He, of course, looked awful--skin and bones, wasting away from blood cancer. The last time I had seen him, four years before, he was a 210#, laughing, joking man! FB can be terrible, at times.

  7. I closed my facebook account a few years ago after some family stuff spilled on to it, I have only just recently set up an account again its used for fun dont do personal stuff on it at all I keep in touch with grandkids and other family and can see whats going on in there lives, I dont do the personal stuff on my blog either for personal reasons, I dont know how I would feel if I came a photo of an ex when things had finished on a good note, perhaps thats why you felt unsettled because it was a good ending I hope you are alright with it all now :-)

  8. Quite a blast from the past! That's funny as I had a 'complicated' ex boyfriend situation going on at the time I met Dave, and the ex tried to cause all sorts of trouble at the time! Sadly my ex still keeps tabs on me - over 10 years since I dumped him!, but he's just an 'observer' now of my blog/social media presence and hasn't actively bothered me for a few years now!

  9. I've not had the same reaction as you because any old photographs I've come across have been my own, in my albums or boxes. It would be a bit of a shock to see one online without expecting it though.
    Thanks for the kind words on the studio/office transformation. I'm glad Thomas enjoyed Baby's pictures/videos! :)

  10. I went to an all girls school and most of us never dated till we left school, so any old photos like that wouldn't pop up, but my ex-husband popped up again after many years by contacting DD he'd not bothered about for a 'long' time, but luckily it's been OK. Threw us a bit though.
    Take care.