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..)
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?