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Facebook Education II
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Frank Palacio
Frank Palacio, MAE




Facebook Education:
From Middle School To Old School and from the USA to Belize 

Frank P. Palacio

Finding a Classmate

What ever happened to your friends from elementary school? Do you remember that classmate that everyone knew was heading down the wrong path even though with a little effort he could have become the next Einstein, Ghandi or Obama?

Is it just me or do most people lose contact with the whereabouts of 90% of their elementary classmates? In my case I was out of touch with a hundred percent of them. A part of my life had been erased, leaving a huge, powerful, aching void that tormented me like a recurring nightmare. 
People that were a major part of my life for most of my elementary school experience, vanished! Antonia: shy, freckled face beauty that puckered up for my lucky kiss because the game of “spin the bottle” made us do it was gone out of my life forever! Tina the class genius and the hottest girl in the class was gone. Patrick was the boy that pricked me with his sharpened pencil when the teacher wasn’t looking. I finally gave him a thrashing (nowadays referred to as a beat down) and then we became best friends… They fell off the face of the earth as far as I could tell.

I was left with the names of the major players of my elementary class. The frustrating thing was due to a series of “The Road Less Taken” decisions, I had left the familiarity of my old life and former existence. I went to a private all boys high school and most of my elementary school mates went to other high schools. Factor in that Belize is a country of a sizeable land mass that includes two cities, about 15 town, and dozens of villages. Then, factor in that on average 20-30% of Belizeans migrate to the major cities of the United States and other countries!

I left Belize and eventually settled in Los Angeles California shortly before my 19th birthday. Whenever I returned for a visit I saw fewer and fewer elementary school mates. I finally gave up looking for them or asking for them. For all intents and purposes they had simply dropped off the face of the earth or abducted by aliens. The sad thing though was, I carried their memories in my heart like a soldier carrying a keepsake such as a pen knife or a lucky bullet given to him by a fallen comrade as he drew his last breath. 

I felt saddened that we had started a chapter of our lives together but the subsequent chapters of the book were denied me. Despite the years, I clearly remembered their smiles, their clean scrubbed, innocent faces, their kind deeds the special moments and memories that we shared. If I tried I could even smell the hair grease from the girls ribboned and pigtailed hair styles. Something was definitely missing in my life. 

After feeling empty as if something was missing in my life for over thirty years or so, I did a search on Facebook for Tina Rumpelstilskin, not her real name. With a unique name of her own, I found Tina on Facebook in less than ten seconds. There she was no longer as fresh looking as a thirteen year old precocious daisy which was how she looked in the eight grade. Nontheless, seeing her picture made me feel good inside. It was better than stumbling upon a lost wallet filled with huge notes! Well, maybe not quite but you get the picture. Seeing her made my day! My heart raced like a runaway train. I excitedly sent her an invitation, and she responded in less than 24 hrs, accepting me as a friend. I then sent her a message inviting her to chat.

“Hey Tina, this is Frank from elementary at St. Joseph’s.”
“I thought that was you that’s why I accepted your friendship request!”
“Thanks for accepting my request! How are you?”
“Are you kiddin, my pleasure I have been wondering what ever happened
To Mr. shy, sweet guy from elementary school?”
“And I wondered what happened to Ms. Class president and genius!”
Tina proceeded to fill me in on many of our grade school comrades! She had been on Facebook since it first started and had mastered the art of resurrecting old classmates, old boyfriends, and knowing her, probably even old enemies for retribution! 

We talked or typed using instant message on Facebook for about half hour. My fingers could barely keep up with Tina’s questions and her answers. 

“I am so glad to have finally found, you, Frank!” You have no idea! 
“Me too, Tina, I am glad to have found you. I just couldn’t bear not knowing what happened to all our old classmates. We had so much fun in the 8th grade! We were close and everybody got along so well. When we graduated we thought that we would stay in touch for ever!”
Tina said, “Frank, I know.. I know… I am crying right now… I am a mess.. I’m so emotional I must be getting old. I’m crying for the pain I felt not being in touch with so many of you guys, but being happy to reach you at last!” 

I was glad we were not sitting face to face. I knew what Tina meant because I was crying too; she knew exactly how I felt. Before our chat ended, Tina gave me the names and emails of five other classmates that she was in contact with. 

After we finished out chat, I got up from my computer. The relief I felt was like a person who had finally been rescued after being lost for months at sea devoid of any human contact. I felt as light as a feather as if I was going to drift off into space and float away like a piece of cotton. I felt like running around in circles and screaming my head off like a toddler who had just been promised a special treat, like going to the neighborhood park and then ice cream! Yeah, I guess I was more than a little happy!


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I'd like to hear from you. Please write to me at:
Frank Palacio (fpalacio51@hotmail.com)


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