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Hey, don’t I know you?

Sharing a hometown or high-school experience helps make a connection

(istock)
By Sara Faith Alterman
Globe Correspondent / December 1, 2011
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A glass of wine in one hand, an overflowing plate of BBQ in the other, I take a look around the dimly-lit function room and fight a wave of anxiety. There, sharing a table, are two women from my adolescent soccer team whom I’d feared and idolized. A few feet away, a woman I’d geeked out with in high school drama club is laughing with a man I recognize from sophomore year gym class. I sit down next to the woman who taught me how to drive stick shift while holding a cigarette, and take a deep breath. Blasts from the past, all of them, and everyone now a grownup. High school was a fairly angst-ridden experience for me, once a madrigal choir enthusiast and fanatic of all things turtlenecked, and I still get goose bumps when I spy someone who made fun of me in gym class. Or math class. Or the hallways. Hey, when you’re a teenager, Renaissance music and dumpy clothes make you an easy target. Tonight, surrounded by former schoolmates, all I can do is remain calm and try not to spill anything on my wedding dress. When I met my husband Sam in 2007, he looked awfully familiar. As it turned out, we both grew up in the same Boston suburb and had attended the same elementary, middle, and high schools, though I’d been a class ahead of him. We’d run in different circles and had never had a conversation, much less been friends. As adults, though, we clicked instantly, and when he proposed to me last year, I actually did a cartwheel. I thought it was special, that two people who’d crossed paths as kids could serendipitously find each other a decade later and start dating, start a life together. Was I way off.

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