When I moved school, in 1970 one of the first friends I made was with a bespectacled thoughtful northerner called Mike. His family had moved to south Hampshire a couple of years before mine. We were 12 going on 10 and remained close throughout school. Mike was loyal, funny and relaxed. I like to think I mirrored the first two even if I never really did the relaxed bit.
Wind the clock forward and he went to Cambridge to read engineering while I headed for Bristol to study law. I don’t think either of us really understood what the other got out of their degree. But we never lost touch and it was in Mike’s car that I toured France with two other friends in the summer of 1977, ending up in Amsterdam.
We both moved to London, he to work for Shell, occasionally going off shore to the North Sea rigs and living in the Notting Hill area of London. He made a fist of trying to be trendy but it never really suited him.
I married; Mike ditto. We both had small families and by the mid 1990s we were still close and enjoying regular get togethers.
Sometime in the late 1990s Mike’s mother became ill and he decided to move closer to her, back in Hampshire, somewhere in the area around Christchurch and not a million miles from where my parents still lived.
I imagine Mike and his wife Gill sent us a change of address card…
I imagine I lost it…
From that day forward I’ve not seen Mike or Gill. But every year we receive a Christmas card from them. You can set your calendar by it.
‘With love from Mike and Gill’
Same every year.
We live in hope that one day they’ll include an address or phone number or email. Never happens.
We’ve tried to find where they live but with a surname of Brown, it’s proved a needle in a haystack.
A few years back we searched the electoral roll and thought we had found them. We wrote, asking if it was them and asking them to get in touch via some other medium than the Christmas card.
That didn’t work either.
Once again, this week we received the card and once again I received the sharp gnaw of guilt for losing that change of address card, for the best part of 25 years of un-responded to cards, for failing to find a way to re-establish contact, short of hiring a private detective.
It’s bloody irritating…
I mean, they must want to stay in touch, they must believe we still live at the same address as we did those 25 years ago (we do) and they must wonder why we never bother to send them a card or contact them. They’ve not lost hope so I don’t. But still…
I throw this out there. How would you go about finding Mike and Gill? What would you do that we haven’t? Do you have some cunning plan?
And if you’re reading this, Mike and sniggering at the levels of frustration you’re causing me (the Mike I knew would have happily done that – we had that kind of friendship)… sod.