Friends and Memories on Facebook Stuff

I reluctantly joined Facebook a couple of years ago thinking that I might catch up with a few friends from my past. I didn’t think much of social networking when I signed up. I did a couple of “friend searches” to no avail and decided that FB wasn’t all that I’d heard about.

Bamp! (that was my sound effect for wrong answer for those of you who don’t speak “jali”)

I was absolutely, completely, totally, and unquestionably wrong. Facebook is amazing.

Today I found Yolanda, my dear, dear friend from the 9th grade.

I remember driving past the house where she once lived, on 120th avenue in St. Albans, Queens, about 15 or 20 years ago. A pang of longing hit me so hard that day that I pulled over to stop and see if there was a chance that she might still live there.


I got back in my car and cried a little. I couldn’t find Yolanda so I couldn’t find my 9th grade self either. It was an overwhelming feeling of sadness when I realized that one of my ties to my past was lost.


Yolanda had the perfect ‘fro.

Bigger and badder than Angela Davises’  and redder than she should have been allowed to wear back in the olden days.

Yolanda was a St. Catherine of Sienna girl. I was a St. Pascal Baylon chick. We met at Bishop Reilly High School at the beginning of our freshman year. Both of us came from predominantly Black (I cannot use a lower case b here) Catholic grade schools and both of us were shocked to find ourselves in the minority at Bishop Reilly.

We both had afros. We both smoked Newports in the 216 bathroom between classes. We both rode the 17A bus to Jamaica Ave every day and we both hung out at the library across from the terminal instead of going directly home after school. We joined the Black History club and created our own punk-ass girl gang (she was Red Tamu, I was Ebony Malika and Deidra (I have to find her)was Green Emerald. We were the “red, black and green” officers of our gang. We made jackets and wore our “colors” only once or twice since we were afraid of the real girl gangs out there.

We planned our famous Central Park picnic together and high school kids from all over the city attended. I remember being amazed that hundreds of kids cut school to hang with us. (we were off that day for a Catholic holiday).  We made a bunch of sandwiches and others brought food and liquor and we had a ball. I drank “Tango” and Boone’s Farm wine that day and thought I was all grown up. We played touch football and cards in the park. A perfect day.

more to follow…


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12 responses to “Friends and Memories on Facebook Stuff

  1. CP

    You’re a Queens girl, Jali? MEEEEE TOOOO!

    Forest Hills/Rego Park. Hung out in Jamaica and Astoria all the time.

    Found all of my Forest Hills HS classmates on Facebook and found my kindergarten-8th grade best friend, Abby on there. Discovered she now lives only two hours from my home in Florida. Now we get together twice a year with our husbands and kids.

    No matter how many friends you make in your lifetime, nothing says “home” like your first real best friend.

    I love Facebook. Love love love!

    Miss you!!!


  2. Yeah…I’ve been trying to shake the FB bug; EPIC FAIL! I LOVE that joint. I reconnected w/folks I haven’t seen or heard from in 15 years. Powerful stuff.

  3. M@

    FB has been kind to me, too. 🙂

  4. ~d

    HOLY COW! How are you!? I am on the fence about facebook. Sometimes I like it and sometimes my fickleness doesn’t allow me to!


  5. You did all that in 9th grade?!! I grew up in the NYC suburbs and had to work hard for every bit of freedom from supervision I managed.

    I do not care for Facebook, although I have a page, and I realize that puts me in the minority. On sleepless nights I sometimes peruse the various people search engines to locate friends and crushes from long ago, but never contact them.

  6. Aaah! Jali, I’ve missed you! thank you so much for visiting my blog. Now I gotta hang out here and catch up on your posts. and yes, I agree. I feel totally uncool when I say that I absolutely love facebook. I recently flew into Oregon to see a friend I haven’t seen since her wedding nine years ago. We picked up right where we left off! It was so awesome.

    You’re gonna have to tell me your facebook page so that I may be a fan of it. 🙂

  7. CP

    Where ya been, girl???

    Miss you!

  8. How comforting to not be the only one who sniffles over Facebook. Being found by people who knew me when I was thirteen invariably makes me feel thirteen again, which isn’t always a good feeling, but it’s certainly a feeling. It’s overwhelming, really, in how much of a feeling that is. But I’m grateful for it too; it reminds me to keep breathing. I loved reading your memory… and hope my comment isn’t an intrusion.



    The Gods offered a clue about the Italians in the movie “The Matrix”:::They casted an Italian as the traitor of the group, the one who betrays them all.
    As they did humanity in the 20th century (see “clone hosting”).

    The voice you hear in your head is the power of the Gods. Blah blah blah blah blah…

    I deleted a whole lot of crazy, just for fun.
    Gaijin hero.

  10. Oh my god enjoyed reading this article. I added your feed to my google reader!!

  11. Jo Valente

    Hi Jali,

    I enjoyed reading your article! I also went to Bishop Reilly, graduated in the last class of 1974, so I was a year ahead of you. I don’t mean this at all in a “patronizing” way, but looking back, I can see how Reilly might have been a difficult place for Black students. I remember the group “Young, Gifted and Black” that was moderated by one of the guidance counselors. At the time, I thought it was a little strange that this white lady was the moderator. However, I don’t think there were any Black Faculty Members!!!
    My dream was to teach at Reilly after college. Then it closed. I’ve worked as a teacher and now administrator in an all-girls’ Catholic high school in Brooklyn. My students are practically all young women of color. In some ways, now I’m the white lady moderator! But I love my kids and want the best for them.
    Thanks for the trip back to Reilly. Best wishes to you!

  12. I went to St Martins

    Phil C also known as Mr lucky77 I grew up between 109th ave and new York blvd and then amityville

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