In Which A Forgotten Friend Sends Ms. Bean An Email

The following experience is not how I do things, but there’s an odd sweetness & humor to this story. Plus, you can’t take things like this personally. You gotta laugh.

• • •

Hosta starting to grow in the stones underneath the deck, early spring.

I got an email from someone, let’s call her Pebbles, who I last heard from when I was in my 20s.

Pebbles had gotten my email address from someone on FB who knew where I was. I’m not on FB, but Pebbles was looking for me because, as she explained in her email, she wanted to re-connect with me.

To be my friend again.

Pebbles’s email was filled to the brim with newsy tidbits about her blessed life as the wife of a successful businessman and her role as a granny of a parcel of fabulous little ones and her passion, which was either going to the beach or playing golf.

I can’t remember which.

Surprised, but happy to engage, I replied to Pebbles’s email asking a few questions about that which she had told me and sharing a few details about what was going in our lives now.

• • •

The other day I got a reply to my reply to Pebbles’s email.

In it she answered my questions about her life and commented on my life.  Like a friend might do, right?

But here’s the thing that makes this communication exchange odd– and like none other that I have had.

Pebbles replied back to me, using the email that she’d initially sent to me and I’d replied back to her on; that’s normal enough. HOWEVER, her response came five years after I wrote back to her.

Yes, I said years.

Not five months. Not five weeks. Not five days. Not five hours.

Five years.

• • •

Knowing me as you do, my gentle readers, you can imagine that my inner Nancy Drew is curious.

Questions abound: where the frostbite has Pebbles been for five years? Do I want to know?

And why did she keep my response email for five years? If she wanted to get back in touch again, why didn’t she start a new email to me– like, you know, people do?

And what prompted her to think of me to begin with? I’d really like to know the answer to that question.

• • •

Nut shells discarded by squirrels on the stones, late winter.

So here’s my plan.

I’ll follow Pebbles’s lead and reply back to her recent email… in five years. I’ll ask the above questions.

Then when she responds back to me, presumably in another five years, I’ll tell you what she says in answer to the above questions. In fact, you, my gentle readers, will be the first to know after me.

Because I have no doubt that ten years hence we’ll all still be here reading and commenting on each other’s blogs. We bloggers are a reliable group of people who tend to live in the moment. We like to keep things current.

But as Pebbles has shown me, not everyone does.

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Usually.

118 thoughts on “In Which A Forgotten Friend Sends Ms. Bean An Email”

  1. There are some strange people out there. In her own mind, Pebbles thinks she is still interested in a friendship with you but can’t get it together to make the effort. Real friends may not see each other for ages but when they do get together they take up where they left off. I am still in touch with my BFF. We only lived in the same place from age 6 to 11 but kept up with snail mail and the odd holiday together. We now don’t even live in the same country as each other but that bond is still there! Nowadays it’s easier with Email, Skype and Whatsap.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. puppy1952, I agree that Pebbles’s approach to friendship is unlike any other that I’ve experienced. If we are meant to be friends again, then I don’t quite see it. So cool that you’re in touch with someone from your elementary school days. Like you said, the ways of staying in touch are readily available… if someone sincerely wants to stay in touch. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha! Maybe she’s some kind of time traveler? Maybe she’s been to Mars and back tho in a much shorter time; if she was a regular person she wouldn’t be able to return but maybe she’s friends with Elon Musk and he not only got her back but also in record Time. But good that you write her back in 5 years on your return from Uranus or Jupiter – she’ll understand – and do let us know how she’s fared and how many more whatever’s she’s got?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Susan, I like your creative explanation of what Pebbles has been doing– while not responding to my reply to her email. It makes about as much sense as any. If nothing else Pebbles adds a certain bohemian vibe to my email contact list. Her approach to friendship is unconventional, but I believe harmless. Just odd.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hilarious. Actually I had something like that happen with a colleague from one workplace many years ago. She had a new computer and was moving stuff over and ran across a whole bunch of old emails and started wondering – but she also stated that in her brief email, apologized “for her busy life” and wondered if we could grab coffee and catch up.
    Actually that never happened and since I declined her offer to be friends on FB “so we could stay in touch” ( but I don’t do FB and said maybe emails…but she just was so busy to take time and do that when” FB is so easy”….)
    Wonder if she’s selling Tupperware or Realestate and needs customers. OR in rehab and her counselor told her to look up everyone she felt she bullied or offended and make apologies (A friend actually had that happen to her …talk about weird, awkward coffee meet up )
    I think your 5 year wait is reasonable – she may break down first…if she’s a realtor HAHA

    Liked by 4 people

    1. philmouse, your situation with your “friend” sounds similar to mine. She had time to get a cup of coffee, but couldn’t be bothered to use email, something that is free and at your fingertips? Uh huh. Yes, sounds like your former colleague was selling something. Her own importance, perhaps? 🤔

      I have no idea why Pebbles decided to look me up, nor why she’s back in touch. I’m entertained by this situation, but in no hurry to find out what’s up with her. As you can imagine.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree–very odd, especially when the aged reply was appended to the five-year old email. I won’t even speculate a reason.

    What’s the value of Keeping Up if you’re really not…doing that? So odd.

    Something philo…hedge above mentioned really summed it up for me. If a person finds a relationship too much bother unless it’s on facebook, then I’m happy to let him/her hit the road. If something is important enough, you will make time for it. That sort of attitude speaks volumes (or megabytes, as the case may be).

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    1. nance, I agree with you and philmouse. If the only way someone wants to be my friend is through FB, then it’s not a relationship they’re looking for.

      In my observation people like that are after the alleged status that comes from having a huge number of FB friends. To which I say: Whatever.

      As for why Pebbles has re-appeared in my life I could not say, but I promise to share anything when news breaks.

      Like

  5. she’s been time travelling – to Mars and back. Must be friends with Elon Musk and have an inside seat getting back in record time. Next time you write to her in 5 years time, tell her you’ve been to Jupiter or Uranus .. hence the delay ..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have no idea what to say about this, really. I expected that this was going down the road of troll or scammer, something somewhat logical but this…
    She did seem to know you right, ask questions that made sense, say things you might have recognized from your past with her??
    What kind of person does this?
    I have had people drop in and out of my life, or have drifted away from people myself-my sister being one of them- and have had them resurface years later but nothing quite like this. Oddest thing ever, which would drive me crazy wondering!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb, she knew me. And I double-checked with the friend on FB who’d given her my email address to make sure that this was really Pebbles. It was.

      She’s always been a bit of a flake. A lovable one– nothing malicious, so I think this latest communication exchange is in keeping with her modus operandi. She may not even realize how peculiar this time lag is… to the rest of us conscientious people who sincerely try to be friends.

      Nonetheless, I won’t be replying back for a few years. Wouldn’t want her to feel rushed, or anything. 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m with Jill and Z-D. Jail is also my guess.
    Similarly, I held an Army spouse leadership position in Georgia wherein I had “charges” and “co-leaders” and we emailed a tremendous amount during deployments. We did get together monthly and whatnot, but it was largely email. Because so many of us have been at the same ages and stages in life, with kids about the same age, and husbands on a certain path, 2015 was the magical year when everyone started emailing people they hadn’t emailed since 2010. It was because so many of us had moved into civilian life with the same issues, kids getting older, husbands living at home, time to get a job — lots of volunteer work, not paid occupation. Many women needed references and timelines, and when hunting for jobs, connections are good. This went on, people emailing from that list — several in 2015, and a few here and there for the last few years. No one yet this year, but ya never can tell.
    The first email I got, I looked at the address, and part of my brain knew it was familiar, but how?
    I cannot wait to read about Pebbles’ last five years!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joey, your scenario of why someone got in touch with you *suddenly* makes perfect sense. I can see how you all moved on, but needed something specific from your past that only each of you could provide. At least what you experienced made sense.

      I had that “familiar, but how?” feeling when I received the email from Pebbles.

      I could not say where Pebbles has been. No indication in the email. While the Nancy Drew part of me wants to know, the rest of me wonders if the story would be too much info about something/someone I want to keep at arm’s length.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. people are weird. my guess is she felt compelled for some reason to tell you about herself, not reconnect but brag on her life. She needed for some reason to prove to you that she had accomplished x, y and z in life and probably hoped you hadn’t and/or would gush over her replies. I say delete the e-mail and move on with life

    Liked by 1 person

    1. teacherturnedmommy, I think you’re onto why Pebbles got in touch with me– to let me know how well she’s doing. It’s a mystery to me why she needs for me to know this. To my knowledge we weren’t in any sort of competition, but if we were, then she can say she won.

      Works for me.

      As for deleting her email, it could happen. Things do. 😏

      Like

  9. Very intriguing! I had to chuckle when you said we’d be the first to know if she replies even if another five years down the road. That gives me hope we’ll still be around blogging too! 😀 Is it possible she’s computer illiterate and your reply got stuck in span only to be discovered five years later. Ummmm … I don’t think so but possible.
    http://www.meinthemiddlewrites.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mary Lou, you could be right. Very generous of you to think of that. I don’t know her well enough to know how she and her computer get along. If that’s what happened to my reply, mentioning it in her reply back to me would have been a good thing. However, this whole experience suggests that Pebbles might be out to lunch, in many ways.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I confess I’m wildly curious about this! Was Pebbles stuck somewhere incommunicado for five years? Have you jumped timelines Ally and it only seems like five years because of some weird aberration with cyber-programs mis-dating correspondence? Is Pebbles on another planet and it takes 5 years for mail to arrive here? So many questions!!!

    But I definitely like your plan, and I hope you’ve marked your calendar for five years hence when your response should artfully be composed. I wouldn’t want you to drop the ball on this one. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deborah, I admit that I was confused when I first started reading Pebbles’s reply to my email. I thought to myself: “why is she talking about our landscaping project that we did years ago?” Then it slowly dawned on me what was happening.

      I can’t say that I have much emotionally invested in this friendship with Pebbles, so even though I’m curious as heck, I’ll just let this situation ride for a few years… or more.

      Like

  11. A real head-scratcher. I’d reply immediately and flat out ask WTH? There has to be a reason; I didn’t say a logical one, but a reason all the same.

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  12. That’s very strange. Maybe her email was hanging in the ethernet and now just got delivered to you. That would be even stranger! Thanks for the RT, btw. Hope you have a great weekend ahead!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Coincidentally I found my long-time friends e-mail address when I did a search for another person. When she responded she said that she had tried to find me through Facebook (I do not do Social Media). It was nice to know that she had been searching for me while I was searching for her. It’s been nice to reconnect.

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  14. I am going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume your reply wound up in some nebulous questionable junk folder where it sat patiently waiting for validation unbeknownst to Peebles who all this time had thought you weren’t interested in reconnecting. Upon freeing said email from the phantom zone, she left the original message as a way of showing evidence that she wasn’t entirely to blame for the tardy response, which might have worked had she used this very understandable excuse as a preamble to her reply.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Allie, I like your backstory re: this situation and if it is true, then I am honored to have received a reply to my reply to the email that Pebbles sent 5 years ago. But like you said, a preamble to this most recent email would have been nice. Just saying…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Not a peep, Betsy. The message in the email was if she’d replied 5 minutes after I sent it. I can’t explain it, but am willing to suggest that it might not be in the stars for Pebbles and I to become good friends again. Which is ok by me.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Wow… I’ve been known to be less than prompt in my email correspondence, but that’s nuts. And, that she didn’t mention the five year gap – especially when she was the one who sought you out – is totally weird. I get contacted by long ago friends now and then through Facebook but I mostly ignore their friend requests… there is usually a reason we lost touch, and having little in common is often it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janis, yes, yes & yes! I’m a person who attempts to take life in stride, so I figure this is just another step for me. I don’t know why she sought my friendship to begin with, nor do I know where she’s been these last years. She was if not flighty, then disorganized back when I knew her. The same seems to hold true now. 🙄

      I agree that there is usually a good reason that people lose touch with each other. Despite what FB tries to tell you, it’s best to move on in life, letting the past stay where it is. Good for you that you ignore the friend requests.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. What might have happened is that she saved your email in a folder and forgot about it, then was cleaning up her account five years later, found the email, and decided to reply. I can’t imagine her keeping it in her inbox all this time.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I think I’d have a chat with the friend who gave your email out in the first place. What is her connection to Pebbles and is she in more recent contact with her than 5 years ago? Also, please don’t give my email address out to random people from the past without checking with me first, thank you. There may be a reason why they are people from the PAST. Still, it gave you another blog post so there is that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janet, I agree with you about how some people belong in your past. I’ll admit, however, that I was pleased when I heard from Pebbles. We’d had some fun way back when. But now that we’re older and obviously have different expectations about what constitutes a friendship, it might just be that I forget to reply to her email. 🤔

      Liked by 1 person

  18. The solution is so obvious . . .

    Multiple Personality Disorder.

    There is Pebbles #1 ~ an extrovert who wants to CONNECT with everyone.
    There is Pebbles #2 ~ an introvert who withdraws to a cyber cave whenever #1 gets a response to one of her fishing excursion.
    There is Pebbles #3 ~ an efficiency expert who periodically declutters the cyber mailbox by clearing out clutter and responding to e-mails

    Etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. nancy, well… you could be right… I suppose. I mean your explanation of Pebbles’s behavior is as good as any. I have no evidence that she’s been diagnosed with multiple personality disorder, but it could be. When I write my response email in 5 years, I’ll try to casually bring up that idea. Stay tuned for another 10 years to see what she says.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Elen, I think this is hilarious, truth be told. When I finally realized what had happened I couldn’t stop giggling here, sitting by myself, amused by Pebbles’s very slow response time. We all do, but some don’t, you know?

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I have a couple of friends who have adamantly suggested we “keep in touch” after I’ve heard from them after a long period of time. But it always ends up that I reach out to keep the communication going, but they never respond back….ever. Oh well. Guess I wasn’t such an important person in their lives after all.
    Your story is crazy! But made me laugh.
    Life goes on!

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    1. Beth, I’m sure that you do have a few friends who want to “stay in touch” but then don’t. We all do, don’t we? 🤨

      Yes, this story got me laughing out loud. I mean, there’s no way to take it personally– plus it’s just so absurd that I have to love it. And share it, of course.

      Like

  20. I’m sorry. Can you speak a little louder? I’m still on the floor over here. YEARS? What the ever living hell is THAT about? Wow. It’s like the female friend version the ex-boyfriend thing when they’re all “High Fidelity”-ing their love lives and contact girlfriends past, usually because they need an ego boost. Kooky.

    When you write back to her in five years, sign ALL OF OUR NAMES here from your comments. We ALL want to know what’s what.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tara, laughing here. You’ve described this situation perfectly. Kooky it is.

      I promise that IF I email Pebbles in five years, I’ll try to slyly include all of you, my gentle readers, in my reply. Can’t imagine not doing so, considering how many responses I got to this post.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I’m not quite as far behind as your friend but I easily have some emails I have meant to respond to for 6 months or more. I just love to start out an email with an apology for how tardy I’ve been and the longer I put it off, the easier it is to put it off another day. But five years is a remarkably long time to suddenly respond to an old email. And she didn’t begin with an explanation? Something like Dear Ms Bean, I meant to write earlier but I’ve been in a coma the past 5 years….

    Like

    1. Zazzy, I have no idea why this email arrived 5 years late, and there was no indication that anything was wrong on her end of things. Pebbles was a fun person to be around back in the day, but I don’t remember her as being the most organized, you know?

      You’ve got some emails to answer that are from 6 months ago, you say? I tend to answer email sooner than that, but whatever works, works. And this must be working for you. 🤔

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, I get that. I don’t answer immediately, nor do I feel like I have to. I do think that 5 years might be a tad too long to wait to reply, but what do I know?!

          Like

  22. Five years! Astounding! I kept emailing a friend who never wrote back, so after quite a while, I quit. Meanwhile, she and my husband exchanged notes about twice a year. She complained to him that I had quit writing her!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anne, your story is funny. She got your emails, didn’t respond to them– BUT wanted you to keep sending them? People are weird. I wonder if email makes us more aware of that– or if it’s email itself that makes people weird!

      Like

      1. I have since learned not to cut people off. There are some that I sent to regularly and contemplated dropping. They never responded, so I assumed they were not reading what I wrote. When I happened to see them face to face, they commented on how much they liked reading my stuff. John takes up for them and explains that they are not writers. They may not write regularly, but hello! They could have written a five-word reply once a year!!! Now I try to send out an annual message offering to remove anyone who wants to cut down the number of messages they get. No one has responded yet, leaving me to wonder if they read it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Interesting non-response to your offer to remove people from your mailings. I wonder, too, if they read anything you send them. John may be right that these people aren’t writers, but in our socially mediated world is that even allowed? I mean, we use written words to communicate more now than we did 20 years ago, so while I understand that writing might not be someone’s preference, it is how we stay in touch now. I don’t know what I’d make of your people who read, like– but won’t reciprocate. Seems a little unbalanced to me.

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    1. pjlazos, it’s a good mystery, isn’t it? On the one hand I’m curious, but on the other hand I’m not so sure that I want to keep in touch with Pebbles. She doesn’t seem reliable, ‘ya know?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. L. Marie, my goodness I’d feel flattered if that were the case. I imagine, however, my email reply got mis-filed– then when she found it Pebbles wrote back. Nice enough woman, but maybe not so organized?

      Like

  23. Perhaps she enjoys playing golf at the beach?

    By now, of course, you know how my brain read this scenario. That her reply came immediately, but from five years in the future.

    (And I’m off. Entire story, right now, in my brain, birthed like a bubble.)

    I started this thinking, why of COURSE she’d like to be friends with you again, you’re delightful. And again so many possibilities for the 5 years and the reused email, like there wasn’t a blip:

    –She’s been cryogenically frozen, but only got the Brief Respite package;
    –She got busted for a pyramid scheme involving women’s scarves and just got out of jail;
    –She’s mastered time travel but not the time/date stamp on her computer;
    –She’s just completed a top-secret space mission where time travels more slowly;
    –She’s a self-centered person who periodically runs out of to whom she can talk about herself.

    This is FUN. I like Pebbles. But in a “interesting character” kind of way and not in a human I’d like to be friends with kind of way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isa-Lee, you know I like all of your possible scenarios for Pebbles’s odd disappearance, but the last one could be real reason. My logic? Call it intuition combined with a healthy cynicism about how people in the world behave.

      I agree that Pebbles is good side character in my life story, but I won’t be promoting her to esteemed sidekick any time soon. I’m sure you can understand why.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A hundred percent. She’s amusing in a blog post (or a story), not so amusing in real life.

        She also could have needed something from you.

        I always find it so strange when people pop back up out of nowhere.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Her first email didn’t indicate that she wanted anything other than for me to acknowledge her. Having done that I was no longer a priority, I presume. I dunno. 🤷‍♀️

          Liked by 1 person

  24. I’ve had friends respond to an email a year or so later, or maybe use the same email message from a few months earlier to ask a new question (which always throws me). But five years? Good lord. I am constantly amazed at how some people float in and out of one’s life without explanation. Of course, I have siblings who are like that too. 🙂 – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marty, float in and out is a perfect way to think about Pebbles and her use of email. A few months, I get. A year even– if there are extenuating circumstances. But from my point of view waiting five years to reply is… unusual. Harmless, but not how I envision friendly communication to happen.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. This is funny. In some kind of Zen or Sufi way, I suppose, you could ask why a friendship has an email interval requirement. Maybe accept her overtures in the spirit with which they were offered: very low priority compared to most other things in life, but there nonetheless.
    Which is being disingenuous. This person is fraught with foibles, and the truth is, it’s insulting, only she probably doesn’t realize it. It makes the most sense to just sort of forget to answer her until it’s too late (which is something she should have realized.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Roy, I’m putting Pebbles’s email on the back burner where it can simmer for a few years while I figure out if I’ll reply back. I think that you’re right in that I could interpret this behavior as insulting, but I won’t. I’ll just say that this is not how I do things! And then laugh a little bit.

      Like

    1. Margaret, you could be onto something with that theory. I can honestly say that I’m not emotionally invested in this relationship, so I wish Pebbles the best… and might just forget to reply to her email. We’ll see.

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  26. Every once in a while, for whatever reason, I’ll be looking at old posts on my blog and notice there are comments I never replied to. It happens. Sometimes, the urge strikes me to finally make that belated reply. Assuming that commenter was still active on WordPress to receive reply notifications, what would they think? Would they even remember making a five year old comment? Would that doing this be tacky or even just plain mean? I’ve never actually replied to any comment more than a few weeks old, but Pebbles now has me inspired to maybe one day do just that…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean. I try to respond to all comments in a timely manner, but people slip through. I find the comments months later and am sorry that I missed them, but I really think that anyone who is in blogging for any length of time understands how this happens. Now people who never respond to comments are a whole different thing…

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  27. Interesting for sure. It makes you think about why people choose to contact or not contact you. If one is going to wait five years but retain the original email, it’s certainly not a black and white answer. Keeps the brain working I guess at the very least. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Judy, yes I wonder why Pebbles contacted me to begin with, but reading what she wrote I don’t see any indication of why. Pebbles was a fun person to know way back when so I’m not reading anything malicious into her use of email. Maybe electronic communications are not her thing, eh? 🤷‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I had a good friend for 20+ years but when we moved out of state I couldn’t maintain it because she wouldn’t answer any emails or posts. So after about six years, I get a lovely email from her. I was so excited, I answered immediately and tried to get her interested in communicating again. It has now been 5 or 6 years since that email. I just go with the flow because I don’t know why she contacted me only to drop it. Oh well, hope you and Pebbles reconnect.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Your friend story sounds similar to mine. A person who appears and disappears randomly baffles me, but like you I just go with the flow in situations like ours. I cannot explain it, but I won’t be bothered by it either. Life is too short!

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  28. Oh lord, I snorted … yes, an actual snort. Please do it. I’ll hang around for the response. I mean, we’re all going to be here in 10 years time, chewing over the fat after all …
    Bizarre, bonkers and I too love the suggestion made by The Widow Badass 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. deb, this is one of the more unusual email exchanges I’ve had. I cannot explain any of it, but will try over the course of the next decade to find out what’s really going on with Pebbles. Stay tuned.

      Liked by 1 person

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