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Reunited on the Internet, and it feels so good
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It's been 31 years and I have not made it back to a high school reunion.

Quite frankly, there are more things about high school that I am trying to forget than remember.

There are four or five friends of mine that I really consider lifelong friends and we stay in touch on a fairly regular basis. It often involves milestone events, like births or deaths. The advent of e-mail and free long distance on cell phones has made staying in touch a little easier.

In the last year, I joined the world of social networking on the Internet. I became someone's friend on Facebook, the giant social networking site.

For those of you who do not participate on the Internet, Facebook is an electronic reunion of sorts. You can find people you know and ask to become their friend, which is the term Facebook uses for people who interact with one another.

It doesn't matter if somebody has been your regular old friend for 30 years, you still must ask to be their Facebook friend.

The whole process has created the verb "friended," as in "Harris has friended me on Facebook."

When you become someone's friend, a little notice appears on your electronic "wall" saying you and that person are now friends.

Last year, my daughter and I became friends. The same thing happened with my nephew.

They accepted me as their friend and they retain the ability to unfriend me. I have that same ability.

Both my daughter and nephew were a bit taken aback that their crusty old dad and uncle was on Facebook, thinking I was spying on them or some such nonsense.

It started out as a popular thing for the high school and college set, but it seems there are as many people my age as there are teenagers.

I have reconnected with several high school friends and have seen pictures of them, their kids and their dogs.

I've chatted electronically with a few and it's been nice to catch up.

I like it because it doesn't involve driving to some rented ballroom, nibbling on chicken fingers and singing the alma mater.

There have been a few surprises.

There was a couple who married right out of college. They have just celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary. In this day and time, that's pretty amazing.

A guy who I thought was, like me, a class clown, is now a medical doctor. He obviously studied more than I did.

Most of this has come from just reading their information and looking at the online pictures. Some of them married attractive people and had attractive kids. Some of them did not.

Occasionally, my curiosity gets the better of me and I ask someone a question. I've found out that a couple of people I've known at various stops along the way have been down some bumpy roads that have included divorce, serious illness and even death of a spouse or a child.

The nice thing about all of this is that you can reunite while sitting at a computer in your bathrobe. That's the one picture of me you'll never see on Facebook.

Harris Blackwood is a columnist for The Times. His column runs every week in Sunday Life.