Nostalgia, AKA misplaced friends

bq. This is a post I started writing several months ago, but never quite finished. “A recent post of Patrick’s”:, plus the occasion of seeing people I literally hadn’t seen in a decade at Chet’s wedding made me think to give it a quick brush-off and shove it out the door.

Someone stole the name of an old friend of mine.

At least that’s how it feels. Occasionally, over the last decade, someone would occasionally post a message to one of the numerous Debian GNU/Linux mailing lists I read under the name ??Damon Buckwalter??.

The first year we lived in Germany–6th grade–my closest friend in the world was named…you guessed it, ??Damon Buckwalter??. And it’s a fairly unusual name, so, at various times I would send this person a message of the, “Hey, are you…?” variety. Never got a response.

This last time, I had the good sense to drag Google into it and settle down to do some serious investigation, and I can say for sure it’s not him. I located the “website of the guy on the Debian lists”:, and I can tell you that the person in that picture is not my friend. In fact, you don’t have to take my word for it–you can see “a couple of pictures of my friend”: yourself. It’s not him.

I saw Damon once after he moved back to the states in ’82–his High School Math team was competing in Pensacola, and I was in Ft. Walton, and somehow he was able to contact me, and I drove over and hung out for a couple of hours. In a weird way the decade and a half gulf there seems to have passed in no time at all.

There’s someone in Columbus, OH, named Damon Buckwalter, but I can’t find any pictures, and without some actual photographic evidence, it’s hard to work up any enthusiasm for cold-calling (or cold-emailing, as it were).

After Damon left, I fell in with Neil Butt, who *may* be in Cleveland, “at John Carroll University”: Biographically it’s all feasible–I believe his dad was assigned to the Pentagon when they left in, err, 1984, which would mean GMU was an easy choice for somewhere to go to college.

Is it the same person I last saw more than two decades ago, though? Shit, I just don’t know.

Another friend–and the last person I’ve stalked, I guess you could say–from that time-frame was Adam Klipple. I am 95% certain that this was Adam Shea Klipple, listed on “this extensive genealogy page”: The birth date is the right time frame, and I have vague memories of his being a couple of months younger than I, his middle name being Shea.

I don’t remember ever hearing about his sister-to-have-been, which is the only way I can interpret the ‘U’ next to the name below his. If it’s the right person, that’s a grim sort of thing to find out twenty-odd years later, since it would have happened just shortly before we became friends.

The more frustrating thing is that I can’t decide if he’s the same person as the “jazz musician of the same name”: I think it is. Ignoring the fact that I wouldn’t _want_ to see pictures of me from when I was 11, I’m not sure I would be able to draw a line from that child to what I look like today. I remember Adam as looking like Stewart Copeland.

Of course that could just be the power of association–I would swear that he gave me ??Synchronicity?? as a gift, but I’m hard pressed to reconcile that release date–June 1983–with the fact that I remember him leaving midway through 7th grade. But if I had to make a judgment on which one of those memories is more likely correct, I would go with ??Synchronicity??.

I don’t have the album any more–it went the way of all vinyl–but I do still have three novels he gave me.

But, as Patrick, notes, you have to wonder when it’s time to close the book–where he wonders about acrimony, though (and, BTW, sorry I haven’t called :), I just chalk it up to a character deficiency; I moved a lot, and even when my family wasn’t moving, the people around me were. This implied friendships were inherently transient, and I never developed the skills to make them work over long distances. Too few letters, then too little email, and damned few phone calls.

And there are odd dynamics in my life–where you might like travel to be something that can be done on the spur of the moment, or at least with relatively little planning, it just hasn’t worked out that way, so I’m bad about visiting people.

But I guess the big question is, “What are you going to do going forward?” And I think the answer I’ve arrived at–partly driven by the realization that Chet’s wedding is probably the last pending event among the people I know well from college before we start in on funerals (actually, even that’s not true, with Fred gone)–is that I’m going to be a little more active about keeping up with people.

So I’m going to go feed the cats, and answer this email from Dave McGhee that’s been sitting in my inbox for two days, ’cause it’s been too long.

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Michael Alan Dorman

Yogi, brigand, programmer, thief, musician, Republican, cook. I leave it to you figure out which ones are accurate.