Today is our 43rd anniversary, and this morning I was thinking about our wedding.

It was a nice wedding, not too fancy, not too stressful, exactly as my wife-to-be planned it. There were many people there: family from both sides, and lots of familiar friends from the University of Washington, where both of us had attended (I’d recently graduated and had moved to Eugene, Oregon, where Mary would shortly follow). We’d been living in the dorms on campus, and had a close-knit crew who’d been applying to the same rooms year after year — 5th Floor Lander Hall, represent! There was the gang I played D&D with. Of course my two best friends since Junior High, Steve Klopfstein and Steve Dixon, were in attendance. These were all people I liked very much, and was happy to have a little party with them.

As I was reminiscing, though, I realized that this was also the 43rd anniversary of leaving all those good friends behind. I was never very good at being sociable, and immediately after the wedding Mary and I were off on our peripatetic academy journey, and we lost contact. I didn’t tell them how much our friendship mattered, and I drifted away, no forwarding address provided (not that it would have mattered, we moved so often over the years), and didn’t even try to stay in touch. I was the flavorless marzipan groom, I could stand woodenly on the cake, and do nothing but fail to communicate, no matter that I wanted to.

I guess my shriveled little heart only had enough love for one person there. At least that’s held up for a good long while.


  1. says

    I’ve had the same thing happen a few times, leaving people behind and losing contact with them. I try to tell my friends how much they mean to me, but it’s hard to always communicate well. Often I don’t recognize what I’ve lost, the connections that get severed, until it’s already gone.

  2. birgerjohansson says

    It is easier in Sweden.
    A personal identity number is YY MM DD followed by a three digit number for people born that day, plus a control digit.
    If people have not applied to have their details hidden, you can just call the authorities, provide the unique ten-digit number for that person and get the current address.

  3. says

    Also…the other way to keep in touch is Facebook, but that turned into a morass of corruption long ago. I left that shithole after learning that some old high school friends had turned into MAGA-zombies.

  4. whheydt says

    Congrats on 43 years. My wife and I made it to 51 years and a few weeks before her death.

  5. robro says

    Congratulations to you and Mary, PZ.

    On your communication skills, you do well on these pages.

    As for finding old friends, I don’t know how she does it but my partner has an amazing ability to dig up peoples whereabouts and current contact info…if she wants to. She says it’s because she was a journalist. Perhaps so, because I’ve tried several times to locate old college friends and failed.

  6. says

    I can commiserate, PZ. I’ve always been bad at making and maintaining friendships. Over the years, I’ve casually thought it might be nice to reconnect with some of my high school friends that I haven’t talked to since, as I moved out of state immediately after graduation. But it would be so awkward to do so.

    I found one of my HS friends on Instagram. What would I say if I were to write to her? “Remember me? I moved away with my boyfriend after graduation. I don’t think I even said goodbye. Boy, was I stupid. Anyway, I’ve divorced him now. I see that you’re married. You and your wife look so happy together. I’m happy for you!” Yeah, awkward af. It feels very stalkerish.

  7. birgerjohansson says

    PZ you ask your friends for the number before you move away.
    Also, if the names are slightly unusual you can make a nationwide name search.

  8. StonedRanger says

    Some people are never fortunate enough to find someone to share love with. Count your blessings. This is year 42 for me and The Boss. Friends, especially old ones are overrated. Happy Anniversary to you and your wife. May you share 43 more.

  9. Big Boppa says

    43 years? Psshhh, is that all ya got?

    My sweets and I just hit #50 3 weeks ago. Hah!

    Seriously though, congrats.

  10. says

    Dear PZ, congratulations to you and Mary on your anniversary. My wife and I approach 42 years together. We too, like some here, have evolved and drifted apart from others that we knew. I am not surprised that some of your ‘friends’ as have some of mine, drifted into the weeds of destructive ideologies. It takes a strong intellect, like yours, to keep on an enlightened, caring, honest path. As for your heart; you have created a forum here for people to gather, share, sometimes bicker and it is a good place to grow intellectually and emotionally. And, it is a sign of love on your part that you put up with us. Thanks.

  11. moarscienceplz says

    PZ, as someone who was in attendance when you gave a talk at Stanford and then adjourned to some pizza joint in Palo Alto many moons ago, I must strongly disagree with your claim that you are not sociable. The convo at both locales was wide ranging and very fun. That night was most definitely in the ‘fun to be alive’ category.
    Also, Happy anniversary!

  12. moarscienceplz says

    P.S. to my #14:
    Although I am still unconvinced by your assertion that multicellular life on some other planet would be very unlikely to produce tetrapods.😋

  13. cartomancer says

    Well done on the collaborative not-yet-having-died pact!

    I have had kind of the opposite situation – I’ve tried everything I can over the last two decades to keep in touch with my friends, but none of it seems to work. There is maybe one of them that I see a few times a year, and that’s it. If it wasn’t for my parents I’d be very lonely indeed.

  14. says

    Isilzha Mir: It’s not stalkerish unless you send more than maybe two messages after getting no reply the first time. Just send it once and wait — at worst you’ll be able to say you tried, at best you get a pleasant surprise.

  15. nomdeplume says

    I set out a few years ago to try to find some of my high school buddies, not seen or contacted for 60 years. The wonder of the internet made it possible by finding some who had public academic careers, plus the university some of us attended had a graduates’ page, and having found a few those finds led to others who had maintained contact. Some of the contacts have led to renewed friendships, others not so much (some had, oddly, become religious or right wing), and some were not findable, But well worthwhile. I know Australia is a much smaller population than for your needles in a very big hay stack PZ, but what was impossible even a decade ago is very doable now.

  16. magistramarla says

    Congrats to PZ and Mary! We’ll be celebrating number 47 this year.
    We’ve also lost track of high school and college friends, and as a military family, friends have been lost along the way each time the military member receives orders and we leave for the next assignment. PZ’s son may be experiencing this.
    We are planning to attend both of our 50th high school reunions in the near future. That should be very interesting.
    When we moved to California, I left behind in Texas my BFF. She and I have sworn to keep up our friendship.
    She adores coming to CA to visit and go wine-tasting. We get back to TX occasionally, since a couple of our kids also live there, and we miss the food! Skype helps, too. We each grab a glass of wine at an agreed-upon time, and catch up with each other.
    Life has been interesting, and the people we’ve met and the memories we’ve made along the way have helped to make it worthwhile.

  17. chris says


    “5th Floor Lander Hall, represent! ”

    My spouse, myself and friends we have had for decades were also in Lander Hall in the late 70s. Mostly 1st floor, but scattered about. A bunch of them were playing D&D in one of the three bedroom apartments near the elevator (I think on the 4th floor) when Mt. St. Helens had its big eruption. I heard about it while at the street fair on the Ave, and then went home to call up the gamers and told them to turn on the TV.

    Our 23th wedding anniversary is less than a week after the 23th anniversary of that volcano explosion. It’s easy to remember anniversaries when you get married in a year ending in “0”, and there are reminders when Mt. St Helens is in the news.

  18. Sphinx of Black Quartz says

    Congratulations, and may you have many more happy years together.

  19. chris says

    I hate that keyboards have the letter “o” and the number “0” right next to each other.

  20. Rob Grigjanis says

    A friend was once asked for the secret of his long marriage. His reply; “lack of ambition”. I’m pretty sure he was joking.

    Anyway, Congratulations.

  21. StevoR says

    Happy anniversary to you and Mary, PZ Myers May you have a wonderful day and many more happy years together ahead of you still.

  22. mynax says

    Happy Anniversary!
    The Steves are still around, and still gaming. I let Steve K know they were mentioned in the blog.

  23. says

    Tell the Steves that next time I’m in the PNW, they should invite me to a game.

    #20, Chris: Cool. I was there 1976-1979, so we must have just missed each other — it’s a big dorm.

  24. Dennis N says

    Congrats PZ. Just got married Friday the 17th, and hope to hit 43 years, 43 years from now.