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Answering a phone call from an unfamiliar area code can be a nerve-wracking moment. Is it someone you know? Is it another robocall? Usually I just let it go to voicemail. If no message is left I forget about it.

But for some reason I took this call.

"Is this Devin?" a female voice inquired.

"Yes, it is. How can I help you?" I replied, thinking it was a customer with a question.

"I am taking a chance that you still remember me. We went to junior high school together in Hobbs, New Mexico. My name is Tish, though I went by Letitia in school."

So I'm presented with a dilemma. I rack my brain trying to think of a Letitia I may have known. I come up blank. I ask what her maiden name had been and her reply didn't jog my memory either.

Stalling for time, I said: "I think I might remember you, were you on student council?" She said she had not been on the council.

She then asked whether I remember the monthly social gathering held for select teenagers at the country club. I replied that I did, it was called the Hobbs Assembly.

"Right!" she said, and on the day before the Assembly, at school, I always made you promise to dance with me!"

I still have no clue but, for some reason, I just did not want to disappoint her.

"Oh, yes, now I remember! You always wore that pretty dress."

A safe statement on my part, I'm sure. Thankfully, the conversation from that point on went on to more mundane and comfortable topics like occupations, spouses and kids, and so on. She had found me on Facebook (aargh!) and wondered if I was the person she remembered. I told her that five decades could change people.

After a few more minutes of chatting, she thanked me and hung up. I still had no clue who she was, though I am sure she was a classmate. Maybe it was just my bad memory, or perhaps she didn't make that great an impression on me.

Still, it got me wondering about some of my other classmates I had left in Hobbs. We left Hobbs in the summer between my eighth and ninth grades and I didn't really have a chance to tell my friends that we were moving.

So I started my own searching and came across the name of a girl that had been in one of my classes. As I recalled we had been on friendly terms so I started searching for current information about her.

I found a newspaper archive that told of her wedding, which gave me her married name. I then found that she was involved in the health care industry in Albuquerque, N.M.

The only phone number I could find for her was a business phone. I decided to take a chance and call. I got the company operator and asked if Susan W. was available. Much to my surprise, I received an affirmative answer and was immediately transferred to her workstation. A voice answered, and it was then I realized that I had not really thought this whole scenario through.

"Uh, hello, this may seem a little strange but I believe we were classmates in junior high school in Hobbs, New Mexico. My name is Devin Houston." A slight pause, then she answered: "I went to that school, but I don't remember anyone by that name. I'm sorry."

Okay, now what? I tried describing myself, I told her the class we were in, and mentioned other friends we had in common. Nope, nothing, nada, I didn't exist. At least not in her memories!

"I'm really sorry", she kept saying. I laughed it off, apologized for bothering her at work, and ended the call. She could have at least pretended to remember me, like I had done to my caller.

I guess I didn't make that great of an impression, either.

-- Devin Houston is the president/CEO of Houston Enzymes. Send comments or questions to The opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 01/31/2018

Print Headline: Calls from the past

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