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Loves of Christmas Past: Classmates.com-Resurrection and Romance
Last summer I posted a Toronto Memory Archive story for a Live in Culture project chronicling my story of synchronicity and the Eaton Centre. Back in the day when I was a mere 17-year-old (barely legal) a 20-year-old security officer at the famous retail landmark caught my fancy, Although we never talked and I was definitely a shopper admirer from a distance fate somehow brought him back into my life over a decade later. With the holiday season upon us it has gotten me thinking about the ghost of loves from Christmas past. My girlfriend and I were lamenting our lost youth when we happened upon an episode from DeGrassi: The Next Generation because we remember the original series from 1986 when it was current! My point is that we were hooked on the love plots centered upon the adult characters of Spike and Snake/Joey and Caitlin who were in DeGrassi Junior High and later DeGrassi High before the series ended in 1992. Never mind the minors! We want to see adult “Jaitlin” have a happy ending!

There is something bittersweet about watching old footage of the teenage “Spake” and “Jaitlin” with their 80’s style clothing, fresh faces, and teenage mentality. Hard to believe it was half a lifetime ago now when you calculate the years since. When it dawns on me how trendy they once looked and hopefully there will NOT be a revival of the series in another decade with them as grandparents! I saw a re-run of the old series with Joey walking down the hall of DeGrassi High with his bright neon 80’s clothes and fedora hat and my realization that it was 20 years ago provoked a sudden mid-life crisis. No wonder classmates.com has become a very popular dating site!

What sparked this article? I was reading a few months ago about a study of first love reunions after many years apart. Surprise …. The person who knew you way back when often captures your heart again. Scientists say that this is due to imprinting and that the first love leaves a template for the rest. Dr. Nancy Kalish who is Classmates.com’s Relationship expert attests that it is best to be single and available if you decide to contact your first love. The powerful feelings evoked are due to the fact that the love never ended, it was on pause, interrupted, and now circumstances allow it to regain its potent position in one’s heart. First love reunions are the emotional equivalent to a Pandora’s box of intense love, like a volcanic eruption after years of feelings frozen in suspended animation. So if this Christmas has you feeling like a lifetime member of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band … take a Sentimental Journey where you’ll maybe be seeing your first love in all the old familiar places … since deep down inside there was Always Something There To Remind You of them all along. Classmates.com is a new twist to the wish; “Can’t we be kids again together?”

If you have never watched the DeGrassi shows past and present, here is a Joey Jeremiah and Caitlin Ryan video from a fan that just says it all: [http://www.zippyvideos.com/8457611766239996/goodbyemylover/]

FACE IT: You NEVER get over your first love …. So keep their family’s numbers handy or at least the name of a good PI.

By the way …. This is my Toronto Memory Archive story: (For months after we said good-bye I often strangely wished we had grown up together, kind of like Joey and Caitlin, or how the Craig and Manny characters are now in the current show)
  Loves of Christmas Past: Classmates.com-Resurrection and Romance  Centre was the first place I visited when I was fresh off a plane from out West at 16. Although I was warned of the swarming by teenage gangs my first visit to the tourist attraction was like a kid in a candy store. I wanted to see every shop in the place. It was the first place I saw that imprinted on me what Toronto was and still does. In fact, it is the fountain in the centre of the first floor near the Queen Street subway entrance where many coins have been tossed for so many different wishes over the years. Every corner of the Toronto Eaton Centre is a hallmark of memory. By the way ... most of the wishes did come true in an odd way.

I worked there at different times in my life, at various places, and then during a two-year stint as a communications advisor with the Ontario government. There isn't a shop or restaurant that I haven't visited. And yes, the closing down of Abacus restaurant, Coles Bookstore, Glamour Shots, the old in-house police station, and other businesses that came and went made me feel like an old friend had been committed to memory. The day Indigo leaves the Eaton Centre I'll be very sad! How many hours have been spent drinking coffee while reading a good book while people watching from above.
When the Eaton Centre was renovated in 2002 and the branding changed, it was as if a Toronto landmark got a facelift that looked great ... but felt like something had gone. The familiar is cozy because it is just so familiar.
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