“YOU FOUND ME!” A Heartfelt Reunion of 1990s Children from the Upper West Side

jennifer and kim

It was a simple plea posted on a local Facebook page along with a blurry snapshot of two children.

The younger child, now 36-year-old Jennifer Calcano, was looking for her older friend, hoping someone might know her last name or how to get in touch with her.

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Ms. Calcano posted the message and photo on the “Upper West Side Together” Facebook page on Feb. 23, hoping to find Kimberly; all she remembered was her first name. When Ms. Calcano was in 2nd and 3rd grades, Kimberly came over to the family’s apartment every weekday morning to help her get ready for the day and accompany her to school. They lived on the same block and both attended St. Gregory the Great School on West 90th Street where Kimberly was in 7th and later 8th grade. Ms. Calcano’s mother was suffering with health issues and wasn’t always able to help her daughter get ready for school. The years were 1993 to 1995.

“My name is Jennifer and the young lady hugging me is named Kimberly. I’ve been looking for her for years, just to show gratitude because if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have made it to school every day due to my mother’s illness and she was such a nice beautiful young woman. Does anyone know where I can locate her?”

Dozens of people replied below the photo, offering suggestions to help with the search or just expressing support. But none knew Kimberly.

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“I remember her being the cool older girl,” Ms. Calcano recalled recently. “She was always so nice and didn’t mind taking me to school. I always felt great in her presence. I felt safe with her.”

One day a few years ago, she was looking through old photo albums and came across the picture of her and Kimberly. Her mother had died in 2013 and Ms. Calcano was feeling wistful about reconnecting with old friends. She still lives in the apartment she grew up in but hadn’t seen Kimberly since she left St. Gregory’s and moved to Connecticut.

ALSO READ: Exploring Lincoln Square During the 1990s

After a few days, the internet worked its magic and there was a new comment from Kim Mendez.

“YOU FOUND ME!!!!! I messaged you,” Ms. Mendez wrote. “I too think about you often and wondered about you. You were such a sweet little lady. I’m happy to have helped in any capacity. Xoxo love you!”

When Ms. Calcano saw the message, she thought “Oh my god, that’s her,” she said.

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A friend of Ms. Mendez’s aunt, who still lives in the neighborhood, had seen the photo of the two girls and told the aunt about Ms. Calcano’s post.

“My aunt texted me the photo and said ‘look who’s looking for you.’ It brought tears to my eyes,” Ms. Mendez said.

Ms. Mendez said she enjoyed taking her young friend to school every day.

“I loved doing it. She was such a sweetheart and so cute and I never had a little sister. It actually got me to school on time too.”

The two have since spoken on the phone and plan to get together in the nearby future.

“It was amazing to speak with her,” Ms. Calcano said. “She told me I have my mother’s voice. She told me my mother was very giving and caring and that she really loved me. I knew my mother loved me but that was comforting to hear from someone else.”

Ms. Calcano now has three children of her own and is eager to introduce them to her old friend. She had a long career with the U. S. Postal Service before leaving last year. Ms. Mendez, 42, has a teenage son and works in the cannabis industry in Connecticut.

“The next time I’m in the city hopefully we can link up and go out for drinks or something,” Ms. Mendez said.


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  1. don March 15, 2024

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