I knew someone when
From the formulaic phrase by which speakers begin reminiscence of now-famous persons.
I knew someone when Used upon hearing of a success of an acquaintance, often ironically for minor successes 1915, "Interesting People: Charles Bullard: A Famous Photographer of Cats", in "The American Magazine" His friends thought him crazy, as friends always think when a man has an original idea and acts on it. Now, when his friends speak of him they invariably add, "I knew him when—" 1918, Western Electric News Of course when your school chum comes in from the old home town you want to send him back a life-long member of the "I-knew-him-when Club." You picture him back home, just a wee bit superior, as befits a friend of the great, holding forth to the boy's at the Sunshine Athletic Club. 1920, George Ade, I Knew Him When--: A Hoosier Fable Dealing with the Happy Days of Away Back Yonder 1971, W. A. Mambert, The Elements of Effective Communication: Idea, Power, Tactics, page 146 The classical example of this is the "I knew him when" syndrome. Consider your immediate family. They know you as you really are, if anyone does. 2008, Lisa Tucker, The Cure for Modern Life page 89 "Well, congratulations. On the speech, everything." She stood up straighter and forced a smile. "I can always say I knew him when."
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