Our lives are narrower in scope at that age, but still dominated by playground politics and social maneuvering. We can spot weaknesses and strengths, and experience a whole range of passions.
I still think of a certain childhood friend as a comrade - one of my first friends outside of my immediate neighborhood - the first friendship based wholly on shared interests and an attitude about the world around us. When I saw him again over thirty years later, we not only shared memories, but I found that I recognized his personality. I knew his degree of sensitivity, and the sense of humor that likely formed our early friendship.
As I reconnect with other early childhood friends on Facebook - and I've now reconnected with most of them - I recall that kid that I once was - and now realize that I'm fundamentally still that same kid.