[Grammar] Past Perfect vs Past Simple. He recognized his old friend Tom in the street.

teleelf

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If I use Past Simple as the main clause in a story and need to go back to more recent events in several sentences in a row, can I use Past Perfect like in the example below?

(It is not a good example but I think the point is clear)
He recognized his old friend Tom in the street. They hadn't seen each other for years. Tom had been a very popular kid. Everybody had respected him. They had been best friends...
Tom saw him and approached.

It doesn't sound correct to me. Could I somehow use Past Simple in these sentences?
 

Tarheel

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It looks good to me. However, you could change a couple of them. You could change Everybody had respected him to Everybody respected him. You could change They had been best friends to They were best friends. Or you could leave it the way it is. It depends on context.
 
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