As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve known my friend Lynne since I was five and we’ve been friends ever since, without Facebook to keep us connected–although it is a handy tool these days. In the years I’ve been using this popular site to catch up with family and friends, I’ve certainly reconnected with kids I knew in high school.
The other day on Facebook one of my friends posted news that a high school classmate had passed away. He was fifty years old, like the rest of us, and the buzz on Facebook would lead me to believe the death was somewhat unexpected. There have been several others from the class of ’81 who’ve passed since we walked that stage at CCRI thirty-two years ago and it got me to thinking about high school friends and the role they play in our lives.
In the early 90’s I was working at a college in Vermont. I went to a statewide meeting of student affairs staff working at the Vermont State Colleges and across the room I noticed a familiar face. It was someone I’d graduated with from Toll Gate High School. I walked over to him and said “Hi David, what are you doing here?” After exchanging some hugs I found out that he was coaching at one of the colleges. We spent some time before and after the meeting catching up on news of each others’ families and then we went back to our jobs at separate college campuses. I saw him a couple of more times after that but understand he moved to either New Hampshire or back to Rhode Island while I was still up north.
After spending so much time in Vermont making new friends and memories it was nice to touch base with the familiar, the known, the history. Regardless of what our perception is today of our high school experience, there is a group of people who went through those days with us. Would I call them all friends, I’m not sure; but knowing we shared the challenges and successes of being in high school makes me smile.
I won’t be able to go to the calling hours or the funeral for David this week. I’d known him from elementary school through high school and beyond. I imagine it will be a sad reunion for those of us who do attend. So, to the Toll Gate class of 1981, thank you for the part you played in my life and continue to!