Tuesday, February 9, 2010

From seniors to near-seniors: a journey of discovery

There was this boy.

He was beautiful. Golden hair. A goofy smile that melted my heart. Smart as a whip. With a hot car -- an orange Barracuda, if I have my facts straight.

But I don't remember what color his eyes were. This bothers me for some reason, even though it was multiple decades ago.

I liked him soooooo much. My high school BFF liked this other boy, and we would spend Fridays and Saturday nights of our senior year driving a circuit between the house of MY boy and the house of HERS, giggling and wishing wishing wishing for glimpse of our crushes.

The route never varied, and we never tired of the game.

I have no idea what we would have done if either boy had actually stepped outside his front door.

Probably panicked and hot-rodded the heck outta there, followed by a lot more giggling and just DYING of embarrassment.

As if we hadn't brought it upon ourselves.

It was a relationship that never was. It was a burning, one-sided crush -- passionate yet unrequited.

And so we graduated from high school, and the boy went to college on the East Coast, while I stayed on the West.

I went on to a career in newspapers, and he ... well, I have no idea because I never heard anything more about him.

But he was a brilliant writer (we co-edited the literary magazine that last year of high school), and I had no doubt that, at some point, he would become Something Great.

Many people from my high school class became Something Great -- or at least Something Pretty Good.

I know this because I -- and many of my elementary and high school cronies -- have taken to social networking to reconnect with our past.

This is especially important this year because the 40th anniversary of our launch into the world is fast approaching, and reunion planning is under way. Facebook has made it easier to find classmates, and I have spent many an evening linking from one friend through to another and another, amazed at what we look like and sound like four decades after being released from high school.

Always, lurking in the shadows, was the idea that I would somehow find that boy, that long-ago crush.

Why? Basic curiosity, really. I wanted to see how he turned out. Did high school cute and virile turn into middle-age bald and paunchy? Or was he now ruggedly handsome with a trophy wife and 2.5 children? Did he become Something Great? Or just Something Ordinary?

The internet -- and Facebook in particular -- is a godsend when it comes to reunion planning. What did they do in the dark ages when you had to rely on mailing lists and word of mouth? Now it's so simple. My class has a Facebook page ... and a freestanding website where information flows freely.

I looked at our website the other day and noticed a page labeled "In memory of ..."

I clicked ... and was shocked by what I saw.

There were the ones I knew about. The boy who had died of a brain aneurysm when we were freshman. The girl who had died of ovarian cancer when we were in our 30s.

There were some names that didn't look familiar.

And there there was ... his.

My boy. My high school crush.

Now on a list of the dead of the class of 1970.

I have no idea what happened to him. When or how or why he died.

I just know that he's gone.

And a little bit of me is gone with him.


songbird's crazy world said...

oh, Janet, I am so sorry. getting older sucks, doesn't it? I wish you would have found him alive and well.

Indigo said...

A sad loss. He was a huge part of your high school years. I'm so sorry you didn't get a chance to know him alive. (Hugs)Indigo

The Duchess of Wessex said...

I've had the same experience with Facebook and I am truly sorry for BOTH of us.

How fortunate we are to have made it this far, is what I often think.

Much love!

Joyce-Anne said...

I'm so sorry.

MJ said...

i'm so sorry. i had the same experience when i found out the vet who saved my beloved dog's life had died. i wasn't close to him at all, but i was so sad he had passed.

and btw, until now, i've been thinking you're my age (31). i don't know why, you'd had to have Roo girl when you were 16, and i KNOW she's not your oldest... you are just really cool.

Daisy said...

So sad... did you have details? I hope he knew in some way that he was special.

HalfAsstic.com said...

Oh, God, that is sooo sad. I found out a few years ago that a boy I dated very briefly in high school was killed in a car accident after getting in a fight with his wife and leaving the house. It really IS crushing.
If you can find out what happened to him after high school I, for one, so want to know.

K said...

Sometimes these things hit home harder when they're so unexpected - and almost unimaginable. I mean, it just doesn't occur to be a possibility.

It is sad to wonder. I hope his life was full.

Pamela said...

well written. I just had my 40th and I didn't go.

I wonder if they thought I was dead. Or if they even remembered me.

Texasholly said...

That is sooo sad.

Jaina said...

Oh dear, that's so sad. :(

Daisy said...

Hello again, darlin'. I hope you're enjoying the cheer competition. Meanwhile, there's an award for you on Compost Happens today. Enjoy the sunshine!

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Karen said...

Janet, I'm sorry. That's so hard.

gg said...





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