Shortly before graduating from my senior year of high school, I experienced my first tragedy: an auto accident took the life of a classmate.
Ray was taken from this Earth too soon.
I sat next to Ray in Computer Science class that semester and just a few days before. He was a friend. My older brothers and sister were friends with his older brothers and sisters. Our parents were friends and both heavily involved in the local church.
His passing didn’t just shock the Class of ’87, it rocked the entire community of our then quiet little town of Enfield, CT.
Classmates bonded and supported one another through a difficult period. Typical high school quarrels became less important, friendships were mended, and we experienced new emotions in our young lives.
As years passed, other classmates would be taken from this Earth too soon.
Over the past six months, I’ve had the fortune to reconnect with some of my best friends from the Class of ’87. Unfortunately, it was while we watched another classmate slowly, painfully, and valiantly lose her battle against cancer.
Tammy left this Earth too soon, on June 1.
Writing is my therapist. And from the emails and messages I receive from old friends, classmates, and even strangers, reading my words is therapeutic for them.
With each re-connection that I make, I am brought back to 1987. I remember the good times we had together, even though we may not have been good friends. It could have been a simple pick-up game of street hockey, or a ride home from a party, or a conversation in Study Hall.
Almost 30 years later, the connections are still there. They are a little loose and frayed and we’ve got grey hair (or no hair) but they still “work.”
Will all those connections be strengthened? Will we all stay in touch? The simple answer: No, but that is okay. We understand that we are adults now, with our own families and some have kids that are now in/graduating/have graduated high school (Yikes! Are we really that old?)
Will those past connections ever be cut or disconnected. No. Why?
Because we are the Class (someone who shows impressive and stylish excellence) of ’87 and we grew up (in more ways than one) in the community of Enfield.
Thank you, Tammy, for being a great friend. Thank you for being an instrument of peace and fostering these “blasts-from-the-past” re-connections. Thank you Class of ’87 for being a high school friend and growing up to be a compassionate adult.
To Hannah and Emma. I see your mother’s influence in both of you. Your apple does not fall far from her tree, as she did not fall far from her parent’s tree.
You will undoubtedly make your mark in this world (with respect, dignity, and especially class) as your mother has done, and will continue to do.
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.
photo credit: live-av.info