Posts Tagged ‘classmates’

I ran out to run an errand this afternoon and on the way back, I drove by the local high school.  Out on their electronic marquee, was a note of condolence and support for the loved ones of 16 year old Ashley Wilks, who was killed by sniper fire at a local underage club last weekend.

I’ve been thinking about her and her school mates.  The high school years are such a difficult time.  Kids walk through their daily lives in pain and some in numbness.  To have something like this happen can send many of them over the edge.  I hope this incident doesn’t destroy any more lives than it already has.

It also made me remember the school mates that I lost while I was in high school.  There were several that didn’t make it through the four years of high school.  My younger sister’s best friend and “honorary brother” was killed one early summer evening a week before school let out for summer.  His name was Greg and he was a freshman.  Greg was the baby of his family and only son.  He had five older sisters.  On that evening, he was on a motor scooter in front of the house.  He hit a pot hole and was thrown into the air, breaking his neck.  The whole neighborhood was watching, including his mother.  He was killed instantly.  When I was a junior, my class lost two on the same day.  Brad and Greg cut school one day and went to Greg’s house to hang out.  Somehow they both ended up being shot when they were playing with Greg’s mom’s gun which she kept to feel safer in a house alone with her children.

One that I won’t forget is Rudy.  Rudy and I shared a last name but were not related.  He hung with the wrong crowd.  I had stayed away from him but one summer we both worked at the high school under the Neighborhood Youth Corps, a program to help low income youth gain job skills.  I worked in the office, doing secretarial work and Rudy worked with the custodian, Howard.  We got to know each other that summer and it turned out that Rudy was a really neat kid.  He was quiet and shy; a follower, not a leader.  Up until that point, he had chosen to follow the wrong crowd.  At the end of summer, I gave him a ring I had been wearing all summer that he had admired often.  It was a little cluster of tiny cow bells.  It kind of jingled as I moved my hand and Rudy liked it.  I took it off the last day of work and gave it to him and made him promise he would be more careful who he hung out with and that he’d come and ask me when he needed help with his school work.  During the school year, we’d run into each other and stop and talk a bit or wave from across the courtyard.  Neither of us cared that we didn’t “belong” to the same group of friends.  We were friends and we kinda looked out for one another.  When I graduated, Rudy was still in school.  He was a year behind me.  Over Labor Day weekend Rudy drowned at one of the local lakes.  He was there with his family on the crowded lake.  It took several days to find his body.

These classmates and others have not been forgotten.  It has been many years; several decades, but they’ve not been forgotten.  They’ve been remembered and missed and thought of often.

I know Ashley Wilks will be missed and thought of and remembered many years from now.

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