When I was in high school, I was considered one of the odd people. You know, the kids who are generally shunned because we simply don’t fit in anywhere else.
As expected, we got together and formed our own group, hanging out before and after school. For some reason, I started thinking about them this morning.
Y’all know why I was considered weird, and you know how I turned out. I wonder what happened to the others? After I graduated, I purposefully lost touch with all of them, and I’ve never attended any reunions, though I received invites the first ten or fifteen years. After that, they lost track of me, and I let them.
There were the Asian twins, Linda and Susan. Back then, being Asian was notable, especially in a mostly white suburban school, and so they were considered odd. I had to walk several blocks to the bus stop, and as they were on the way, I often swung by and picked them up. Their mother would turn the temp in the house up to eighty degrees before taking a shower. Many a time I would walk into their house wearing full winter gear and feel like I was in a sauna, but I wouldn’t take any of it off because we were “leaving any minute.”
I spent most early mornings with Jay P down in the theater area, backstage where it was quiet and dark and we wouldn’t be disturbed. He was large, not light of foot, and wore Coke-bottle glasses. He was also an amazing songwriter and played the guitar beautifully. He confided he thought he might be gay, and I guess I said the right things, because we remained good friends. A couple years out of high school, I heard he tried to kill himself by jumping in the river. He changed his mind and checked himself into the psych ward at the hospital. During an initial exam, it was discovered he had prostate cancer. He lived and ended up marrying Karen, another weirdo in our group. After that, I lost track of them.
There were others, too. Many others, all people who were square pegs trying to fit into round holes. One in particular stands out, though I never knew him well. I think his real name was John, but he insisted we call him Seneca, after the Roman philosopher. He was tall and thin and yes, wore glasses. I don’t remember particulars about my interaction with him, other than that we took on student council and the principal in order to change rules we thought were stupid, and Seneca was our front man because he was smart as a whip and everyone knew it.
Looking back, what gives me a warm feeling about this particular student was how readily everyone eventually accepted Seneca: his choice of name, his intelligence, his wry sense of humor. He was decidedly different, but he embraced it and found good friends who accepted him exactly as he was. Knowing how terrible high school kids can be, I’m still amazed he pulled it off. He was exactly the type of kid who would be bullied today, but he escaped it. I suspect he did so because he accepted himself first, and that eventually made everyone else do it, too.
And here’s another pic of the “big sky” we get here in Florida. We sure do get some gorgeous cloud formations.
Have a great weekend! See you Monday.