I always wondered if those kids and teens I met growing up wonder what happened to me the way I wonder what happened to them. The characters that flitted in and out of my childhood, many of them left our small town as quickly as they could, just like I did. The ones who stayed, my parents never hesitate to inform me about their life–Samuel and Charlotte got married, Samuel took over his dad’s hardware store, Charlotte is raising their two kids. Richard and his brothers all took jobs down at the mill, and if I wanted to move back home, they always thought that Richard and I would make a good couple.
Then, of course, there was David. Everyone knew what happened to David when he got out of town. The Reality Show Singing Star of four years ago–the Main Street was renamed for him, and Mom says that he’s never stepped foot back in our little town from the moment he claimed his title.
But it’s the others I wonder about. Like, Sarah, who I had all but one class with junior year. We talked a lot that year, trading notes and forming study groups, but then senior year I never saw her much again. In fact, I’m not even confident that she graduated with us. Maybe she got out of town early.
Then there was Anthony, infamous through the school as the curve wrecker for almost always getting perfect test scores. He graduated in the middle of our class though, because he refused to do any individual projects or homework as a form of “Protest.” His mother was the type of woman who tended to get in trouble for going out to get her mail absolutely butt naked before assisting they had no right to tell her she had to be clothed on her own property. That did help boost Anthony’s popularity with the “Want to see an adult woman naked” crowd a bit before he left town.
Or there was Sandra, the school’s only goth, who would often be found during lunch sitting in the corner of the room knitting obnoxiously bright hats for “the Preemie Project.” She’d teach anyone to knit or crochet if they asked, and she helped me make a baby blanket for my youngest sister.
Or John, who did so many school projects and afterschool activities that we were all pretty convinced that he never left school grounds from the day we first stepped foot on campus as freshmen to the day we graduated. At the very least, no one I ever spoke to ever saw him anywhere but the school…
I idly wonder what happened to them, and perhaps selfishly, I wonder if they ever wonder what happened to me. How have all our lives changed, and what part of walking down those common school halls made it possible for us to get us where we are today? It’d be interesting to know.
But, not enough to head back to town for a high school reunion. No, thank you.