Tuesday, February 24, 2009

High School Quotes I Remember: Quote #11

(I make no judgements about content. I'm simply purging some of the clutter that's been inside my head since 1983.)

" '83 rules! We're the last of the wild ones, baby!"

~ Jeff Jones, usually the first in our crowd to shout out, enthusiastically, our class motto. He'd yell it during sporting events, as we cruised by White's Funeral Home or after drinking too many beers at Salmon's Run.




I first met Jeff Jones the summer before 8th grade. A new junior high system was put in place that year, and hundreds of kids from various rural elementary schools were fed into the new, centralized, Summersville Junior High. Lots of us were trying out for the new school's football team that summer. We waited on the bleachers that early August morning, preparing for two-a-days to start.

We were scared, but pretended not to be.

Mustering up some courage, I started talking to a group of kids nearby. Jeff was in that crowd. He was socially outgoing, and had a quiet confidence that helped him stand out from the others. Jeff seemed to know who he was, even at that young age. He was a leader, and we all knew it.

From that day forward, through our senior graduation.

Jeff and I lost track of each other after graduation. We both moved away from our hometown, and I was too self-involved at the time to think about keeping up with old friends. Years later, when I tried to track Jeff down, his trail was too cold. There were rumors he moved to the Tennessee or Arkansas areas, but the few friends I kept in touch with didn't know much more than that. Last night--while, finally, reconnecting with mutual friends--I discovered Jeff died last summer from some rare disease.

I let another relationship end, because I had other things to do.

It may be that I'm reacting to this death because I'm growing older and facing the fact that death is inevitable, closer than at any other time in my life. But I don't think that's the cause of my angst. (I've lots of angst to keep track of, and I'm pretty good at recognizing the sources.) Very simply, I'm sorry I missed out on a relationship that I valued at one time, and one I should have worked harder to maintain.

Jeff and I weren't best friends, and there were even brief times we didn't like each other very much. That's the nature of teen friendships, I suppose. But we spent thousands of hours together over the years, and had a healthy appreciation and respect for each other. He was a pretty good example of our class motto: "The last of the wild ones!"

I miss him.

12 comments:

primalscreamx said...

It happens to us all. Everybody drifts, but by no means do you have to think your friendship ever ended. Time and distance are barriers, but fairly transparent. You'd have liked to have known him longer, been around him longer, but for reasons really beyond both of you it didn't happen.
Think of it this way... did you ever see "City Slickers?" What Curly says about the woman he met on the trail once is true with almost everything.

Buzzardbilly said...

I am so sorry to you've had to face this bad news while hoping to find your old friend. Bill's right (as usual): It does happen to all of us.

I had a friend in the class behind mine whom I swore I'd never lose touch with. Well, that first year of college proved more distracting than I thought and I didn't keep touch right off the bat. The next year, I found out that she'd married right after graduation, moved out of state, and then after only a month of marriage, she looked at her husband one evening, said, "ouch," put her hand on her temple, and fell over dead from an anyurism (I know that's the wrong spelling but you get my drift).

I almost felt as guilty for living as I did for not keeping in touch with her. But, you know, she led a happy life without me before she passed. For that, I should be thankful. The rest nothing can be done about. It is not worth beating yourself up. It's simply one of life's many reminders to love the people you love openly and fully (to the best of you ability at the moment...which will constantly change because of this damned human skin) because we just never know.

Buzzardbilly said...

Okay, I guess the short of that story is: Be thankful for the fact that you did spend enjoyable time with him in your life rather than focusing on the time that was 'lost' due to distance.

The Film Geek said...

Good advice. Thanks Buzzardbilly, Bill and Curly! :)

Jackie said...

Jesus Christ!!! That's one of the saddest things I've read in a long time!! You need to warn a brotha next time.

And for not warning me...you're off my blogroll.

MountainLaurel said...

I'm so sorry to hear that, FG. Everyone's right....it happens to us all. I can think of several. And some that are more painful for me to remember. But I'll not share...else I'll be off Jackie's blogroll. ;-)

And, for consolation, I'll bet that several times across his life, he said to someone, "Oh,man, Film Geek and I had some great times! wonder what ever happened to him?"

The Film Geek said...

Jackie: Please, don't throw me in that briar patch! :)

Thanks, man. You too, MtLaurel.I appreciate the good thoughts. Haven't seen the guy in a long, long time, but I'm troubled by it.

Buzzardbilly said...

Jackie threw me in the briar patch. Bastid. I even went all poet-y in an effort to get back. I get nada.

Jackie said...

BB is back in, Filmy is still out, and I'm gonna add ML...and then drop her.

Back to your post, this is why I think Facebook is the devil. IMO some people and things are better off in the past...and once they're in your present it fucks it all up. I'm sure some people thought that about me when I was on there, I mean, they HAD to!

The Film Geek said...

This is gonna be a lotta fun...:)

It...is...on.

Some people should be left in the past. That's why I click "ignore" when they try to befriend me.

Anonymous said...

Wow. well, trolling through your blog, didn't think about reading this :( I liked Jeff a lot (more than he knew **ahem** if the truth be known)

he is one I would always 'look' for when I went home, but didn't have a clue how to find him.

*sigh*
well, hey, glad you didn't click ignore on me :)

Dianne

The Film Geek said...

Sorry to break the news to you this way, Dianne. He was a pretty good guy.