This weekend, via Facebook, I reconnected with a good friend from elementary school. Billy was in my class from the fourth grade (when we moved to the
I’ve told this story else where in my blog, but that summer between the sixth and seventh grade, my grandparents were down and the whole lot of us went to the beach. Cathy and her family were there and I was proud to introduce her to my Grandma. When I got home, I overheard my Grandma warning my mother about “that Catholic girl,” saying I’d convert it I married her. My mother told my Grandma that we were just kids (that hurt!) and she wouldn’t worry about it at this point in our lives. Truthfully, I was just a kid, but I felt in my heart that Cathy and I would stay together and marry and live happily together watching the sunset. That wasn't to be. Toward the end of the 7th Grade, Cathy and I had a fight. Trying to act big and tough, I called her a bitch (This was a hard way to learn the lesson that you don’t call someone that!). I pleaded for forgiveness and she forgave, but the magic had been broken. A few days later she said she had enough and broke up for good. At the last day of school, we talked for the last time. The next year, due to redistricting, she went to another school.
I’d often wondered what had happened to her. I don’t remember which year it was, but in the 90s, I spent several summers in
“Where are you from?” I asked.
,” she said. North Carolina
“Where?” I asked.
“What year did you graduate from high school?” I pried further.
“What school?” I asked. “New Hanover High (known as New Hangover, to those of us who went to Hoggard—you can only imagine the names they had for us).
The bookstore wasn’t busy and we talked for another 30 minutes about people we knew—she’d even dated a friend of mine in high school and had worked at a McDonald’s across the street from the grocery store that I worked in. I asked her if she knew Cathy, telling her she was my first real love. She got quiet for a moment and turned white and asked if I’d heard what had happened. From a stranger, I learned that Cathy had recently died in a golf cart accident.
Reconnecting with Billy, he too told me about her death and about having run into Cathy and her husband at a party before her death, which has got me thinking about her. I’m happy to reconnect with Billy. I’ve often wondered what happened to him and I’m glad he’s doing well. We both are dealing with issues with our mothers. They were so young back then, now his mother is in a nursing home with dementia and mine has Alzheimer’s. Thinking about all that’s past and that I’ll never run into my first love at a reunion, I’m feeling a tinge of sadness come on.