There are some people in your life that you think are always going to be there whether you see them often or not at all. Then you get word they’ve died.
Steve was one of those people. We were in school together, from kindergarten to 12th grade. Steve was smart, good looking and talented – dark hair and blue/green penetrating eyes. In the second grade, Miss Patton, our teacher, locked him in the closet (maybe more than once) for misbehaving. Probably for nothing more than making the class laugh at something.
Steve’s dad was the crossing guard for our elementary school – in the days when the crossing guards were police officers — and since I walked to school I saw his dad every day. Frank would send messages to Steve, even though I’m now pretty sure he’d probably just dropped Steve off at the school. I had such a crush on Frank when I was about eight years old.
I think Steve started playing drums when we were in junior high – I wanted to play drums as well, but the band director wouldn’t let me. (I ended up playing the flute, which was a total waste of time and an entirely different story.)
He was also a talented artist – I’d forgotten that until someone on Facebook mentioned being in an art class with him.
Steve was in a rock band when we were in junior high, and I remember a talent show where his band rocked the gym but the teachers didn’t like it for some reason. It would have been 1968 or 1969, and knowing Steve, they probably leaned more to the bad boy rock of The Rolling Stones than the feel-good pop of The Beatles.
We lost touch after high school. I don’t think he went to college, but I could be wrong. He moved away from the small town where we grew up (and where his dad eventually became the chief of police).
Some people remember he came to one high school reunion in a limo – pretty big stuff for our little town.
I would run into a good friend of his during the 1980s in the city where we both eventually moved and would get brief reports that Steve was doing okay in Texas. Or was it Florida?
Sometime in the early 2000s, I heard he’d moved back to the town where we grew up. His dad had passed away, and I heard he was helping take care of his mom.
At some point, he contacted the newspaper where I worked for advertising. Somehow, he and the sales rep figured out he knew me – kind of crazy since the paper was in a different, albeit nearby city. I don’t remember what he was advertising – maybe he had put together a small business.
I always thought I’d run into him – I was in our hometown a lot, helping my own mother – but I never did.
I’m sorry now I never tracked him down.
I’d rather be able to tell you I’d made time for a glass of wine or a coffee and laughed with him about Miss Patton, than to now have to tell you that I made time to write down these memories.