Saying Goodbye

Recently I was informed of the death of two more of my high school classmates. While I have not seen most of my classmates for more than 50+ years, it saddened me. To sound hopelessly maudlin, high school was and indeed is for many people a special time of our lives, perhaps more so than college, as we moved through the last gawky caterpillar stage of adolescence to finally emerge at graduation as butterflies flying off in the infinitely different directions of our adulthood. 

Some of us had been together since early childhood to elementary school, junior high and all through high school. We shared a special bond going through all those awkward years together – those years of braces or acne, of unequal growth spurts and hormonal changes. We huddled together to giggle over the cute boys or girls of the opposite sex. We felt an urgent need for acceptance and ‘fitting in’. There was the yearning for a relationship but fear of rejection, the excitement of our first date, the awkwardness of first kiss, the nervousness of waiting for the phone to ring for, hopefully, another date, another kiss and a ‘real’ boyfriend or girlfriend. 

For many of us, high school provided the last bit of stability and continuity in our lives that would soon be lost. Many of us would leave shortly, some for the military, some for colleges far away. Many never returned home except for brief visits to families over holidays. While a few would start full-time employment nearby, or see each other periodically elsewhere, the tight bonds of youth were loosened to allow room for new people and new experiences. We were changing.

Looking back, the saying ‘you can’t go home again’ is very true. The composition of the town changed as our parents moved away after retirement or died. Newcomers moved in to raise their families. Even the few that stayed local during employment mostly moved away later to pursue a warmer climate or lower taxes or to be closer to children or grandchildren who had scattered to the far corners of the country.

As we were sitting in caps and gowns so many years ago out in the football field waiting to receive our diplomas, I was very aware of the bittersweet nature of the moment. We were dispersing out into the world to pursue our individual paths not knowing what was in store, not knowing when or if we would meet again, embarking upon our own ‘great adventure’.

When I now hear about one of us who has died, I wonder what kind of life they had. Were they happy with the way it turned out and how they faced whatever challenges came their way? Was it a life of which they themselves were proud? Did they marry and was it good? Did they have children and grandchildren, and were they close? 

And then I ask these questions of myself. Am I living the life that at the end I can say it was a good life? Did I accomplish what I wanted? Did I leave a positive legacy? Did I touch the lives of others? Did I make a positive difference? And most of all, did my life matter to ANYONE?

To all my remaining classmates of James Caldwell High School, I have not kept in touch with any of you, but I remember you all fondly. You left an indelible mark of upon my soul. I wish you the best of everything life has to offer. Until we meet again…. 

My love. Roxanne 

Copyright by Roxanne Louise. However, this article may be shared in other free online sources only if this copyright notice and links are included to and .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: