Two Days, a Year apart
I have a small space in my memory of certain annual events that tended to fill a time slot that may have otherwise been quite melancholy. These particular days came at the end of my junior and senior years, masking a certain sadness that some things were coming to an end. Frankly, were it not for a need to produce another article and my subsequent browsing through my copies of the Scarlack, our school annual, I might never have read countless scribbles penned by my classmates, friends and faculty addressed specifically to me. Most of the writings were simple ‘Best Wishes’ or ‘Good Luck,’ but some referenced a reminder of the bonds we were to carry throughout the coming chapters in the book of our life.
“Best of luck to a fine senior” wrote Paul Chandler. He might have written a lot more considering a lifetime of doing things together, but we were trying to rush around to have friends sign our book. Time was limited for already some were leaving the campus, heading home perhaps forever. “Best of Luck, Yogi” Billy John. It’s a funny thing, only the boys called me by that nickname. I guess Yogi didn’t relate to the girls. Another nickname appeared, “To Too Tall, one of the best friends a boy could have,” by Johnny Bill. Wow! What memories jumped off the pages as I read the notes left for me so many years ago.
“Best of Luck in the years to come to a real nice guy. Always remember Carolyn Shortridge’s slumber party” signed Phyllis Bradley. “Best wishes to a nice boy. May you have much happiness” Linda Lee. “Best wishes to a very handsome boy. Love” Wanda. “Dear Mike, It’s been wonderful knowing you. I’ll always remember the good times we’ve had at bandcamp and at school. May we always be the best of friends. Your pal,” William Hugh Whitt. “Best of luck to a good friend,’ Libby Wells. “Best of luck in the future,” Lois Jean Caudill.
“Best of luck to a real nice boy. Hope you have good luck in your “Drum Major” role.” Nancy B. Cheek. She knew I was to have that position in my senior year before I did. “Good luck to Yogi Bar!” Steve Gay. “Mike, I certainly want to wish you the very best in life. Good luck to a nice guy.” Charles Gray. So even faculty and staff wrote blessings.
Those writings were meant well and were kinder than deserved, I suspect. One always wants to be held in the highest esteem by one’s peers, but it is a rare occasion when comments are made with the knowledge that in some cases this was a last chance. Today, as I look at the comments I cannot help but notice that I never saw many of these friends again. Each have gone their own ways and a portion have passed on to their reward. In truth, life is made up of constant change. We grow comfortable and make friends only to find ourselves separated and living lives differently than imagined. Still, we have these memories, don’t we? A nickname never used again is still part of who we are. A face, a smile, and a warm picture from the past is all that is left. As we live on with our own families and newly (relatively) acquired friends, memories will have to do. That’s okay. They serve a purpose during that quiet moment when once again they come alive and bring with them the laughter and pleasantness that echo still in those hills we call home.
“Mike, Good luck in everything you try. Stay as cute and sweet as you are now.” Lori Buskirk. “Best of luck always to a very sweet boy. Never forget the fun we had in band. I sure am going to miss it. Be good” Glenda Holbrook. “Mike, you have always been a good friend and I hope we will still remain friends,” Teenie Van Hoose “Best wishes always to a wonderful person. I’ll never forget all the fun we’ve had. Remember me always as a good friend.” Betty Meade “I’ll never forget you as long as I live. I hope you won’t forget all the good times we’ve had at my house. You’re a fine musician. I hope you succeed in all you endeavor. I know you will. You are a fine boy – stay that way. I hope I’ll see you in the future doing what you want best. Love” Joan Carol Baily. “The best of luck in the future to a real friend” Melvin Salyers “Lots of luck to a good pal of mine” Gary Derifield. “We have had a lot of fun together this year. I will always remember you. I know that the year would not have been nearly as nice without you. We have really had a good time despite our ups and downs. Best of everything. I know that you will always be a success. I will remember you always. Love ya, Carolyn.” “It’s been a good year and you are a chief reason,” Richard Armstrong. “Remember me as one of your best friends” Bill Elkins.
In these Scarlacks I see page after page of good wishes and high regards from people I will always, always remember. My purpose in sharing these few with a broader audience is to remind everyone of friends from another day. Left to time some memories fade but the comments and sweet names remain on these pages forever. Occasionally, I suggest you peel out your copy of a school annual and let those memories refresh your life as they ‘free-range’ for just a moment. You will be glad you did.