They seem to come in the form of a Facebook update with the morning review of the iPhone or an email update from an unfamiliar “Class of 88” address heading. They seem to stream to the top of the feed and email queue among the pictures of Christmas trees and decorated homes and corporate holiday wishes. A notice of death of one of our own.
Many years ago the names were much more familiar than they are now. I remember their face, their seemingly attractive older sister to my eye at the time and perhaps where their parents worked or what kind of car his dad washed in the driveways on Saturday. I use to remember that play they made in Little League in 5th grade or the trouble we got into with the local police in 9th grade. And whose father picked us up and the kind of car and the older sister in the front seat beaming she was not the one who got caught this time.
The names are vaguely less familiar and the faces have seemed to fade over time in my memory, replaced with 25 plus years of other memories, perhaps some of those lost as well from those 40 years prior.
Kids from grade school, junior high and high school now appear as adults on obituaries and RIP message boards on Facebook.
The notices come from those who stayed where we grew up and live and raise their own families. For those of us who “left” and have lived elsewhere longer than we did there, we do not see each other at the school, grocery store or gym as they do. Apparently they read the obituaries as well or get the call about a wake, funeral or memorial. Some of us wake up to the news through email or social media from our “local” contacts that mention the address of the funeral home or bar to remember.
There are perhaps 5 or 6 that I am aware of from the roughly 200 of us in that class from several grade schools and junior highs that completed the better part of K-12 together from our two Chicago suburbs who have passed. At least one from cancer. Another killed while running along a dark road. A couple more from more natural causes.
The pace of notification seems to be increasing. The names and the faces increasingly distant. The houses and their parents more remote.
And my memories of their hockey finesse or what kind of car their dad drove us to practice in or what their older sister looked like are fading.
A popular song for those of us who grew up with 80’s Rock remember “I’m gonna live forever” and we probably believed it through junior high dances, proms and graduations.
You hear about a classmate’s parent passing or perhaps an older sibling with an addiction that could not be beat but when it is one of your own the notice always seems too soon.