Saturday, December 1, 2007

Did any of us know how lucky we were?

I got an e-mail from Darla Garber the other day in which she said I was crazy for saying she looked like a "young goddess" in high school.

Anyone who looked at our yearbook pictures from back then will see that Darla was a beautiful blonde in the full bloom of youth. Jeez, I wonder if there's ever an age at which girls look better than when they're 17.

Heck, when I looked at our senior yearbook for the first time since 1971 and saw myself in some of the activity pictures, I found myself amazed that I really wasn't the troll I thought I was.

A great philosopher -- I think it was either Plato or Spiro Agnew -- put it best.

"Youth is wasted on the young."

Ain't it the truth.

I talked to several of you at the reunion -- sorry to keep picking on Darla and Dale -- who really don't seem to have had any idea how lovely you were back then, and I found myself wondering if anyone really did. Or were we all so insecure that we could only see the flaws in ourselves?

As at adult who has fought a -- mostly losing -- perennial battle to keep my weight under 200 pounds, I marvel at pictures of a kid who was every bit as tall as I am now and weighed only about 160. When I dieted for six months in the late '80s and got down to 160, people asked me if I was ill. I didn't look ill in 1967.

I was trying to think of who had been generally regarded as the most beautiful girls in our class (by the guys, of course), and some of the names that came to mind were Karen Theurer, Susie Ludtke and Nancy Abt.

Somehow I have a feeling that even they weren't as confident about how they looked as they should have been.

In a post back in the early days of this site, I remember Dale saying that there were boys she had hoped would ask her out who never did. As a former boy myself, I'd be willing to bet that at least some of those boys probably wanted to go out with her but didn't have the nerve to ask.

Forty years probably have changed some of that. One of the happiest moments of my life was a result of my lovely wife's courage. When Nicole and I were first dating, I was seeing someone else as well. On our third date, when I took her home, she said the most wonderful thing I ever heard in my life.

She told me that she knew I was seeing someone else and she didn't think I would ultimately choose her. But she said she wanted to keep seeing me because she thought I was worth it.

Do you think any of us knew back then that we really were special, or were we all just foundering, trying to keep from drowning and hoping someday to make it to shore?


Carol (Witaschek) Beaupre said...

I'm crushed. Not even an honorable mention!! hahaha

I remember the gorgeous people and thinking I had to rely on my sense of humor! Certainly of value now in my late fifties when gorgeous meets gravity!

It's such a relief not to have to worry about all that anymore.

Dale Morgan said...

That picture is of Herb Forsberg sitting on Butch Fagot's daddy's pool table sometime during our senior year. I don't know if any of you know it (I did not until I found this picture and asked Butch about it), but Herb's parents were stationed somewhere else our senior year. I don't know if it was all senior year or half. Butch's parents offered to let Herb live there and finish out his senior year.

The last reunion Herb attended was our 20th back in summer of 87. Butch tells me that Herb lived in Texas and had not planned on attending the reunion. A couple of days before the reunion, Herb called Butch and said he was coming and asked if he could stay with Butch's family for the reunion. Turned out Herb had just found out he had terminal lung cancer and wanted to say goodbye. Herb told NO ONE except Butch until the reunion weekend was over. Herb passed away in March the following year.

Sean Kennedy said...

Carol, I would tell you that you don't look any different than when we grew up in Kings Park. You're still as great looking as you were then, and still have a terrific sense of humor. You always have had both, but I suspect back then you thought you had only one of those bases covered.

I think Mike is right. It is very hard to know who you are at 17-18 years of age. Over time you gradually introduce yourself to the person you thought you were. It always struck me as a bit magical, how you discover it.

Some friends of mine seemed to have figured out who they are and what they wanted to be and do at a very early age. I've been tripping over myself for years. What you learn is that you're not as lost or as found as you think. Truly a magical experience.

Dale the story you told about Herb was a terrific read. I wish I had known him.