Posted July 9, 2013on:
I learned to drive in my brother John’s first car. Yeah, I shifted gears and everything. He had the top removed to make it more fun, forcing us to use umbrellas or stay home on rainy days. This was taken in the school’s parking lot with the cafeteria in the background. As juniors and seniors we thought it was cool to go uptown and buy lunch in the only restaurant. In the photo my brother John was driving some of my friends and me back to school when three senior boys jumped onto the trunk. (As though the car wasn’t already full.)
I smiled at the “good old days” when I ran across this picture and thought of the lives of my schoolmates. Only two left our small farming community. One of the senior boys died of a stroke this summer, leaving his wife of fifty years, also in the picture. Another boy lost his young wife, and three of the group tragically lost young children. Seven went to college, two became nurses, five became teachers – although John and I were the only ones to make a career of it. Two of these schoolmates went through divorce, two stayed single, and one is so estranged from her family that she refuses to come back for class reunions. Three of the girls were victims of breast cancer, two losing their lives to it. One in the group pulls an oxygen tank everywhere she goes. One is raising grandchildren due to a daughter’s addiction. My brother has been living in a nursing home since a car accident in April. The years have passed, yet the memories are vivid and sweet. How I’d love to gather these old friends, load them into a vintage convertible, and ride through town with them. Maybe someday John will be able to drive us. I hope so.