Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Just Crazy. Simply Crazy. Beautiful Crazy. Awful Crazy. Fortunate Crazy.

I quoted Chinua Achebe the other day in a tribute to Brian,
"Sometimes things fall apart, so that better things can fall together" ~Chinua Achebe.
 It may be strange, but the event has created a spark and I've heard from several students from that time that I've been wondering about for almost a decade. These were kids who were Brian's friends and who I thought the world of, too...

...they just disappeared.

Last night I heard from a kid I nicknamed Squid (to my Frog). He was a writer and inked up the page like no other, and although I knew he was heading outside NYC for college, I lost touch with him in 2009. Last night he called to fill me in and catch me up on his story.

I was able to fill him in on my own.

We chatted Brown School, tattoos, predictions and realities (and I wonder how many students of yesteryear actually went through with tattoos of the nicknames I gave them in high school - eeks). We talked adult life, about Brian, about what comes next, and what we missed most.

It's so strange catching up with people from yesteryear. I was thinking about my life after Kentucky and how the last nine years delivered a lot of life-changing-life: time with my family, Abu and Lossine, Chitunga, a doctorate, Glamis, now life in Connecticut. It seems crazy to think about my world of high school teaching in Louisville and where the evolution has taken me since.

But (**blink**) it was yesterday. My last memories of KY were with this particular class, who I left in 2007 and who graduated in 2008. Alice says, "Of all the classes I've ever taught, they had the oldest souls. I almost forgot that they were teenagers."

Brian's death is unwrapping a lot of items that I tucked away and put to the side. It is doing the same for them.

As I told Squid last night, "Man, it's hard to imagine that I was part of such a beautiful location like the Brown School. Pre-Snap Chat, Pre-Twitter, Pre-Facebook. Yes, we had cell phones, but they weren't very smart. We sent basic texts. Now, the world's reality is all over the place. And the Brown School was Nirvana. We knew that then. We know that now."

And I started thinking about their generation. They've experienced it all, and I wonder what is still to come.

Ah, but catching up with Squid is a wish I've been making for some time. I'm so glad to hear where he is, what he's up to, what his challenges have been, and what his worries still are.

Man, conversations like that make me really miss teaching high school. The reunions...years me how important high school teaching is. It is doubtful I will ever have the impact on college students like I did the Brown School kids.

It is something. And I am thankful.

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