To my classmates
To the Editor:
To my classmates -- Stephens High Class of 1963:
My years at Stephens High were difficult for me personally, and with those challenges I was unable to form good rapport with you, and somehow couldn’t even imagine that classmates were an opportunity to form lifetime friendships. It seemed just another milestone.
Like saying goodbye at a terminal where we were all departing on new destinations, perhaps on one-way trips.
I have always lived in a small world, with few acquaintances and even fewer friends. The friends I did have were exceptional, and usually were high achievers. Lasting friends, which were a great blessing to me throughout the years. I was happy, and never felt alone or lonely.
The old adage states that we can count our true friends on one hand, since the vast numbers of people met didn’t fit that exclusive group.
Well, I was happily blessed with needing all fingers on both hands to count true friends in my life.
I knew most of you generally by face and by name at school, so knowing each other better never happened.
My life remained one of few contacts, yet I was not denied. My lifetime friendships were like the angels who are in our midst whom we don’t recognize or even see most of the time. They come in many disguises, some of whom we turn our backs to. Mine were very real, and known at first glance. The peace, courage and love bestowed upon me were no less than gifts from God.
A half century later, I was reunited with a few classmates with whom I was comfortable with immediately. They weren’t gone, just away.
The shared experiences of our youth in Rumford had a common bond, but the incredible fact is that in less than one year they have gained stature as important and trustworthy and meaningful friends after so long an absence. This has caused me to reflect on years lost.
The past 50 years were lost to me, but not to you. I encourage you to continue to maintain the friendships of our formative years.
They are time-proven to be valid and worthwhile, and a mutual resource as well. How grand it must have been for you to venture into the worlds outside with a support system of people with whom you shared years in common. Taking strange roads alone is intimidating.
The classmates I knew best and loved most have passed. Yet they remain a vital part of my life every day in every way. I embrace them still as a source of strength and well-being. I have the proclivity of loving instead of liking, and at a distance have also cared for many of you.
I pray that your lives have been full of wonderment, that you have great friends and love around you at all times. I hope also that you learn to see beneath the disguises of angels, and welcome them into your life with all your hearts. You can start by just looking around the room where this reunion is being held. Faith. Hope. Love. We all learned early in life that love is most important.
I wish you many blessings.