Another edition of the “people I knew, but lost track of” includes my good pal Gene. Gene was also in choir with me, and I will say this right now. Many good friends were in choir and/or church; but NOT ALL! I really had some “Mutt and Jeff” relationships that no one would ever expect, and probably they won’t make it to this blog—sometimes because they didn’t involve my own classmates.
But back to Gene. His family was in the Air Force and he was only in our town for his three high school years. I tend to think of him being here forever, but that is not the case. After graduation, as with many others, his family moved to Texas and never looked back. He resides there today.
I didn’t hear from him until our 20th Reunion. Gene called me to “reserve” a place at the Reunion on the absolute worst day of my life. That day is the day my little baby brother was in an auto accident that left him a quadriplegic. I could never have known how much he would be rehabbed and have a real quality of life. All I heard was “quadriplegic.” I could hardly put one foot in front of another. I had babies to take care of. That is all I could do, other than man the phone for the family and information from his girlfriend.
So, Gene calls me, and I basically said, “I can’t talk. I can’t think. I’m barely functioning here.” He said that he would call me in two weeks, and he DID. Right on schedule. By that time I had much more information about my brother, and how our lives would forever be affected. When something like this happens in a family, I firmly believe that God doesn’t let us have it all at once. We can’t handle it.
Gene and I kind of reconnected that year, and he came over to visit us at the house we lived in at that time. Jerry and I were both glad to see him and enjoyed the visit, because the reunion itself was chaos for me. I had to rush to it after my daughter’s dance recital and barely got there to eat. I also was cramping really badly and didn’t enjoy the evening at all.
I probably didn’t hear from Gene until we got together on Facebook. He was going through a rough divorce, and when things like that happen—I really keep my distance, knowing it won’t be forever.
|On the river.|
The year that I was diagnosed with cancer, Gene planned a trip to see everyone. This was two years after our 40th Reunion, but things were just too complicated for him to get to that. We were planning an evening riverboat dinner cruise, so that drew him “home.” He had more people to see than us, he had been in a band that he wanted to visit members of, and some other things to do.
We all got together on Thursday evening at our favorite restaurant. There were probably 20 of us and we had a good time. Gene had a rental car and it was a Mustang convertible. He and I wanted to take a tour of town. I must admit, driving around with a guy in a convertible was big fun! I had a plan to take him through different areas of town, some of which were not fun places to be, and we also ended up seeing some thriving parts of town.
I had a plan, we ended up at my house and had another good visit with Jerry. Gene did have to drive me back to the restaurant to get my car.
On Saturday, I did go to the riverboat cruise with other friends, because a girlfriend and I stayed in a room together after the cruise. However, Gene was there, and we ALL had a great time! Those who were there would do it again in a heartbeat.
Gene and I have a thing about texting silly pictures to each other. It’s just another fun way we keep in touch.
I expect Gene to come to our 45th Reunion next year. He’d better!