Sunday, November 30, 2014

Open Letter to a Classmate

Dear Ed,

I have been thinking about you lately.  Maybe it is because of the death of another classmate – the first that I knew about in our cohort.  His death has sparked many new Facebook friend requests from people I grew up with some 40 years ago.  And social media has allowed me to see what is happening in their lives, which I like.

And it made me wonder what is happening in YOUR LIFE.  I have searched online for you and can’t find anything.

But you know what?  I really think I started pondering your fate last year when I bought a new winter coat.  It’s a Land’s End coat (bought at Sears, how old fashioned of me).  They had a few colors but I was really drawn to the Kelly green one.   When I put it on and pulled up the hood, I looked in the mirror and thought to myself, “I look like Ed!  Just like him waiting for the bus in 9th grade!”.

My green coat
 I am not sure you knew it then, but with you being extra tall and your coat being oh so green and you wearing the big hood, I always thought you looked like a huge human PICKLE.  I don’t think I ever told you to your face, and I do not remember making fun of you for it (oh I hope I didn’t and just block it out of my memory…), but now looking back, I feel sorta bad for even thinking it. 

You were the quietest kid I ever met.  So, so, shy.  I don’t remember you being involved in any extra-curricular activities – and we knew each other throughout our entire school lives.  I hope you were in Math Club or something that I wasn’t aware of.  I hope you found some joy in school. 

I always felt so bad for you at holiday times – especially Halloween.  The rest of us were ultra excited to run home during lunch hour, change into our scarecrow or pumpkin costumes, and rush back for an afternoon of parades and parties.  But because of your religion, you left at noon and had the afternoon off.  Our community was so homogenous that you and your siblings were the only people that were “different” so your absence was noticed.  I always felt it wasn’t FAIR that you didn’t get to join in the fun.  I didn’t understand the reasons, and I felt sorry for you.

After graduation I worried about how you would handle your service for your religion.  I knew it required going door to door and talking openly with people about your faith.  I couldn’t IMAGINE someone as shy as you having to do that, and thought about how stressful that experience must have been for you.  I hope it went ok.  I hope people OPENED THEIR DOORS, and maybe even their hearts, and LISTENED to you.  You deserve that.

Anyway, I have been thinking a lot about you.  I am sorry for thinking you looked like a pickle.  When I wear my green coat now, I smile and think of myself as a big gherkin.  I wish I could find you and get in touch.  I would love to know what became of you – are you an elder in your church, a lawyer, a biologist??  Where do you live?  Are you married?  Do you have children? 

Maybe someone will take the time to read this and put me in touch with you.  I hope so.  I would love to know that you are happy, healthy, and warm this winter. 


Your classmate Susan

P.S.- for anyone who may have contact info, it is ED JIRKA I am looking for.  Formerly (perhaps presently?) from Primrose Lane in Omaha, NE.

Hi Ed.  Hope life treated you well.  

1 comment:

Kim A. said...

So very kind!!! I hope life treated him well!!!!