A few months ago I found my best friend from High School, Lou, on Facebook. It’s been years since I’ve had any communications with him at all, and I was delighted to had found him after all these years. We both graduated from Kankakee Eastridge High School in 1973. After High School, our paths separated, but for at least until the day he got married, we saw each other fairly regularly. But I haven’t seen or spoken to him since that day. I wonder why.
We hung around together in the same crowd in school. We were the nerds (though I was a bit more hippy than nerd). I was more oriented towards english and the written word (I wrote a column for the school newspaper) and my plans were to graduate from college with a Journalism degree and go into either print or broadcast journalism. I actually finished a semester early, and enrolled Kankakee Community College in January of what would have been my Senior year at KEHS. So I lost touch with just about everyone except Lou.
Life intervened, and I got married in August of 1975 (Lou was my best man, and helped us put on the first (and last) Judeo-Catholic wedding ever seen in St. Stanislaus parish), and became a father the following June. So I found myself putting my education on hold and taking a job at St Mary’s Hospital(I had an “in” there — my aunt was Mother Superior of the Order that owned the Hospital), to support my fledgling family.
Lou in the meantime was studying at University of Illinois, where I believe he eventually received his Doctorate in Chemistry. But over those college years, we stayed as close as one could expect. My wife and I traveled down to Urbana a few times to “double date” with Lou and the woman who would become his bride, Barb. I think the last time we ate pizza at Garcia’s(Home of the flying tomato brothers).
I don’t exactly remember when Lou and Barb were married, I just remember my wife and I driving to, I think Woodstock IL, where they were married in a Presbyterian Church. I thought it amusing, since I was at the time a “born again Xtian” and Lou, though raised Jewish, was as most scientists, an atheist. Lou’s brother was his best man as I recall. I never thought much about it, but I have wondered why he never asked me.
That was the last time I saw him.
Our lives went on, and my wife and I had twin boys (one of whom recently won an Emmy Award). We gradually grew apart, especially as my faith basically fell apart with finding way too many contradictions in the Bible. Finally, I met someone on the internet (1991) and moved to Santa Cruz California, where I began my career as an elder in the Pagan community
Now, I live in the Redwoods of California with my 3rd wife. I am Patriarch of an international Druid (neo-Pagan)organization, co-founder of a second, and the Clerk of my local Grove (Druid congregation). Lou, surprisingly, never left Woodstock. He had two children, a boy and a girl who I think are both still in college or maybe one has recently graduated. Lou works for Dow Chemical as a chemist, and is the inventor (and holds the patent) of some kind of special way of making video tape (which is obsolete now, but still, it’s an achievement). He’s also President of his Temple, and still plays the base for the local civic orchestra.
And Lou, well Blabby, it’s been a year since I asked him to “friend” me on Facebook. I think he just ignored it. I’m sure he didn’t forget me, as I have a name that’s not easily forgotten. I’ve tried to wrap my mind around the “why” of it all. Why did he an Barb kind of dump me in the first place? You know, for several years, I never missed sending him a birthday, Chanukah or Anniversary card. I never received one in return. I think after about five years I just stopped.
I wonder, was it a class thing? I was still “janitoring” at the local hospital when I left Illinois (I had worked my way up to supervisor). I finally finished my degree while living in Santa Cruz, having taken classes off an on for all those years since High School (my 1st wife objected to this, as she believed that the return of Christ was imminent, and college therefore, a waste of time. Thankfully, my twins didn’t listen to her, and have very decent careers thanks to education). Lou was by then a very successful chemist for Dow. Still, I can’t wrap my head around the idea that class (my being working class, he being a professional) would have made any difference to him. Not to Lou. We were both pretty much Socialists back in the day. Although he did warn me once about pursuing that line of politics. I didn’t listen. I’m still a Marxist to this day, possibly even more radical than ever. Blabby, do you think that had anything to do with it?
Was it a class thing? Maybe an education thing? Politics? Religion? Is my assocation with him an embarrassment? I guess I’ll never know. Only Lou knows, and he’s not talking. Back in the day, at Eastridge High, those things didn’t matter.
I bring it up though, because, in a way, Lou is the co-founder of Order of the Mithril Star. The Order is a mixture of neo-Pagan Reformed Druidism and the theology/pantheism/solipsism found in Robert A, Heinlein’s seminal novel, Stranger In A Strange Land. Lou was the one who introduced me to that book back in our Sophomore year at Eastridge High, a book that still inspires me to this day.
Maybe I should name Lou, on our website, as co-founder, to honor the memory of our friendship?
What’s your advice Blabby? What would you do if you were me?
6th September 2012