I believe it was exactly 20 years ago today that I graduated from East Lake High School at a ceremony at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida. It’ll be this weekend that a few dozen of the 600+ members of the graduating class get back together for a little shindig. I won’t be participating because I’m waylaid with physical disability to the point I’d just be a fly on the wall, sitting in the corner and feeling awkward.
It’d be like I was back in school!
At any rate, I make this post because I want to make public (in a means beyond a scope of constraint) something a few of my classmates have already seen online by way of me on Facebook , but it’s condensed (because… Facebook): Our stolid class picture.
I’m pretty sure I still have both versions of the class picture, but they are tucked in such a position in my closet it’s hard to get a hold of them. And the scanning / image merge function that I have to use to get the pictures scanned is a pain to do (it was tough with this one — and that process was a few years ago):
East Lake High School Class of 1997 Class Photo
Click on the image to get a better view at imgur, or click this link to go to the page. And you can click the image there to get an even more close-up view of the image.
Commerce Road, Oldsmar Florida December 30th, 1996.
A night out ended in tragedy. A night of teen drinking and pot use ended horrifically. A collision between a tanker trailer and a Geo Storm that was owned by my former supervisor when I worked at Albertsons’ supermarket at Boot Ranch. Five in total involved in the crash, four dead, one survivor…
I remember Jonathan Sklar having a locker next to me (or below me) in a PE class during my junior year at East Lake High. I remember Graham Miller and Brian Bass being in my junior year English class where I was the butt of jokes and my hearing disability led to self stupidity. I knew Tom Norman — who would end up being the scapegoat of everyone’s irresponsibility because he was the lone survivor and also the driver — being in my freshman Earth/Science class. I don’t remember specifics about the guys — they weren’t my good friends, and I was a wallflower no matter what I said or did in High School… But I remember them.
Ten years gone, and I remember hearing about the news. I remember seeing the picture of the smashed Storm on the cover of the St. Petersburg Times.
Ten years gone, and I remember them. This was really the end of childhood for some and knocked others back into reality and sanity.
I don’t know who else recalls, I don’t know who else reflects, but I remember Jon Sklar, Brian Bass and Graham Miller. Rest in peace, fellows.
Mike’s former Creative Writing teacher is running for president … Weird.
“OK, it isn’t a serious campaign (or am I wrong?) but DJ Condon, former Creaive Writing teacher at East Lake High School, is putting forth a campaign for president [2017 note: dead link -JF] and Mike was tickled to let me know about it. Not just that — tickled to let me know Mr. Condon replied to one of his notes that he wrote to his former teacher.
Mr. Condon is working in Taipei, Taiwan and that’s what leads me to use the English Language parody as the title of this journal entry… It’s also my brother’s ability to write that pushes me to bring up the English Language in the title…
He puts me to shame… He’s much more creative with the language and much more centralized with his thoughts… I might push myself to get some notoriety (be it through sticking my neck out with web sites, story submissions to magazines or movie screenplays) but if Mike actually made an effort instead of being lackadaisical with accomplishing something, he’d run circles around me.
*Sigh* sibling rivalries…