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Childhood friends & how their life went?
Old 01-15-2009, 10:04 AM   #1
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Childhood friends & how their life went?

Ever find out how an old childhood friend ended up and were somewhat surprised? Obviously, this question is for the older members of this board; but, I have had the opportunity since living in my old hometown for the past few years to be surprised more than once at how old schoolmates or close friends lives turned out.
My best friend from grammer school turned out to be a lipstick lesbian (I kinda suspected that by the end of 9th grade as the rest of us were boy crazy..and she wasn't); my best friend from Jr. high thru first year of college ended up being an old maid schoolteacher of art (actually, upon reflection and remembering how afraid she was of boys--too much Catholic girls school, I guess--I really wasn't surprised, but sad as her goal was always to get married); a male classmate all thru school who came from the lowest of poverty in our town and raised by a total alcoholic mother ended up being a Fireman with a nice family and house, too (so very happy for him); etc. etc. etc.
Some of the classmates became braggarts...and losers. Some stayed just as nice as they always were. Some had horrible luck in their lives. But many turned out just as I would have figured they would IF I had had the maturity then to see it. Most of them I said to myself, "yeah...I can see that..NOW" when I connected their youth with their older days of retirement.
Has anyone else had that experience? Any surprises along the way?
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:31 AM   #2
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I am still young but the number of old friends that have ended up flunking out of college and/or doing nothing with their lives is more than a little disheartening...Maybe I am too much of an optimist but I expected more people to succeed at their goals...
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:40 AM   #3
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My best friend from high school became a spy after college. I don't know what anyone else did--it was not a small town and people didn't keep in touch, have reunions, etc.
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:24 AM   #4
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I grew up in a Pittsburgh suburb, and 30 years later I estimate that over half of the class is still living within an hour's drive. Yet when we graduated we could hardly wait to lead the charge to get the hell outta Dodge.

I think we all have memories of certain classmates that let us data-mine enough to retrospectively opine "Yeah, I could see that comin'."

But at a reunion I was still pleasantly surprised to see that the head cheerleader was a leather-miniskirted spike-heeled big-haired airhead flight attendant (apologies to all the professional flight attendants) and that the obnoxious drunk was still an obnoxious drunk...
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:36 AM   #5
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The "wild man" in our HS class, a thick-skulled loudmouth daredevil whom we didn't think would ever amount to much, vastly exceeded our expectations.

He was a late bloomer and was age 61 when he was charged with 16 counts of possession with intent to promote child pornography, three counts of indecency with a child with sexual contact, and 13 counts of aggravated sexual assault.
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:36 AM   #6
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Some of the classmates became braggarts...and losers. Some stayed just as nice as they always were.
Pretty much as you've stated! Most of the people that I hung out with, have gone on and made decent lives for themselves and their families. Most of the ones who were @$$holes during our school years are still @$$holes...didn't hang with them then...don't hang with them now! Most were just nice folks, and most are still nice folks! A few of my friends have met an early demise due to drugs or their after-effects....sad, but poo happens. The one kid who was figured the least likely to succeed, didn't disappoint......our 5 year class reunion booklet listed him and his address as an inmate #, in a Texas penitentiary...as did the 10 year and 15 year booklets.

Several of my classmates ER'd, and most of them are working on their 2nd careers now. Two ER'd when I did, from the same municipality...one is actively pursuing being a good Gramma, and the other is living the life of Riley, hunting & fishing on his new homestead in north-central Arkansas!

I see a few of the old gang every so often, but don't really hang out with them much....we kinda keep in touch though.
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:38 AM   #7
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My best friend growing up had a hard time; abusive alcoholic parents and not much guidance from them. Out of high school he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, and burned his draft card - in Da Nang. Stayed there 11 years and left "by mutual agreement" whatever that means. Then bummed around at odd jobs and died from a heart attack while driving a bus at age 49. No other injuries, the bus drifted at low speed into a tree.

He was really the only one from HS that I stayed in touch with, although I ran into some others from time to time. One said that I was the only person he knew who actually did what he said he was going to do in HS. Two others also went into law enforcement but we've never been close.
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:45 AM   #8
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My tenth grade biology lab partner was an utterly brilliant person with sky high test scores and grades, who was determined to be a doctor. We dissected a fetal pig together in lab, and he knew so much more about it than required. All he could talk about was medical schools, and what was needed to get into pre-med programs that would get him into the right medical school and so on. He wanted to be a doctor almost more than life itself.

He has a very unusual name, and when I looked him up online I found that he is now an ENGLISH professor at a major state university out west.

Who would have thought? I was in his English class too, and he didn't seem that crazy about English.
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Old 01-15-2009, 12:16 PM   #9
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Last fall I went to my 50th HS reunion. As I remember, about 200 out of our class of 375 or so were there.

It was so great to see them, and I remembered why I liked HS so much. They were mostly very high class, capable people. We wanted to do a class gift to the computer lab. We had good participation, but were a little short of our goal. One guy just wrote a check for $50,000 to put us over the top.

Many were still married to their high school sweethearts.

Some of us had aged quite a bit, others looked young. I will definitely do any other events like this, even though it is across the country.

ha
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Old 01-15-2009, 12:24 PM   #10
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My best friend from childhood died at the age of 43. She had a tough life; three marriages and had six children. She was intelligent, funny, kind and her parents gave her every opportunity to succeed in life.

I went to a rural high school and graduated with 30 classmates. About half of them stayed in the area to farm and the rest moved away. At this point, I know that three have died. One committed suicide, one died from a stroke and the other was murdered; all before they reached their 30th birthday.

One guy I dated, back in the day, came from a wealthy family. He was handsome, well liked and very intelligent. He married a woman and had two great kids. I found out recently that he is divorced and an alcoholic. One of my classmates, who at the time was a ditzy gal, is now a very successful psychiatrist.

It's strange, when I think about them all, I don't think about them being older adults making bad/surprising choices in life. In my mind, they are still teenagers with dreams, full of optimism and laughter.
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Old 01-15-2009, 12:31 PM   #11
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One guy just wrote a check for $50,000 to put us over the top.
Very magnanimous of you Ha. I'm sure your generosity was appreciated.
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Old 01-15-2009, 12:38 PM   #12
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Wahoo,
Did you beat the charges?
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Old 01-15-2009, 12:53 PM   #13
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Wahoo,
Did you beat the charges?
Not yet - but I'm trying my best to get the evidence suppressed!
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:07 PM   #14
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Close girlfriend was head cheerleader all thru school and at Big Ten University. She ended up with a stepfather for her girls that molested them. Her brother, the big high school quarterback, ended up embezzling money from the Feds, did time in a Federal prison and lost his law license.
Maybe my class was just more "colorful" than most (although I have to admit REWahoo might just have my class beat)?
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:37 PM   #15
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I ran into the most popular girl from my class, was head cheerleader of course, at about age 45. She was still stunning and vivacious. She didn’t marry the most popular guy who learned to fly in the military and ERed after a career as a commercial pilot, inherited his folks estate on the lake--really nice people, worked hard in a diner. Valedictorian who I liked very much was last seen, married, teaching German in a H.S. in a nearby state.

Least popular, some of them dropped out of H.S. Two sadly died in separate auto accidents the week we graduated.

I left the Mid Western high school as far behind as possible but still keep up with people of all ages from the ‘ole neighborhood. One family retired to Missouri and their kids, near my age, followed. Another multi-generation family are snow birds in FL. Two of my best friends have died, one of cancer, the other accidentally. Success in a small town may just amount to having enough income to get by, so I’d say they’re doing okay. One neighbor got her dream job at about age 65--church organist/pianist in her own church, after a lifetime of working in other denominations.
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Old 01-15-2009, 03:25 PM   #16
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There were four of us who hung out all the time in the neighborhood through high school. Fast forward 17 years and one is a semi-functional drug addict (works a night shift job), the other is a teacher...and an alcoholic...who's wife left him 7 months after they got married with a guy she had been cyber-seeing throughout their relationship. The third is a paramedic and doing o.k. but probably drinks and definitely eats too much, as his weight is really ballooning up. He married a dominatrix who refused to work and spent all his money, ran up a ton of debt and then left him. He's since gotten his credit back into order and is dating a nice lady.

We had a 5th friend who stopped hanging out with us and became a Naval officer. Last I heard he was married with kids and making a career of it. I should try to find him, I suspect he bailed from us for the same reason I bailed. Just didn't want to be around that element and wanted to make something of his life.
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Old 01-15-2009, 03:34 PM   #17
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I'm only 10 years out from HS. A few are dead from illness, accident, homicide, or suicide. Some are/were in prison.

Most are fairly successful, with about half of my HS peers currently working on their residencies, practicing law, or just finishing up their PhD's, or have already completed their PhD's and are doing postdoc work or just started a professorship. Those experiencing "lower levels of success" are engineers, programmers, pharma researchers, or MBA-level business people. A scant few, although they graduated from college for the most part, are a bit more eccentric and have careers like aspiring writer/public relations grunt (MA from NYU) or dancer/aspiring actress/pilates instructor (MFA NYU) or aspiring artist/grocery cashier (currently pursuing associate of arts at community college) or guitar instructor (MS in math/physics).

Oh yeah, just checked facebook. I see there are a few HS teachers, one guy "finding himself", a bookstore sales clerk, an activist, a chip designer, an architect, a graphics artist, an on air personality, a CNN correspondent, a Deloitte tool, his bro the exec vp at his dad's medical plastics conglomerate (this guy was the biggest shock of them all probably given his antics in HS that almost rivaled my own!), and a CFP.

(the results of the top 1/4-1/2 of a HS typically ranked in the top 25-50 nationally).

I'm sure some of the people who haven't had much success (traditionally defined) just haven't come out of the woodwork, so I don't really know what is up with them.

The really interesting stories are those people that you would never have expected to really excel academically or in a career. And then there are those that have wasted their potential, IMHO. It is really neat to see all these "kids" I went to school with all grown up, getting married, having kids, and establishing lives for themselves. The personal side of life is much more interesting than career acheivements, since the personal side of life seems to be where most derive true satisfaction from.

Edited to add: no one from HS has been divorced yet. Maybe because most are just now getting married, so they haven't figured out they hate their spouse yet.
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Old 01-15-2009, 03:41 PM   #18
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High school was, for the most part, a hideous horrible soul-destroying experience. I was the object of bullying (incoming classes were instructed as to my status).

I have recently made contact with some of the non-evil ones via facebook. Was not surprised to find a few of the bullies were in prison or dead.
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Old 01-15-2009, 03:43 PM   #19
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I had a friend who was an intellectual type. Not in band; no interest in music at all.

He is in this musical group, and I believe it is his day job.
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Old 01-15-2009, 05:14 PM   #20
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Of the 5 or 6 good friends I had in HS (and kept in touch with):

  1. one died in a plane crash (as pilot).Got his pilot's license after they changed the rules so that you could fly if one eye worked.
  2. another, I lost touch with after he got out of jail (con man)
  3. ER'd teacher
  4. soon to ER civil servant, formerly news reporter
  5. somewhat successful artist
  6. university prof

Of the other HS people who weren't good friends, the nice people are still nice and the AH's also remain the same.
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