I should know better. Members of my high school class — Passaic Valley Regional, the Class of 1960 — are making noises about holding a reunion next year. So I’m blowing the figurative dust off the class records, and that meant adding the name of one of Our Own who died recently. I should have just put Gene’s name on the list and closed the file, but no — I had to count the names. There were about 35. There were 299 of us on graduation day.
We started losing members almost immediately after we got our diplomas. One of the first we lost was Terry McBride, whom I had known since kindergarten. My mother used to say that Terry had been my first girlfriend. That was because of the snow storm. Most of us walked to school in those days and it took really bad weather to spare us the trip. One day while we were in school — we were about 7 years old –there was a heavy snowfall, and when we came out, Terry was upset about the prospect of walking all the way home. Her walk was more than twice as long as mine, so I volunteered to go all the way to her house with her and then walk back home.
My mother started to worry when I didn’t arrive in time. When I finally came home with a running nose, beet-red ears and numb hands and feet, she was a little annoyed, but she gently kidded me about it for years. It was a trivial thing, but I’m glad it happened. It’s the keepsake that makes me smile whenever I think of Terry, and I think of her all the time.