Where Have They Gone?

Over the past few days I’ve found myself, on frequent occasion, wondering about the people I used to know in college, the people I used to call close friends, classmates, running buddies. Remembering hanging out, eating dinner, running around Arkadelphia and downtown Hot Springs, talking on the phone, riding bikes around town, etc., and so on. Where are they now? Where am *I* now.

In the off chance that Google indexes this entry, and in the more off chance that my old friends google their own names, listed below is my statement to each of them. The listings are in no particular order.

Paul Price: I had no idea that the kid I laughed and joked around with at Super Summer in ’89 would have been one of the most influential people in my life. You were one of the major reasons why I went to Ouachita. You were THE major reason why I moved to Greensboro. I’m glad that our paths not only crossed but that they ran parallel. Thank you for opening up the immense world of incredible music to me; you saved this Texarkana metalhead from Led Zeppelin doom. I hope that you are enjoying a great job, excellent health, and a strong circle of friends.

Phil Price: You and I shared a good many years running in the same crowds; hell, I can’t believe we kept finding ourselves going for the same women at the same time; we should’ve used the “dibs” system. Heh. I’ve been meaning to email you and Paul for a while. How’s Greensboro these days? Have you heard from James Scarbrough?

Jack Cates: man, the times. You were my favorite smoking buddy. I know I currently live only an hour north of you, but how have you been? How’s your health? How’s your playwriting? I should write you. Hell, I should come *visit*. That’s a thought, huh? You know Scarborough Faire is going on now….

Tom Armstrong: If not for your level head and your availability to satisfy my need for high-quality chatter, between my two jobs and my classes in the summer of ’94 I would have probably hurt myself. You saved my sanity. Our walks, 48-hour talks, and running the place on the weekends meant a lot, and our trip to Hot Springs at the end of the summer was the most perfect capstone to the whole thing. The last time I saw you was before you joined the Marines. Heh. Sorry that you and Christina unceremoniously untied, no, ripped and slashed the knot. I know you have already had your fill of “I Told You So’s”. None from here. So how’ve you been, man? Seriously, you were important. Speak!

Jason and Elizabeth Files: Oh my god, where have you been? Are you still in Branson? Are you still married? I’ve been meaning to write you, but the addresses I have might be old and cold. I seriously miss you guys. You two *knew* me. You two understood.

Chris and Laura Piland: again, I’ll say thanks for letting me borrow your backup car for that semester. You are a mix of brains and braun, planning and impulse, blessing and charity. You two rule the world. Last I heard, you were in Dallas. Still there?

Karon Edge: you were my first fascination in college. Our week together was super great. I’m sad that I ended up being thicker than mud in the head; understand that I was pretty naive in those days. I just wasn’t “fast” enough. But I had fun nonetheless.

Donna Crochet: you were my first *real* girlfriend. Period. By the time you found me, I had gotten more worldly in my ways than I was in my freshman year. You taught me love. And it was with you that I found all the wrong things to do. We ended badly, we ended very badly, and I do express apologies. That summer was beautiful, and you were the biggest reason. But we’re a long way from 1995. A long way. How is life these days?

Stephen Gent: When I moved into our room in the fall of ’91, I had never met you, I had no notion of you. In fact, I was pretty trepidatious. But damn I’m glad I got to meet you. You had that fire, that kinetic love-of-life spark, the gregariousness I needed to learn. You taught me a LOT about sound, music, and recording. It was super cool living with you in ’91, and totally fun living with you in the summer of ’95. It was through you that I met Donna; that totally rocked. I’m sorry that everything went south between the three of us, and I regret that things have grown cold between you and I. You still have my respect; I can only hope I still have yours. Still married these days? How’s life in Houston?

Russell Files: are you still in the States or back in Germany? Directing music? Know how I can get in touch with Jason?

Jeanetta Bechdoldt: how is my “Jeanetra” doing? Still have the knack to make any clothing look good? Just curious. I always thought you were hot. Just regret never mentioning that to you.

Bob Stephenson: did you ever find your piece of heaven among the limelights?

Scott and Andrea McKane: I miss you guys. Thank you for opening the door of your apartment to frequent gatherings, and for hosting me and others for dinner, movies, and general hanging out. I miss our late-night drives, Zag-Nut runs, and stunt-road drives. Heh. I hope Little Rock is treating y’all well. Don’t stop the music.

Mike and Stephanie Self: you inspire me, even to this day. Idiosyncracies *do* matter; they make us unique. There is no one in this world more worthy of carrying the stark fist of survival more than you, Mike. Teach them all the right way, the way that makes most sense. Stephanie, your obsession with hand crafts, metalwork, and putting the most into the littlest things makes you legendary in my book. How did the dot-com thing treat y’all in Little Rock?

Stephen and Misty Granade: seriously, you two have set up high water marks for me to reach, and as much as I try, I’ll only get close. Your attention to details meant a lot to me. It’s so incredibly cool seeing art and science so perfectly matched in you two. Thanks for expanding my horizons. How’s Durham?

Pam Blackmon: our evening walks and late night talks meant a lot to me. I still miss them. You and Craig still in Boston? I heard about your new kid – you guys rock. I hope for the best for you.

Joelle Neally: woah, mama. You have class, you have style, you have everything to make the boys smile. Heh. You have made an effect on me and the way I communicate; that one day in the cafeteria, I was telling a dirty joke, and while stuttering in the process of trying to clean it up for general audiences, you told me to just say it. Just say it. For once, I heard someone tell me that. That impacted me, and was one of the things that further caused me to look at myself and my beliefs objectively. I’m glad that I got to know you and your no-nonsense attitude. I hope things are going well for you and your family in Greensboro. How is your family? Send my regards.

Michelle and Eddie Weathers: Michelle, it was strange knowing you before I ever met you. Your ceaseless advice and observations were exactly what I needed when I needed them, although I just didn’t know it. Thank you for all the rides between campus and Texarkana, by the way. Eddie, if not for sitting behind you in PreCal our first semester, I probably wouldn’t’ve met you; thanks for feeding me that first time you invited me to your place; my first taste of ramen. Heh. In later years, you were an excellent and totally laid-back roomate. It was a pleasure. My sincere apologies for never saying “Hi” when I’m in town. You know I love you guys. So how’s the new house? Have any kids yet? Don’t lose touch.

Josh Parker: Man, I still tell stories of you to my friends here. Your antics are legendary. You are the “id,” what can I say? You had balls, you weren’t afraid to show them, and you made everyone have a good laugh. Thank you for lightening things up, even when you were down. I hope you’ve found your peace and happiness. Keep shocking rocking the world.

Doug Waller: your matter-of-fact attitude and your quiet tour-de-force outlook on life were refreshing. You helped me keep my sanity in College Algebra. You were one of the brave few on that campus who’d not only play porn on your TV, but would do so with the volume turned on and other guys there helping to call color commentary. That was always a trip. If you’re still married, tell Jeena “Hi” for me. Get in touch, bro.

James Scarbrough: man, where the hell have you been? Don’t tell me you’re still in Biloxi. You were one of my best friends, man. When you cracked open your tough shell long enough to let me know more about who you were, that meant a hell of a lot. Damn. WHERE ARE YOU?!

Nate Cartwright: heh. After school, you kinda disappeared. I really hope you got a good tech job and career. You were always good for stuff like that. Our friday night X-Files ceremonies were important: thanks for offering your room as an altar. Heh. How’s Angie? How’s Chris? Know where James is? Get in touch!

Rix White: we didn’t always run together, but we still ran in the same circles. You usually led the way on your own path, and you added so much color to our drab campus. Thank you. How’s life?

Chad Pollock: I know we didn’t always agree on things. Hell, towards the end, we agreed on very little. But I think there, at the very end, we came to a concensus. I hope I was able to reconcile. I miss you, man; I miss your head-on dedication to whatever it was that you were doing. You and Rix and a few others were some of the only christians I knew who had it *right*. Thank you for your balanced viewpoint and your pointedly difficult questions.

Tony Christiansen: Living across the hall from you for so long means we’re friends, right? Hehe. Kidding. Does “goony-goo-goo” ring any bells? Haha. Your oddities aside, I did have fun hanging out with you and debating arcane things. How you been, man? Find your ministry job of choice?

Mark White: my favorite Republican. How is D.C. treating you? Did you make it there? Thanks for loaning me your computer in ’93 when you were interning for the summer. That made the world.

Todd Marshall: man, you dropped out of the picture. Called your grandparents; heard you moved to Texas. We had a connection, man. I wonder about you.

Rochelle Cannedy: good god, girl. I seriously regret not expressing to you how incredibly beautiful you were; did you know that I forgot to breathe when I first saw you? Thank you so much for hanging out with me during my dorm night-security shifts. You so totally rock.

Chris and Tanya Schee: you two were definitely unique. After y’all transferred to Henderson, you kinda dropped out of the picture, but I still remembered you. Still knew you. You kids doing ok?

Homer Meyer: yeah, even you meant something to me. Your attentions were so fervently on computers; you knew them, you understood them. You inspired me. Last I heard, you were in Arizona. How goes, man?

J.L. Hixson: although we only lived together our freshman fall semester, you offered me a completely different viewpoint than what I was accustomed to. You had a gung-ho attitude, and enough cockiness to boot. You taught me a mountain about being outdoors. It’s because of you that I enjoy walking and hiking at night; it became a necessary pastime in my later college years. If not for your training, and if not for your insistence on using no flashlight at night, I probably would’ve gone mental without the outlet of nature and solitude. I hope you’ve found your prize in life.

Glen Fowler: you meant a good deal to me. You were quiet, and you expressed friendship and support through your actions. Our nights of sneaking into the Physics lab to play computer games after hours totally rocked. Your skill at guitar was excellent. You were that odd balance between god and metal that I just couldn’t comprehend without opening my eyes. And, again, thank you for lending me your copy of “Stairway to Heaven” – that was immensely important in helping me to finally remove my rose-colored glasses, and to not only view things objectively but to view them with my own eyes instead of the eyes of someone else. I hope that you’ve found your sanity and that your retreat to your home town has given you suitable respite to become your own man again, whole and resolute in advancing yourself. It is good to have known you.

It is good to have known you all.

Out of my entire history of keeping journals, both online and offline, this is perhaps one of my most difficult entries to write. I’m trying to roll through those five and a half years, flip and fan fast-forward through their faces, jogging my memories, remembering the names. It’s nowhere near complete; it’s not thorough in the least, but these are the people who stick out to me the most. These people have meant the most. In the compilation of this list, I’ve actually shed a few tears. I felt something with these people. I remember these people.

It is my hope that they remember me.

Published by Shawn

He's just this guy, you know?