02 April 2005

And on this date...

Maybe I ought to stop reading the almanac.

Every day the Chicago Tribune prints a daily almanac of historical events that occured on that specific date, and they place it smack dab in the middle of the obituaries.  Recently, I've been catching names listed in obituaries and upon further review, notice that I recognize some of the newly deceased.

I'm too young to be doing this.

I've seen parents of people I went to school with, teachers, and people I know through work.  I even saw my own name once.  Let me tell you, if you are feeling sleepy, that seeing your name above an obituary tends to snap you to attention.

But my most recent find was the name of a woman who was a junior high classmate of mine .  It had been years since I had even thought of this person, but a glance at the name along with a full read of the obituary confirmed that it was that person, that she had died.

This makes me feel particularly old.  And maybe not for the reason you'd think.  I always feel it weird to read an obituary; I'm alive, and I'm reading about a person who isn't.  It's not pleasant, but that's not the reason this one makes me feel old.

How can I explain this without coming across as crass, or worse?  I don't think I can, but I will explain it anyway.  I swear that I am not a pig.

What I remember most about this person is that she was the first girl in my class to transition to womanhood, visibly, if you know what I mean.  She was the lesson in the most obvious way women become different from men.  This was sixth grade, and I am referencing observations only, the type you make from across a classroom or school cafeteria.

I barely knew this person, might have had one or two conversations with her back then.  But, through no fault of her own, she was responsible for one of my earliest "aha!" lessons.

I can't help but think about that, knowing that she isn't alive anymore.  Maybe it's the way my thought process has changed in the almost three years since my father died. 

Yeah, I gotta stop reading that almanac.



donah42 said...

I find myself reading the obits too.

dornbrau said...

I've lost several classmates over the recent years, many I am still unaware of (I moved from the town I went to school in).  Hearing of their passing, knowing they were my age, does not make me feel old, just fortunate to have more time on this earth with my family than they did with theirs.  Its still very sobering to know that one of my classmates had died, and I find myself being a little shocked each and every time, as if we were still in school where everyone knows friends NEVER die.  
Keep reading the Almanac, it shows a willingness to keep learning, no matter what your age.