Not all of my classmates are still living. Apparently, two or three years ago, Rex Slagle went to bed and never woke up.
You know the character Jud Nelson played in The Breakfast Club? That was Rex. Although Rex wasn't quite as angry as Nelson's character, not as dark. Rex had a better sense of humor, and tended to be more sarcastic than moody. But still. . .rebellious, angry at life, dealing with huge issues.
I heard stories Saturday night, telling how Rex as a freshman, used to sit under the stairs in our high school getting drunk before going to class. As seniors, I shared a table in study hall with Rex. He enjoyed getting a rise out of our supervisor, Nora Scheib. And he would tell me stories about sneaking his girlfriend into his bedroom after his parents went to sleep, and the trouble they'd go to to make sure she was out before they woke up.
Rex sold me a pair of parachute pants once.
The story is, after high school he continued to party hard. He was one who used and abused alcohol and all sorts of drugs. But apparently he'd moved to LA and gotten into the world of fitness. I'm not sure if it was just working out, or body-building. But he was into fitness, and so cleaned up his act. I heard he was married and had a child. Then, around the age of 36 or 37, he died in his sleep.
I wonder if he ever found whatever it is he was looking for?
On our end, it is sad because it closes that door forever. Sure, not everybody showed up to the reunion, but there's the thought that they could have, if they so desired. The potential was there to get everybody together again. But no more. One of our class is gone, and with him, his memories, his experiences, the role he played in our lives.
And when we watched the graduation slide show, and his picture came up, there was a laugh, a joke, and a sad pause, all at the same time.
Funny how I hadn't thought of him in years. And now that I find he's dead, I mourn for him.
(as to the reunion, it was good. I'll tell you about it later)