On the occasion of an old friend's death
The old friend I’m thinking about today is John Hughes, ’67. What I write would have been similarly appropriate and heartfelt when many old friends died: Chuck Estes, Gary Fuller, Russell Lowe, Tom McCutchen,Craig Scott, Trudy Stevens,
and others, and also to many longtime acquaintances. There’s no escaping the sting (or the wound) of someone you care deeply about ying, but there’s also consolation and comfort in reflection.
Not to be melodramatic, but when you know someone for so long, and know other friends who knew that friend for a long, long time, well, when that friend dies, it can feel like a little part of you ends, too. Walking to McDonald’s with John and Tom McCutchen, and walking home with both of them, sometimes with Randy McDonald, too. Playing flag football with John and guys like David Stough, Bob Terrio and Bob Arnoldussen who went on to Buena Park High School. Seeing John around the neighborhood, at the little record shop at Orangethorpe & Brookhurst, seeing John talking to Barb Smith or Cathy Cogan or Linda Chilcoat or Connie Fleming or for that matter, Mimi Muse, Dorothy Eggerts, Connie Turnquist, and with all the guys, running into him and McCutchen at the Anaheim Drive In or Huntington Beach, talking to him at a Cal State Fullerton basketball game .. and at reunions. It’s the stuff of life, woven together as an almost infinite combination of images and experiences, a dynamic pattern that never pauses or stops, but turns over constantly, sometimes to reveal something you’d never realized, even sixty years later. The stuff of life, rich and bittersweet. It’s a pattern we all share together, with many of the same memories, others contiguous with ours. That’s one way we’re all connected, and nothing can tear us apart, neither hurricanes nor floods nor heat waves nor blizzards nor distance of 12,000 miles. It’s a consolation.
Thinking of John right now, reflecting. Life goes on, and we remember.
God bless John, and God bless all of you.