Mixed Blessings

When I was in high school we still used BBSs to chat, at least in Fresno. In fact, Club Fresno was one of the most popular venues for nerds to congregate and communicate. Obviously, we’ve come a long way from dialing in at 28.8 and demanding a/s/l from ambiguous screen names. Today we’ve got Facebook…so I guess I can lie about my social adventures to friends, family, and Russian Interlopers now…

Social Media is so far beyond what most of us envisioned back in those days. There are some huge advantages over the era of Wildcat! and Citadel…

For one, I can find you.

Not in a creepy way, but in a “Hey, what ever happened to my old friend” way.

As circumstances would have it an old friend from the Club Fresno days came up in conversation over the weekend. I haven’t seen her in years, but I though it would be cool to see what she’s up to.

We met in person while I was a sophomore at Clovis High. She was a junior at Clovis West, but had a nursing class on the CHS campus.

She drove a huge, blue 60-something Impala. Her dad gave me all the grief I had learned to expect based on 80’s sitcoms, then mellowed out when he realized we really were just friends. She made it clear early on that I wasn’t her type, but we had a lot of fun.

We lost touch somewhere between her graduation and my own, then reconnected when she wandered into my studio at KRZR a couple years later. We found out we were living in the same apartment complex and she let me use her apartment as a sanctuary while I was going through the worst days with my ex.

She met a guy. I was busy being a newly single dad. We fell out of touch again. No hard feelings, just life moving forward. I remembered her warmly, and I hope she did the same.

Every relationship is finite. From the relationship you have with a fellow customer chatting in line at the grocery store – just a few minutes – to the man or woman you marry and live your entire life with – decades – every relationship has a beginning and an end. That’s life.

Here’s where all the mixed blessings come in:

Her heart lives on. She was an organ donor and the woman who got her heart is a grandmother – still living – just a short drive to the north. She seems like a good grandma.

If not for Information Technology being what it is today I might never had known she never saw 30.

She never married, but her fiancée posted a brief message about her last year on the anniversary of her passing. He is now married and has kids. I’m glad he moved on but didn’t forget her.

Her pictures from the MySpace days are still floating around a few archival sites, so I got to see her smile as I remembered it: pouty lower lip & mischievous eyes. That was a smile that was always returned.

October 12th will be the 11th anniversary of her passing. But thanks to the mixed blessing of the information revolution I’m experiencing a weird kind of grief: The wound is fresh, but the time lapse from then to now is only a little longer than the time passed since we last spoke.

I’d really prefer it if the next time I seek out an old friend (or I’m sought out myself) I could have some good news, goddamnit. A happy marriage and healthy kids, a strong career and some travel… Jesus, how about just Alive & Happy?

Sign up to be an organ donor.

Cassandra Lee Hendrix  7 June 1978 – 12 October 2007

Cassandra Lee Hendrix

7 June 1978 – 12 October 2007

Philip Teresi