Friday, January 29, 2010

So long Joan

I know this is a bit late; sorry about that to all of you who aren't reading.  This past week I have been suffering physically from a dreadful cold that has lingered on for three weeks now.  And I have been suffering spiritually from the news of the death of a high school classmate, Joan Pasterik.  Joan was 56.  I haven't seen or talked to her since high school.  Back then we were never what I could remotely call close friends.  We weren't really friends at all, not really, although we certainly knew who each of us were.  I don't think we ever even shared many classes once we got out of elementary school.  But Joan grew up in Raritan, New Jersey, along with me.  We shared the same small town commonalities that any two people do who go to the same school, the same hangouts, the same parks and so forth.

Joan was always one of the prettiest girls in school.  When we got to high school she became a cheerleader.  But she was a cheerleader who wasn't a Mean Girl.  She was popular without being a Queen Bee.  All the guys adored her and all the girls were friends with her.  Even when we were little kids at Washington School and 98 percent of all the kids tortured me for being the fattest kid in school, or the smartest kid in school, or both (and yes, I was both) Joan always took the high road.  She refused to participate in any of the teasing or mockery.  When we passed in the halls she always had a smile and a hello.  That stayed true right up until we graduated and went our separate ways.  By high school I was no longer fat, and certainly no longer the smartest -- barely in the top ten at best, I think.  Joan still was always nice to me.  She was a Class Act.  I find myself missing her acutely -- someone I have not seen or heard from in forty years.  And yet at our next reunion I know I will find myself missing her acutely.

I understand that Joan went on to get her doctorate in communications.  I know her husband and her family will miss her.  She was laid to rest by the same family funeral home that has served my home town of Raritan since before I was born.  Their motto is "Forever In Our Hearts" and I do believe it will be true for Joanie.  Once, we were kids together; once, we ran around on the same playground and played on swings together; we suffered through the same boring classes and enjoyed the same class trips to the Museum of Natural History in New York City.  Now at age 56 she is gone, and I think that that is a damned, damned shame.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this. I could not have siad it better. I knew Joan in Gradute School.