Several years ago – I won’t say how many (did you know 40 is the new 20?) – I graduated from high school. I graduated from a school where kids bussed in from all areas of our county because it was a school of the arts. I pretty much lived on the other side of the city from my school and had only just moved there just before my final year of high school. What was so great about this was being able to have friends in so many different areas and still remain in the same school.
Because I had decided not to do grade 13, I chose, instead, to take a general arts certificate at Humber College to prepare for whatever might be after that. At the time, I thought it would be music.
Humber had its own school bus. I seem to recall we called it ‘The Big Black Bus to Hell’. I traveled on that bus with a group of friends that I still remember fondly. And through them, my circle of friends expanded to include several people in the neighbourhood where I lived. We didn’t stay in that neighbourhood, but those friends remained with me for some time. They helped me prepare for the music program, assisted me with my audition, accompanied me in my audition.
A number of these friends, while I was still at Humber, were just about to graduate from that neighbourhood’s high school (or had just done so). It isn’t easy keeping a group of friends when you not only move around a lot, but when you’ve also left the somewhat safe, social confines of high school. And for what I consider to be way too short a time, they were there.
These days, all these circles have crossed and I find it amazing, here on Facebook, to not only have been able to ‘re-find’ these wonderful people, but also to discover that friends from ‘here’ are friends with my other friends from ‘there’. It’s delightful and I will always consider the Internet to be one of the greatest social networking tools for this fact alone. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve posted a photo and received a comment from a friend that said, ‘I didn’t know you knew her/him!’.
Seems like this was the case with Jamie. I knew Jamie all those years ago (that I refuse to quantify) and I have such wonderful memories of joining Jamie and his friends for parties and trips downtown to the Roxy to watch Rocky Horror in the middle of the night. Like the rest of us, Jamie was going to be a ‘rock star’ and he was – it seems he was in everything he chose to do with his life.
A few years ago, our paths crossed again through publicoutreach.ca as I was approached by one of his campaigners. I researched and discovered that Jamie had made quite a name for himself in the world of fund raising. I further discovered what a fantastic man he’d become. He was inventive, creative, manic, wild, brilliant.
Unfortunately, while I have made all of these re-connections, I have never taken the time to connect face to face and I am deeply regretful. Here we have this amazing tool that makes it so that those who have left our lives can re-enter our lives and it is such a shame to keep it ‘virtual’. But, alas, where is the time? Seriously, you just don’t know when it’s going to run out.
I’m thrilled to have known you, Jamie. I’m incredibly sad that we didn’t have time to catch up. I’m ecstatic that you lived your life to the fullest. You amazed me – as do all my friends – every single day. I love what you have all become.
Good luck, Frank-N-Furter – you Wild, Untamed Thing.