Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

June 1, 2010

RIP Greg Kelley

Last week, a classmate from SHS, Jeff, posted a status update, about one of his best friends, Greg Kelley, who was healthy one second, rushed to the hospital the next, and on life support. His organs were shutting down and the doctors didn't know why. I was stunned. Greg's my age. We were in the same class. Although Greg and I weren't friends, I couldn't help but be heartbroken that someone in my own class could die so very young, heartbroken for his wife and children, his friends and family......I sent his wife a private message, just because I was moved to do so. I wanted her to know that people far and wide were hoping for a complete recovery and thinking of them. She messaged me back yesterday morning to say that unfortunately, he was terminal and would not recover. They've been together 26 years and she has no idea what she's gonna do. She said one second he was mowing the lawn, the next he's in the hospital, and they don't even know what is wrong.

Today when I logged onto FB, I first went to Jeff's profile for an update, as he'd been with the Kelleys every step of the way and keeping us all apprised of Greg's condition. And the status I was dreading, was there.

As I was searching the corners of my mind for memories of Greg, it hit me that his older sister Debbie babysat for me a couple of times. My main memories of him are from the 6th grade. Yes, yes, I know, the fashions were ghastly in 1975/76. A prize to the first person who guesses which one of these striking young lasses is yours truly.
Once you got to the 5th and 6th grades, we didn't have individual desks anymore, but tables that sat 2 kids and tote trays on one side of the room for our supplies and books. Greg & I shared a table for most of that year and I couldn't help but develop a crush on him. He was such a cutie pie, don't you think?
But for a boy of 11, Greg was pretty nice to me, and boys of 11 are usually still allergic to girls and their cooties. We got along well, which was good since we had to share a table. Brian jokes that it's because I was the only girl in my class with a rack. I prefer to think that Greg liked my personality. But, boys will be boys, be they 11 or 50, so it was probably the boobs. ;)

Once we got to 7th grade, up at 'the new' Jr.-Sr. High School, which opened in 1976, our paths never crossed again. He may have been in one of my math or English classes, probably gym class, but I have no independent memory if he was or not. Homeroom assignments were now alphabetical, so he was in with the 'K' group, I was in with the 'Ms'. We didn't hang with the same crowd, but he was still a nice kid, a good kid. A funny kid. He had a lot of friends.

Then after all these years, old friends and acquaintances are reunited thanks to Facebook and it's like being in high school again, only virtually instead of physically. Even though Greg and I weren't FB friends, I was fond of him and happy to hear that he was happily married with a family of 3 little girls.

And now this. Struck down at 47. So patently unfair. I don't think of myself, or Brian, or any of my friends as being middle aged. Diane and Sharon are still 10 and 12 respectively, in my mind. Greg was frozen in time as a 6th grader. However, the sad reality is that we are middle aged and with that comes all sorts of funky ailments and medical conditions. And the more frequent loss of people with whom I grew up.

Rest in Peace, Greg. You may be gone, but you'll never be forgotten.


  1. Well, the girl standing on the left seems to have all the right curves, and her eyes look similar to yours.

    Sorry to hear about your friend. Two of my closest friends from school have gone now. It's a shock.

  2. Thanks Val. It's a sad situation.

    And that's not me, it's Betsy Boyle. :p

  3. Jojo,

    Sorry to hear about your school mate. It's great that you all are rallying around the family for support. I don't know what I'd do in that situation.

    There are a lot of mysterious auto immune type conditions which are just scary. Not sure if that is what it will turn out to be or not, but it seems like there are a lot of menacing bacterial infections these days.

    Anyway, I am sorry about your news and will be thinking of you and them.

  4. This is a very nice tribute to someone you may not have many memories of, but once you got to writing, probably remembered a bit more. Sad that he is gone at such a young age.

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  5. Anonymous1:45 PM

    It's always a shock to discover we're maybe not as 'young' as we THINK we are, even more so when we're confronted with the fact that we're not immortal after all.

    Good thoughts to you and your friend's family Jojo.