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High School Buddy
I just got back from Lexington, having hung out with my friend Bibi R. Jr.
I hadn't seen him in 19 years.
He knew me from like 8th grade through highschool.

It was a wonderful evening.

Bibi Roberts Jr

This is Bibi with the tree he planted on his 27th birthday, 10 years ago. I wish I had an older picture.

New things that I learned...

  • My old high school, St Martins High School, Gbarnga, Bong County, Liberia, West Africa, is still functional, albeit not necessarily as a high school. It was open through most of the war, although it got highly ransacked whenever a rebel leader would come to the city of Gbarnga.
  • It still has the same dorky yet cool green and white and khaki uniform.
  • I was very disconnected from everything happening around me. Here's some of what I missed:
    • That I actually graduated class of 86, not class of 87 as I always thought. I got to the states in 1987, different year, although only 15-20 days apart from high school graduation, due to calendar year differences.
    • My graduating class had a Class Project (laying of stones at the enterance to the school), a band (which I now remember watching perform), a basketball team (which Bibi was part of and then broke his leg during), probably even a soccer team. I totally had no clue any of this was going on.
    • Everybody in the class, everybody from the school, seems to remember me. They do not remember me as "that rotten selfish uncaring asshole kid" as I remember myself. They remember me as quiet, wierd, disconnected, and scary-scary-smart.
    • I'm shocked that I cannot remember any faces or incidents or personalities that go with names that sound familiar. I have no memory of them. at all. Its very scary... and very sad.
    • I'm also shocked to discover that Bibi was part of my class. I do not remember him in class at all. I do not remember anybody in class at all, other than the cute girls whom I had crushes on. Very sad.

    I think of all the friendships I could have had... and I passed on them.
    I think of all the things I could have been involved in... and I passed on them.
    I wish I had directly had a friendship with Bibi... but I didn't. I passed on it. Our commonality is we both have best friend Richard B. in common, and so we have many shared experiences through him.

  • I got to eat Collard Greens, Liberian Style! OMG! that's a favorite of mine. Bibi took me to hang with his parents .. and she had cooked some Liberian food. Delicious.
  • I got to meet his two very beautiful and intelligent and nice daughters. In their tradition, every grownup has a title.. so I am "Uncle Sunny" to them. :) They greeted me with hugs, and we said goodbye with hugs.
  • I got to thank his Dad for two things that he did for me:
    • He drove me to school and back for at least a few years, along with a carload of other kids. 15 kids in a 1970's style SUV.
    • He taught me how to say please and thank you.

  • I got some clarification on the disease/illness that my father suffered that caused him to leave the country. It really was a case of some kind of mental disorder .. people could see it in his eyes.. and because it was a Xian college, they could not tolerate the abuse he put my mom through .. and so they told him to leave... this was a component of the story I had not heard.

All in all.. an amazing wonderful beautiful evening.. all kinds of healing going on inside me.

Thank you God.
I cannot change the past -- I did what I had to do to survive, as best I knew how.
Please may I be present in these relationships from this day forward.


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