How cruel the calendar can be as we get ready to celebrate the connections to family friends at Christmas while trying at the same time to deal with the news of the deaths of two young Falmouth high school athletes. From what we can read, these were two outstanding teenagers. Skilled athletes and leaders in the classroom, their potential seemed unlimited. And now they are gone. Fate has written a tragedy in the sudden ending of such promising lives. As is so often the case when death visits itself on a young person, all of his friends have gathered to support each other and mourn together. It is right that they should do this. For most of them it is the first taste of mortality, a sobering awareness that nothing is guaranteed. They embrace and sob in collective sorrow, vowing that they will always remember the two that left the world far too soon. And I believe that even over the long passage of time they never will forget them.
I don’t recall any of my schoolmates dying when I was in school. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to leave a sports practice and learn later that night that someone that I was close to, a teammate, had been killed in a car crash. We believed then that we were invulnerable, armored as we were with the naïve optimism of youth.
A couple of years after I left high school, the younger brother of one of the girls who was part of our teenage crowd, drowned in Dennis Pond. It was a shock and I remember going to the funeral. Donald Gibson was young enough to have been a nuisance to us when we had parties at his sister’s house. We’d give him money go to the store and leave us alone. He was a good kid and had his whole future ahead of him when he died. He was his parents only son and I think it broke them. The funeral was gut wrenching. I never saw Donald’s sister after that. But even though I didn’t knew him all that well and it’s been more than a half century, I made it a point to never forget Donald Gibson. And I never have.