If there is any certainty about life, it is that there is no certainty. Really profound, I know. Let’s face it, when most people reach the age of 40 or beyond, they generally do not see their lives now as when they knew damn near everything back in high school. Most did not say, “I am going to be a commercial loan officer,” or “I strive to be a business development director for an industrial company.” The truth is, we usually just don’t know how it is going to end up – any of life for that matter. How many times has someone reentered your life in an impactful way when you had little or no contact for 15 to 25 years?
And speaking of high school, I’m a proud member of the Castle High School graduating class of 1980 (I say “proud,” CHS probably isn’t). For the most part, I sadly tolerated what should have been the best years of my life. There is no mental attitude award in the trophy cases, nor academic hall of fame plaque in the hallways of CHS. I know this, as I have looked. Perhaps that hardware is out for cleaning. I can only speculate.
Growing up as a Newburgh resident, I would have assumed that I would live somewhere in old Newburgh and my children would go through the Castle school system, though probably no picket fence. Alas, this was never to happen. Not even close. I do believe I went back once in the 32 years since graduating — to speak to a class. Frankly, I don’t think they miss me much.
Since my boys swim year-round, I had often heard how impressive the Castle natatorium is. Then, our club started swimming in meets there three years ago. Now, having now joined the Newburgh Sea Creatures Swim Club, I find myself at Castle five days a week and on weekends, too. After 32 years, I see band practice, football and volleyball practice, and I sit in the stands to watch swim practice. The funny thing is, with two boys going to Evansville schools, I still feel like a total outsider and visitor when I’m at Castle. I am for my son’s high school team when they play Castle. Irony sure is ironic. Sure never saw this one coming.
* Note to Father: I’m sure those bad algebra grades were a result of screw-ups of that new computer grading system Castle used.
Three weeks ago, I lost my old black labrador buddy, Jethro. Jethro was a rescue dog that lived to the age of 16 1/2 and was a big part of the Tucker family. I very rarely advocate for any type of service through this letter, but I will now. As our family looks to fill a large void, I have spent part of the last couple of days at area rescue facilities with animals that need a good home. We are going today to give one a place to live where the dog can learn all the Tucker boys’ bad habits. We can’t wait to teach him.
As always, I look forward to hearing from you.
Todd A. Tucker