It was early June, 1989, and I was at my high school graduation in the new gym, which is now the old gym, at St. John’s International School, in Belgium. My classmates and I were all sitting in the front row of chairs, in the gym, waiting to receive our diplomas. Behind us, were our families and friends.
All of us were listening to the speech of Charles Setzfand, who, while absent from Facebook, is still quite active in my memories. As he spoke, I was not looking at him, but rather, I was inspecting and pondering the colored lines, painted on the floor of the gym, which defined the outlines of the basketball, volleyball, badminton and korfball courts. The only part of the speech being given, which I remember was the quote “This is our Alpha, this is our Omega”, meaning that this is the end of one part of our lives, and the beginning on a new part. At that point, I remember thinking to myself “I am never going to see or hear from these people again…They no longer matter to me and I no longer matter to them”.
That evening, after the graduation dinner, at the Hilton, in Brussels (a very non-descript place, for a very generic meal), many of my classmates went out to the bars in Brussels. I didn’t want to go, so I came back home with my parents. When they went to sleep, I decided to take a walk, and went into Waterloo, to have a beer, and talk with an old man and old lady, who were the owners of one of my favorite places, Le Snooker Wellington, which was an Aldi grocery store, transformed into a snooker bar. As I sat there, I remember feeling even more certain about my earlier thoughts that evening, that I would never matter to my classmates again……….
Sometimes, it can take a long time for me to learn that I was wrong about something. Fast forward 24 years, which is a very long time. I am at work, yesterday afternoon, putting together a report for a project which I have been leading for the past year, and I receive an email from my wife, with the subject “I hope you know this person”…
Ever since I received a package from China, several years ago, which contained a quasi-legal item, she has been rightfully reluctant to accept unexpected parcels from overseas. I opened the email, and there was a picture attached, or a package from Singapore, addressed to “Masters Alex and Remy Davis”, with a familiar name David Sicari, on the return address portion. David Sicari? I know David Sicari, we graduated high school together, went our separate ways, and last year, re-connected, on Facebook. I remember David. He was a nice guy. Although we were never close friends, we got along well. In a graduating class of only 36 students, everyone is friends with everyone else.
I was exhausted, when I got home last night, and having a 11% Belgian Abbey beer, astonishingly, made me even more tired. I went to bed early and didn’t open the mysterious parcel from Singapore. This afternoon, I walked into the kitchen, and there it was, on the counter and I decided that it needed to be opened immediately. Inside I found two of the most colorful and beautiful t-shirts, just the right size, for each of my two sons, and two pairs of chopsticks——Angry Bird chopsticks, for the boys to eat sushi with.
What kindness and thoughtfulness there is in a person, when they have not seen you in 24 years, and yet, they take the time, effort and money, to send such nice gifts, from all the way on the other side of the planet. For him to know my sons names, their relative shirt sizes, and the fact that they love Angry Birds, can only mean that he has really been watching Facebook closely and that he cares. Sometimes, I re-connect with a person on Facebook and I think “Wow, we have so much to share, this will be great”. It fizzles for a bit, and then I hear nothing. This case was the polar opposite.
I never expected to see or hear from David, after we graduated—–and yet, 24 years later, he reaches out and sends such a kind an thoughtful gift to my two sons, Alex and Remy. I don’t know how to say thank you. This was a very special gift, from a very kind person, who I never thought I would hear from again, way back in June, 1989.
By Nicholas Davis, class of 1989