The death of a friend, especially someone one’s own age, brings into sharp focus the inescapable fact of our own mortality. It also awakens the need to reconnect, to remember the way we were, full of life and joy and promise.
This week we lost one of our own, a free spirit who touched all of our lives in one way or another. Many of us grew up together from the time we were in elementary school. Or, we got acquainted over the years, perhaps under the tutelage of Mrs. Sellers, in Mrs. Mac’s English class, Mr. Raibourn’s algebra, or after school at the Dairy Delight. All of us shared our growing-up years in one way or another. We were all part of one extended family known to us as the Class of ’61.
By the time we graduated high school, we occupied different spheres…band, FFA/FHA, football team, basketball teams, pep squad, yearbook staff…but the spheres overlapped. Bobby Glenn occupied several of those spheres, and touched us all. Like those classmates who have passed on before him, Nell, Jimmy L, Ronnie G, Marie, Travis, Rex and the others, his death leaves a void in our lives. Perhaps we didn’t talk often, if at all. We met at class reunions or ran into each other in the grocery store or at the mall. When we do meet, it is as if in the interim time stood still. In spite of the years that have passed, we are always the same. Our conversations take up where they left off, sometimes years before.
I think one of my earliest memories of Bobby Glen dates from our sixth or seventh grade year. Several of us were at Hardy Morgan’s house. I think it was his birthday. The boys wore slacks and shirts with collars, and many had those funny names that characterized our generation, Jimmy Joe, Jimmy Don, Harold Wayne, Bobby Glenn. The girls all wore dresses and probably “bobby sox” with penny-loafer shoes.
After dinner we were seated in a circle in the living room playing “spin the bottle.” (Yes, we really did that.) Someone spun the bottle (of course it was a Coke bottle), and Bobby Glenn and I were paired up to walk around the house in the dark. As we left, I’m sure there were snickers and whispers…”Will he kiss her!?” As we circled the house, we discussed whether or not we would share “the kiss!”
At the time both of us wore braces, a mouthful of bands, wires and rubber bands guaranteed to hurt like hell when they were tightened and to trap bits of food on all other occasions. We decided that kissing under the circumstances was very risky business. After all, if we “locked braces,” we would have to return to the party in a state much worse than just a lip lock! By the time we got back to the group, we were in stitches laughing about that possibility, and left everyone wondering what was so funny.
There are many other memories of Bobby Glenn. All our classmates have them. This photo, which Ronny Mc shared a couple of years ago, best encompasses my memories. For me, the boy in the old photo is the quintessential Bobby Glenn, always full of fun and the life of the party.
Rest in peace my friend. I’m so glad you were blessed with a loving family and enjoyed another sixty years of life and love and laughter. You live on in our collective memory as alive as you have ever been.