Ron Green in Orillia sent me this photo recently, and a day or two later sent the names after he had tracked them down. These hockey players looked vaguely familiar at first, but when the names came, they all came back.
These Orillia guys are about four years older than me. I knew most of them, although most of them might not have known me. I knew them from the arena and baseball fields, or school or a younger brother or on the Packet and Times sports pages. This was before women changed the course of things.
Barry Stockdale, top row, third from right, was one of my baseball coaches when we won the Peewee Provincial Championship. He was a great guy. When he was my coach, I thought he was a grown man. But now when I think about it, he must have been only 16 or so.
There’s one guy here who really stands out, and I didn’t know it was him until the names came. Mike Grube, front row, third from right. He was one of my first heroes. He was in my sister’s grade eight class and a few times he came over for class parties. Most of the guys wore white sports coats, the girls wore dresses and a pound of hairspray, everybody danced, and I wasn’t invited. But Mike would break away from the party and play catch with me in the back yard. He was nice to me and treated me with respect even though I was just a kid. These were powerful moments. I wished he would date my sister.
I wonder how many of these guys are still alive. How many have gone through divorces. How many are rich, even millionaires. And how many of them still live in the old home town.
Ain’t it funny how time slips away.