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Do you ever wonder where are they now?
No, not a once favorite actor/actress but a former school classmate. One of those “Most Likely to Succeed”.
About a year ago, in the midst of decluttering, I found my senior class high school yearbook.
As the song lyrics to “The Way We Were” drifted through my mind, the yearbook fell open to the page where Jack Largent gazed back at me. Hmm, “The Golden Boy” of everything!
Whatever happened to him?
High school had been high school and, except for two class friends, I had not kept in touch with anyone else. In fact, I had passed on both the 10th and 25th reunions.
That admission either labels me as indifferent or antisocial and neither applies. Instead, I’m a realist who appreciates fond memories yet believes living in the present is far more enjoyable. Besides, I could never handle high school drama.
Still, even after closing the yearbook and storing it away, the question of whatever happened to Jack Largent kept cropping up.
Yes, I could have easily googled him or searched on Facebook. However, something stopped me. Until, that is, a few weeks ago when I was physically stopped dead in my tracks.
At age 90, my favorite Uncle — and family patriarch — lives in a nearby Senior Living Community. Although not a nursing home, it does provide different levels of care for its residents. Uncle Steve, once the most active man who I knew (playing golf until he was 88), declined rapidly after moving into this facility. His general health was good but he no longer walked, content to maneuver around in a wheelchair.
When you don’t use it, you lose it and my uncle’s legs had grown weak causing him to fall while transferring himself out of the wheelchair. Our elders can be stubborn and the advice from those who he still doted on as “youngsters” was ignored. However, believe me, I encouraged him to be more active during every visit.
Until that visit, a few weeks ago, when I signed in at the reception desk and Molly gave me a smile that suggested a secret. “Molly…?”
The phone saved her from answering me, though she smiled again as I walked away.
Winding my way to Uncle Steve’s apartment, I was about to turn the corner of his corridor when I heard him ask, “So, how often do you get to play?”
I peeked around the corner, gasped softly and blinked twice. There was Uncle Steve walking down the hallway with a walker and talking to a male physical therapist who, well, resembled a more mature Jack Largent.
No way, I told myself.
But, of course, it was.
They both caught sight of me and Uncle Steve called out, “Hi, Larr. Come meet Jack, he’s the best”.
Praying that my smile covered the stunned feeling of discovering whatever happened to Jack Largent, I quickly reached my uncle and gave him a gentle hug, praising him for being up on his feet.
“Oh, it’s because of Jack,” with hands on the walker his head turned towards Jack. “He’s the best.”
Later, after spending time with my uncle, I went in search of and found Jack.
“Thank you. I had no idea you were here but you must be the best to have uncle Steve up and walking again.”
He shrugged and gave me a warm smile. “It’s good to see you. As for your Uncle, we had an instant connection. I love working with him, even though he needs a bit of a push now and then.”
We both laughed. And, because it felt right, I asked him how he had chosen physical therapy as a career.
Beginning with what sounded like a prepared answer, he explained that after college he had become a trader on the NY Stock Exchange. Three years there and he disliked every minute with each day being the same. “It was only about money. I didn’t feel as though I was contributing anything:”
It was then that he and his wife decided to do something they enjoyed and both became licensed physical therapists. Friends and others who knew of his athletic background asked why he didn’t go into sports training. Too predictable. Athletes already possess that training mentality so, if injured, they rest, rehab, and recover.
His voice lowered to a rather shy tone, “I realized I had the gift of empathy and I love working with these seniors, You don’t know what’s still possible, the potential is…” he held his arms out wide.
I completely understood his feelings and knew what had happened to Jack Largent. “The Golden Boy” had grown into a man who now shined brighter than ever before.