There was a guy who went to my high school a couple years before me named Steve.
Steve was this huge, hulking guy, but low-voiced and very gentle. They called him “the human tripod” because the A/V club couldn’t afford them, and yet the shots in Sam Saldivar’s 11th grade opus The Day The Earth Turned Vertical were impeccably steady.
Steve lived in Garrison, NY, which was across the river from our high school. There were four towns feeding our high school’s student body; West Point, where I lived, was generally the obsessively high-achieving, secretly-haunted kids of Army officers. Highland Falls and Fort Montgomery were, respectively, lower-middle and working-class towns characterized by extreme resentment at living in West Point’s shadow.
Garrison was where the rich kids lived. On that side of the river–the East–was the commuter train to New York, Grand Central Station. This was an extreme demarcation–the West side of the Hudson is forever the thrift side for lack of of this pipeline. Garrison kids tended to wear clothes bought at Canal Jean in the city, had excellent multicolored Vans shoes, and good cars.
Steve’s dad was a famous artist. But Steve was humbler by nature. While his dad was travelling the globe being celebrated, Steve mostly lived by himself through high school. He had an autoharp. Matt Saldivar–Sam’s younger brother, and my oldest friend–I literally went to preschool with him–told me that Steve would sit in his empty house at night, playing an autoharp.
Steve’s still around–in fact, my whole high school crew is still loosely confederated, is that not weird? One friend has kids and runs a major recording studio, another is a struggling actor of awesome talent, another spent his twenties shuttling to and from the UK until he married his girlfriend, another joined the FBI. Such disparate corners of life to which we all went, and yet when we get together for barbecues it’s like no time has passed.