August 6, 2011
I grew up in Louisville, Ky and went to a great high school called St. Xavier. My father and brother had gone there before me and I had always wanted to carry on the legacy. Plus, I really liked the name. Something about the letter X I think. I was also a big fan of Malcolm X as a wee kid even though it turns out I did not know what he stood for. Not that I am now against what he represented, I just think it was weird that a 6 year old white kid in Kentucky in the 1970s thought that Malcolm X was cool.
Anyway, before I go down a road unintended, back to St. X.
I lived about 5 minutes from the other popular private high school in Louisville, Trinity. Most of my friends from grade school were going there. Their school mascot was the Shamrock and I could not get behind that. During pep ralleys at St. X before the big rivalry game, we would chant "Beat the Weeds" much to the delight of the Xavierian brothers running our school. Our mascot was the Tiger and who wouldn't want to be a tiger versus something that grows in your yard? Plus, I attended St. X from 1979-1983 and if you'll recall, there was a Rocky movie during that time span that offered us a great fight song.
Can't remember? How about "Eye of the Tiger" from Survivor in 1982. We were certainly rising up to the challenge of our rival.
So why am I blogging about my high school? Well, yesterday I received the alumni magazine from St. X in the mail. There was a period of time after college while I worked for Kmart that I moved around quite a bit (5 states in 7 years) and St. X lost track of me. I became one of the lost alumni. I was not particuraly concerned since X's concern for my lostness was more about where did my checkbook take off to as opposed to caring about my well-being. So I remained lost for years until my brother was nice enough to let them know I had moved back to Cincinnati and was again under their radar. Now I am on the mailing list again for donation requests and the alumni magazine.
So I was looking through the magazine to see if I recognized any names, and they had an article in there about a guy named Eric Barnes. He graduated in 1986 and I do not remember him. I am trying to picture him with hair and a bad tie on since I would have been a senior when he was a freshman. Can't come up with him. Of course, there were 1600 young men at my school and most of them had hair and bad ties.
As it turns out, he has become rather successful. To give you the microwave Reader's Digest version of his life, he went to Princeton, started a business there that became Ivysport, then started another on line business in 2005 called ePrep, and also found time to design and market a reusable water bottle called KOR Water. You can look up what each of these things are on your own since this is just a blog. I am not bitter as my life has turned out great, but Eric has turned out rather well and meets the criteria Beth's dad has laid out for a winner.
He used to sit outside a movie theater or event that we were about to partake of and watch the people coming out. He would try to notice if any of them were smiling. Smiling meant we go in, not smiling meant we go for ice cream. Pretty good method if you think about it.
Eric was smiling. I am happy for him. And me.
However, as I turned the page, I saw tidbits of some people from each class. From the class of 1983 was a tidbit about a guy I do remember as we had gone to 7 years of grade school together and 4 years of high school. Both our fathers had worked at the same company, Brown-Forman Distillers. His father had been more successful there since my dad was very brand loyal and drank enough to get himself some early retirement . Timothy, my class mate, must have followed dad into the business and has worked his way up to Vice President, Director of Route-to-Consumer/Alliance. Nice title. You need some good-sized business cards for that one.
I remember Tim as being a short, immature kind of kid. I guess he has matured a bit since grade school. Probably still short though. Once again, not bitter. I will not be looking him up on Facebook though.
I think I will submit a blurb to the St. X magazine about my success in life. It does need a business card and may not sound as glamorous as Tim's, but it means way more to me than any old title or globally used green water bottle. Here goes:
Steve (aka Cornelius in high school), 1983: wife Beth, son CJ, full head of hair. And I am smiling.