It is no secret that we never outgrow the people we grow up with. You should not end a sentence with the word with but who among has not said, “Those are the people I grew up with?”
I grew up with Jimmy Thomas and Terry Walker and Philip Virgil. I grew up with David Lee and Terry Allen and Bill Skinner. I grew up with Leon Carlock and Mikie Watson and all the Preissinger boys, whose last name I never actually learned to spell. I never outgrew these guys, or Benny Standridge or Les Taggart.
And I grew up with, but never outgrew about a half dozen Debbies; Smith, Bransom, Debbie S who died at 18 and Anita who nearly died with her on that same sad day. I married Vicki to her husband (still married; good knot) and buried parents and married kids. I never outgrew them, never outgrew them at all; not Paula or Carol or Brenda, Donna or Karen or, well, you see where we are going.
There were 53 people in our graduating class, Owls of 1972, one soon dead, 52 of us left, and now, another gone, Christi Brewer Railsback.
Christi Brewer was the Earth Mother of our bunch. Christi, who never aged in appearance, was born, I think, with an old soul. Everyone else would be flipping out (as we called teen angst in those days). Christi would calm the waters and then part the waves. I am not sure how many guys asked her out but it is probably the same number who wanted to marry her. She carefully, thoughtfully, kindly rejected this one or that one, until she got the one she wanted.
Christi was, you see, the one indispensable, sensible girl that every class needs. She was the one who set the emotional temperature of the group to warm, not boil. The world was better for her presence and is poorer for passing. We remember her, and treasure her appearing.