My girlfriend from high school got me into the habit of reading the obituaries in the Unfunky Scummedrine Gazette. I stopped reading after a bit, as though a certain portion of my schoolmates have died over the years, it didn't affect me. I never really knew them or cared for them in the least when they were alive.
However, a few days ago, I got back in the habit. And got a kick in the stomach. MwP, a classmate of mine in the Hebrew School, died. The obituaries did not mention a cause of death, just where the funeral would be held.
I remember hearing a few years ago MwP had wed and become a father. That was it until last weekend.
MwP was in my 4th grade Hebrew School Class. And 5th, and 6th, and 7th (whereupon I ceased to attend). He was a guest at my Bas Mitzvah, I was a guest at his.
MwP was in my 4th grade Hebrew School class, though in regular school he was in 3rd grade. He was one of those children born in November or December of the year I was born, and so was put in the next class in regular school His mother taught Hebrew School, and I guess she figured he could handle the work. MwP was the youngest of several boys, and often the youngest learns from the scaffolding provided from his brothers.
M was a very annoying little boy, but in a entrancing fashion. He was average height, brown hair, pale skin, and chubby. It must be difficult to be the son of the Hebrew School teacher. Every so often, she would stop class and yell at him, "M, stop scratching yourself." And he would whine, "Ima, I'm itchy." That doesn't usually occur in school.
M teased me constantly at Hebrew School. I would walk into the class, and he would start to sing, "Goobers and Masha Potatoes, Goobers and Masha Potatoes," after the earworming commercial popular at that time, "Goobers and Raisinets." My Hebrew name is Sasha. Don't ask. Then he would finish up with, "That's my Masha Potatoes." I never told him--I actually enjoyed it. I liked the attention. The teasing was enjoyable. Someone noticed me. I even liked my Hebrew name better because of him.
I was a shy, inhibited bookworm. I liked this boy. I never let him know it. I couldn't say anything. I would have liked to have been his friend outside of Hebrew school. I was terrified of rejection. No boy paid attention to me--except him. Few people seemed to even like me. I was one of those socially marginal children, who spent too much time with the Happy Hollisters and little time trying to be hobnob with the hordes. I always made the assumption that no one would like me and I couldn't try. Confirmation would devastate me.
I can't stop thinking about MwP. I wonder about the cause of death. I wonder what kind of man the chubby boy became. I hope he had a good life.