Friday, September 17, 2004

12th Grade: Part II (Katie Ricketts)

Okay, I know what you are saying. Why is Taylor continuing to obsess over this? First, I have to bring this up in order to put 12th Grade into context. There are too many references to her for me not to briefly recap things. I’ve done it before, and hopefully this is the last time I will do so. I feel that I have learned to put this in perspective with the rest of my high school years.

When I think of my days at DHS, there are two people that I remember most vividly. I’m referring to students and not teachers. One of them is Eric Cioffoletti. You’ll see him almost daily commenting on my posts. The other is Katie. Of course, there are other people that I remember, but not with the fervor of these two. There’s Zach Spencer, John Hyne, Aimee Thorney, Gurjot Kaur, and a handful of others. If I get the time, I might do a secondary post on those individuals.

Katie was somebody that I first met in 11th Grade A.P. History class. Mr. Brian Liebman had us sit alphabetically. Incidentally, I was to the seat directly left of Katie’s. I don’t remember feeling much for her that year. Not to say that we weren’t chummy. Honestly, I just can’t recall much of our relationship that year. The one thing I remember was, at the time, we were both fans of Mr. Bill O’Reilly. Hopefully, she has come to her senses, as have I, about the machinations of Mr. O’Reilly. It’s funny how some things can completely slip my mind. I remember thinking that she had brown hair early in 11th Grade and dyed it blond. It could be that I am thinking of another person. Nevertheless, I think I started liking her nearing the spring of 2001. It’s not like me to forget details like this.

We met again at the beginning of 12th Grade. By pure luck, we were in three of the same classes together. The courses were A.P. Physics, A.P. Calculus, and Spanish IV. I remember being a bit closer with her than the previous year. We would chat almost every day during these classes. I wouldn’t say we were “best friends”, but we had a very cordial relationship. We’d go outside sometimes during Spanish class and talk after we got all our work done. We shared many similarities. She is Catholic; I can still call myself Catholic if I want to. I discovered that we were both liberal Democrats. She was a self-professed “bleeding heart”.

I would intentionally get to school around 7:25 so I could walk with her on the way to 1st Period Physics. We would talk about upcoming assignments, political events, or goings-on in our personal lives. Any time that you can spend one-on-one with someone you really like is a very good thing. I remember how one morning, I was carrying our set of newspapers in from my car. The day prior, I had picked them up from the Lake Worth Herald. I think John Hyne and we were the only three people at the school to know about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Katie and I both were sympathetic to Chavez, while Hyne vehemently opposed him. Incidentally, by some stroke of luck, I had gotten the story of Chavez’s coup on the front page of “The Panther Prowler”. The Sunday prior, she had seen an interview with the beloved Chavez on “60 Minutes”. Long story short, I felt I could speak with her at a level above most of the other students at DHS.

Over the course of 12th Grade, I would do whatever possible to be around her. I’d go to Physics tutoring after class. I’d offer to help her run errands when the opportunity presented itself. She had a boyfriend, Ryan Schans, for the first part of 12th Grade. Around January or February, she broke it off with her. That is when I started to lose it. I knew exactly what I wanted but was woefully unequipped to do anything about it. For about a week, I was in a complete daze. I remember sitting and home and sleeping most of the time. It was easier when I knew there was nothing to do about it. But when prime time arrived, I was unable to come through. I kept telling myself that I would do something, but for some reason it never happened. I guess I procrastinated so much that I lost track of time.

I left DHS without even a valid email address or a phone number I could call. How could I be so stupid as to let even just the friendship evaporate? She was never much for school spirit. Therefore, I didn’t see her at any of the Senior Week events. That’s typically when everybody signs the yearbooks and give out contact information. I saw her for an instant on Graduation Day, but wasn’t able to catch her before she drove away. I went to Project Graduation that night hoping to see her there. A ton of graduates were in attendance, but not her. I tried emailing using an address listed from an old Thorne group email. Multiple tries yielded only returned messages. was not a valid address anymore. That’s pretty much where any hopes of contacting her ended.

The summer after, I did something that might be considered a bit creepy. I had an idea of where I thought she lived. At least where I thought her parents lived. I drove by a couple of times hoping to see her Green Nissan Sentra sitting outside. I didn’t want to call unless I knew that she had a residence there. I still believe her parents live at the location, but the time for that sort of reconciliation has passed. I did try and google her name, but to no avail. From time to time, I’ll check the AIM Find-a-friend hoping to find a Ricketts in Winter Park, FL. Nothing of any relevance has been found.

It’s my understanding that she’s in her Junior year at Rollins College in Winter Park. Originally, she was going to attend Davidson in South Carolina. Eventually she decided to go to the small private university in Florida. My source tells me that she’s currently dating Cheyne Seleski, one of the class of 2002 DHS graduates. I’m not aware if their relationship continues today. Not that it would matter anyway.

What do I think my relationship could have been, had I handled it differently? I believe that the distance would have killed any chance of a romantic relationship. I often wonder if she knew how I felt about her. My guess is that it would have been hard not to at least have some idea. I actually think I would have had a chance with her, were I more prepared to adapt to situations. Katie was a very beautiful girl, IMO. I think that the other person who knows of her would vouch for that. She could have been one of the most popular girls in school. It wasn’t that she wasn’t well liked. But she didn’t like the “popular crowd”. She didn’t go to Homecoming or football games. She liked to hang out with the people who weren’t as popular, me included. That included people like Tyler, myself, and Cheyne. I don’t think it’s that she felt sorry for us. Rather, she wasn’t drawn to people who were arrogant.

I often wonder about what happened with her and Cheyne. I know from firsthand and secondary accounts that Diana Seleski absolutely adored Katie. I think she wanted someone to be Cheyne’s second mother when he went off to the University of Central Florida. Mrs. Seleski, a known supporter of George H.W. Bush (41), really wanted them to eventually marry, in my judgment.

All of this leads up to my conclusion. In reality, I don’t think about Katie every night before I go to sleep. In fact, she crosses my mind only once a week, and I don’t give it much thought. Sometimes I might exaggerate for hyperbolic effect. There were times that I was obsessive, but they are in the past. I know what the reality is. It’s unlikely that I’ll ever see her face again. There’s always the opportunity that I’ll see her at a 5 or 10 year reunion. I do check the reunion websites to see if she’s registered. Up to now, she has not. I don’t plan to mention her again on my blog, once I get done recapping my high school years. I do wish that things had turned out differently. It would have been nice to maintain at least an Internet connection. But they didn’t, and the ship has probably sailed on that.

I hope that if this ever got back to her, perhaps by being found through Google, that she wouldn’t be offended by my writings. I am not a stalker or anything of the sort. She was simply the most beautiful and kind girl that I have met in my entire life. She’s the kind of person that made you feel good about yourself. She never gave the impression that she was better than anybody else. She is someone that I am proud to say I knew, even if it was only for two years. Above all else, she taught me a valuable lesson. When you meet someone that unique and special, it’s a tragedy to let them fall out of your life. I don’t care if it was as a girlfriend or a platonic pal. For having known her, I am definitely a smarter and more focused individual.

Part III…

I decided to interject Katie into Part II, and move what was Part II to Part III.

Part III will now be about 5th, 6th, and 7th Periods of 12th Grade.

I think Part IV will be on some of the other people I knew that year.

Part V is a general overview of what I learned (minus the Katie part, which was detailed rather extensively here in Part II).

There might be more, but I’ll let the writing process lead me in that direction. I have a big project, so I might not get to it all this weekend. I did touch on a large part of what I desired to chronicle.


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