Today I received news that one of my earliest friends had passed away. There are only a handful of people I can say were my friends from grade school. I’m proud to say that Chris Hauptman was one of them. We met Chris in the fourth grade and connected instantly. We had a lot of great times as kids. Looking back, he had an early influence on my interests that came in handy later in life. I can still recall collecting the stubs from our milk tickets, coming up with phoney company names and pretending we were businessmen, and lots of messages written in code (a sign of computer interest.)
Unfortunately, we grew apart as we grew older. This past week I was thinking of Chris as I mentioned one of his interesting childhood talents to my daughter. I reached out to Steve, another friend from Parkview Elementary, today on Facebook and asked him if he knew what happened to Chris. It turns out he moved from Michigan to Florida some time ago, started a family, but got very sick in the last couple years and passed away last fall. I had to read Steve’s message several times hoping I had read it wrong. Maybe he mentioned Chris’ dad or someone else, but it wasn’t so. I was extremely saddened by the news and wept for a few moments
Chris was of one of the first people who accepted me for who I was (not easy when you have a physical difference.) I felt a deep sense of regret for not keeping in touch with him over the years. Would it have been so hard to reach out and start looking for him a year ago or two?
Don’t make the same mistake I did. Reach out to someone from your past and reconnect. The Internet makes it so easy. You’ll be glad you did.