Happy birthday, Bill!


When I was growing up in Binghamton, NY, I attended Daniel S. Dickinson School from K-9. For some arcane reason, school started both in September and in February. The February classes were smaller as they generally contained people whose birthdays were from December through March.

There were nine of us who went K-9 together and eight who graduated from Binghamton Central High School simultaneously. And I still remember all of their birth months, even though half of them I haven’t seen in decades. Diane in April, Karen and me in March.  Bernie, Irene, and Lois in February. David (who stayed an extra semester to play basketball), Carol, and Bill in December.

So I’ve known Bill almost all of my life, which is a great thing. Sometimes I call him on his birthday, which is December 17 or at least send him an email. He lived right across the street from Ellis’ candy store on Mygatt Street, in the middle of the block between Dickinson and Clinton Streets, but he insists that he always went one of the corners and didn’t jaywalk, which sounds right.

In high school, he was that guy who could straddle the different cliques. He was a jock who the longhairs could trust. That’s probably how he got elected as class president.


A group of us went to our 10th high school reunion. It was a rather meh event, to be honest. But the afterparty was fun. We thought we’d have a gathering of us Dickinson kids. Maybe a year later, Carol, Lois, Karen, and I converged on Bill’s house. We bought food and talked almost all night. It was a grand time. The second and third pictures above are from one of those occasions.

A year or so later, some of us went to his wedding to Brenda; it is a cliche to say she’s beautiful inside and out, but no less accurate for that.

I’d see Bill at random times, such as our 35th(?) reunion. The biggest surprise was when I was taking the Amtrak to NYC a couple of decades ago. I was walking through the train and ran into Bill, which was great.

The last time I saw him was at our last high school reunion in September of 1971 at Ross Park in my hometown.

Happy birthday, Bill! Or happy birthday, Guillaume. (He, like I, took French in high school, the odd stuff one remembers…) 

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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