Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Maybe Facebook isn't a total waste of time...

My parents bought their home in Holladay in February 1989.  I remember this vividly because it meant that I was going to have to start the middle of the year.  I was going to be a sophomore at Skyline High School and I was dreading it.  I did not know a soul and let's just say for the record that high school sucks.

It was not a welcoming environment.  I still laugh when I think of the day that my mom drove me to the school and she thought that just because we pulled up to the drop off that I was actually going to get out of the car.  She literally had to pry my fingers off the door handle.  I was laughing and crying at the same time...I think we both were.  She gave up and drove home with promises that we would try again the next day.

When I finally started school, I was dying inside.  I HATED IT!  There was one class however, where a nice, somewhat quiet guy went out of his way to make me feel welcome.  His name was Ryan Palmer and he ended up being one of my closest friends in high school.  We had a few classes together and one of those classes was debate.  Our time in that class and traveling to debate tournaments sealed our friendship.  Ryan was a great guy and was always looking out for me.

Skyline High School's Debate Team 1991

During our senior year, Ryan found out a few days before the senior prom that I had not been asked.  He said that was never going to happen.  He came up to me after class and said that although he did not have a lot of money, he wanted to take me to the senior prom.  What a guy!  We ate sandwiches from Subway with cans of Hawaiian Punch on the hood of his car and laughed as we listened to NPR.  We joined up with a large group at the dance for pictures and games afterward.  We had a great time and it was by far my favorite high school dance.

Senior Prom 1991

A few months after we graduated, Ryan was in a terrible car accident.  He and a friend were standing on the bumper of a suburban and holding onto the luggage rack.  They were riding through a quiet neighborhood and tragically the weight of the two boys caused the luggage rack to break and Ryan fell back directly on his head.  He suffered massive head injuries and never regained consciousness.  Sadly, he died a few days later.

For years, I felt like Ryan was sort of like my guardian angel.  He would show up every now and then in my dreams, but he was always trying to hide and stay out of sight.  There was one particularly challenging time for me in college when I was feeling a little lost and confused about my future.  It was at this time that Ryan came to me again in a dream.  He was following me in a crowd and again trying to stay out of sight.  This time I approached him and asked him if he was Ryan.  His response was, "Of course."  He then asked me why I was making the decisions I was and he reminded me that I was better than that.  I woke up feeling like he was once again really looking out for me and helping to make sure that I was staying on the right path. It was a very powerful experience and one that I will never forget.

I bring this up only because I have always regretted that I lost contact with Ryan's family.  They asked me to speak at his funeral.  It was such an honor to pay tribute to such a great person and friend.  As the years have passed, I have always wondered if his family really knew the influence for good that Ryan had on my life...even years after his death. 

Well, today I was on facebook and noticed a suggestion on the friend suggestion tab.  I clicked on it and there was Ryan's brother's name.  I contacted him and we have exchanged emails back and forth today.  I mentioned to him this guardian angel experience and it felt nice to let him know the influence that Ryan had on my life.

So, I guess facebook isn't a total waste of time....


  1. What a nice post. I'm sure his family was so happy to hear about Ryan's influence on your life.

    You're a great writer, Alecia! I loved this post. (And I hated high school too.)

  2. What a great post. As I read your blog I realize how little I know about my good friend Alecia. I love getting to know you better. By the way, come to AZ anytime . . . we would loooooovvvveee it!!

  3. Loved this post and it made me cry. Also, just so you know, I thought you were the most beautiful girl in that black and white polka dot dress with the big black bow you wore to Sr. Prom. I thought "if only I can be as pretty as my sister, I'll for sure get asked to Sr. Prom." Not sure I was that pretty but I was lucky to get a 'pity date' by another nice guy telling me I just had to go so we went.

  4. Kara, that is funny that you thought I looked pretty in that dress. I guess it is all in the eyes of the beholder because when Thomas saw these photos, he said, "Mom, were you serious about wearing that dress? What is the deal with your hair? Did everyone dress as weird as you?" Haha!! And Kara, for the record, you looked better in that dress than I did...and that's a fact!

  5. This is a really nice post, thank you so much! I'm one of Ryan's little sisters; I remember you from that summer. It's great to hear that you're doing so well.

  6. Thank you for sharing these experiences. It's wonderful to hear some things about my brother that I didn't know. I loved showing the pictures to my kids, too. I'm glad you found Hubbel on Facebook.

  7. Another of Ryan's sisters here(Amber). I remember how wonderful he thought you were too. I remember that Prom...reassuring him that he didn't have to spend money to have a great time. Thanks for causing me to think of Ryan today.


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