Death of a long-ago neighbor

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The above photos appear on page 161 of the Mahopac High School 1990 yearbook.

I, obviously, am on the left.

Jason Pelchat, obviously, is on the right.

Jason and I were not friends, or even sorta-friends. For three or four years our lockers were positioned alongside one another, solely on the basis of alphabetical distribution. To my left was Brittney Pearce. To Jason’s right was the brother-sister combo of Ken and Leana Peltier.

Twenty-seven years removed, I can’t really hear Jason’s voice or see his facial expressions or smell the cologne he wore (or didn’t wear). I don’t remember his friends or his enemies, or whether he had either/or. Truth be told, there are only three things I recall about Jason Pelchat:

• 1. He was never a dick to me.

• 2. He usually wore black.

• 3. He had a relative who managed (or worked with) Krokus, the 1980s metal band that brought the world songs like “Long Stick Goes Boom” and “Screaming in the Night.”

And, eh … um, that’s pretty much it. Which is strange, because a few hours ago—while skimming through random Facebook pages—I learned that Jason died this past summer. And the news has made me genuinely sad.

Why? Well, to begin with, Jason was a person, with four children, a companion, a sister. His obituary tells a little about him, but sort of asks one to mentally fill in the gaps …

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The thing about death—and especially the death of a contemporary—is that it reminds you, yet again, that all this stuff is painfully fleeting. Youth. Innocence. Happiness. Life. On and on. Everything we know, appreciate, grasp, understand … it’s merely temporary. Back in high school, I’m sure Jason (as we all did) saw himself as impenetrable and indestructible. It’s the gift/curse of youth. You fail to comprehend. But with the passing of time, we begin to understand our frailties. It sucks, but we do.

I don’t  know how Jason died, or how he lived. I just know that the kid one locker up no longer walks the earth.

And that’s crushing.

PS: Jason’s sister Katie wrote this as an ode to her brother. She posted it on Facebook …

I never knew I’d still be here without you?
I never thought I would lose you so young, I never knew we wouldn’t get to say goodbye, I never knew how bad I would cry, I never knew I would never hear you apologize, I never knew how precious the memories were inside, I never thought I’d have to dream to see your face. I never thought I’d feel so alone and out of place. I never knew I would grow old without you. I never knew I would feel broken in two. I never knew the pain I would feel…
Jason this can’t be real!!

1 thought on “Death of a long-ago neighbor”

  1. Cameryn Pelchat Stone

    Thank you for this<3 We love our uncle Jason so much. I would also like to add that he has two sisters and one brother. Katie Pelchat, Denise Pelchat and Dennis Pelchat.

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