Debbie Simon (Konkol)
Claudia was my best friend in High School, following Freshman year. I had found myself without many friends after our first year, but during Sophomore year speech class with Mrs. Schmidt, we became fast friends. She was so bright, quick, funny, sarcastic, and yet kind too. There was always a wreckless edge to her that was hard to pin down. Nothing was off limits to her and she thrived on making fun of the "proper" way to behave. We spent countless hours together and on the phone. We shared many things - mostly a love of teenage drama. My High School memories include laughing hysterically about many things: Boys, knitting, singing, modern dance, fashion, makeup and just hanging out. We often spent hours after school in her kitchen or ours, gabbing up a storm about everything. She was talented in so many areas - everything seemed to come easily for her and I spent way too much time envying her life. She was gifted musically, (piano and flute) had a great mind, good grades, looks, great hair, great clothes, a great car, great sense of humor, etc. SHE taught me how to drive. I'd never have passed without her. When my Dad marched in Selma, she had a hard time with it, but eventually she was very supportive. Later in life we did agree politically and she confided in my that her Mom worked for Nixon, but voted for McGovern. Oh did we have a laugh over that.
But there was also an underlying sadness that pervaded everything. I could never put my finger on it until later when we were adults and she unburdoned her pain to me and to a few others. I tried to be there for her, but I was out of my depth.. She had serious issues from childhood - and I did not know how to help. I look back often and wish I'd done more but there was too much pain for too long. In hindsight - a million clues - but we were young and her problems were totally unknown at that time. I will miss her forever. Her twins were 4 years old when she chose to leave us, but in her 20's - her daughter came to visit me. We had a lovely afternoon and have remained in touch on Facebook. ONE of the many gifts that site offers - just keeping in touch. I will raise a glass of whatever we are drinking to toast our Claud in September. She would have LOVED getting together - just for the gossip! She was a firecracker - always ready to explode with crazy fun and yet always there for me too.
I always envied Claudia--she seemed to smart and together and with it. And an odd thing happened. For some reason, we bonded literally the last two days of school. I spent much of graduation weekend hanging out with her and realized how interesting and layered she really was. It was the best possible ending to an up and down high school experience. Wish I'd kept up with her. Thank you for sharing this remembrance.