Yesterday I learned that one of my oldest friends, Rex Deetz, had died. His death was not COVID related but was the result of a rare disease he had for several years. We first met when we were both eight years old, Rex was 31 days older than me. Our ages along with our proximity, we lived three houses away from each other, and a shared love of the Detroit Tigers made friendship inevitable.
We met in late summer of 1961, and both attended Riley School, grades K-4 with one classroom each. We were part of the last third grade class to attend that school. I can't recall the names of all the students in that class, but Robin Opper could decades later. Robin was another one of my closest friends who died a few years ago. I am beginning to think the ranks of survivors is getting low.
This is one of the disadvantages of growing old. We spend too much of our time grieving for those we loved and lost and grieving for our lost youths when we took for granted that they would always be with us. It seems to nullify our memories as if our early life has lost its legitimacy. It is a sadness that matches the loss of my brother.
After I moved away from Auburn, Rex and I would always get in touch on our birthdays. I did not this year and I really can't say why. I guess I thought there would be more next years, or I would finally visit in person after so many years. I can add regret to my grief.
My visits to Auburn were rare and mostly to visit in-laws. After the death of my mother-in-law the visits became less frequent, with my last being my father-in-law's funeral. It was my firm belief that Auburn was a good place to be from. I never really liked it there and probably wouldn't have made it without Rex. Rex was a caring and reliable friend who do whatever he could for a friend in need. He was there for me through the highs and the lows. I miss him dearly and my biggest regret is that I did not spend more time with while I had the chance. Goodbye Rex.