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Huckleberries Online

It’s My 2 Cents — Keeping In Touch

In high school, I was best friends with Rich Eggers, an all-Northern California middle linebacker who'd moved to my school from the Tri-Cities. We did everything together my junior and senior years. In fact, I moved in with his family when my parents moved from town. I wanted to finish high school in Gridley, Calif., where I'd live from the second grade onward. Rich and I got in trouble. But we never got caught. He was the brawn. I was the brains. He was a better athlete. I was a better student leader. He was my campaign manager during my senior year when I successfully ran for student body president, intimidating the freshmen and sophomores into voting for "Oly." My campaign posters featured those little 6-ounce Olympia beer cans, of days gone by. We played high school baseball together. I taught his old man and him to play a Portuguese card game, called Pedro. We even dated the same girls. I saw him last on the day of my wedding in 1975. He married classmate Karen Moreland while in high school, raised two girls, and had 10 grandkids. I knew that he'd moved back to the Tri-Cities. But I never got in touch. We move on. On Monday, I learned via e-mail from Karen that Rich died of a heart attack more than six years ago. Until then, he'd remained forever young, a stocky redhead who once visited my P.E. class, penned our best wrestler in 15 seconds, and then yelled: "Vote for Oly." I'm still digesting the news. Mebbe it's best not to find out what happened to those who shared your Glory Days.

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Huckleberries Online

D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.