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At an obscure corner of my large bookshelf, I find my high school yearbook. Picking it up, I puffed a few times to blow dust off the cover. It's been almost 40 years since I graduated from McKinley High School in Honolulu, the class of 1968.
Flipping through the pages, looking at smiling faces of boys and girds, and reading brief well-wishing messages written by my school friends, I become interested in finding out how they are doing now. I have long lost contact with them so I begin to do web-searching.
I do not bother with girls, for they probably no longer go
by their maiden names, and besides I knew so few, having been
a shy boy then. Though very few, I find a message written by
the homecoming queen. How I got it, I cannot remember now. Good
looking girl like her surely have married and go by different
name now. So, I decide to pick only boys names like Richard Nagatomo,
Russell Higa, Edmond Ching, Dickson Lau, William Torabio, Leo
Keone, Leslie Kuebitz, Dexter Puluti, Jerry Fitzgerald (no relation
to F.Scott Fitzgerald, obviously), Howard Palmerton.
Howard was the kind of guys I hanged around. I was, then, like just off the boat (I actually took a ship to come to Hawaii from Yokohama, a seven-day ocean trip), going through miserable high school life: I was struggling with English, was under constant puzzlements about school life in America. Howard and the likes made fun of me but were also helpful in my getting used to the foreign environment.
Back on the yearbook, I come to the page about the student council. Yes, I know one more guy, the president of McKinley Student Council. His name is Worldman Kimm, and we were in the same physics class in our senior year. We did some experiments together and at times, he asked for my help in clarifying some concepts. He was the president, a member of National Honor Society, and only senior moving on to the Harvard University. Imagine a prospective Harvard guy asking for help from a nobody, a miserable off-the-boat student from rural Japan. I was honored and flattered. I liked him and we began to chat time to time.
A person like him must be very successful in some respectable field, with all his leadership and education, I reckon. Expecting something exciting to turn out, I do the web-search under his name. There must be many hits, line after line of related links to Worldman.
To my surprise, however, Google provides only one link. Something
about Harvard Radcliff Class of 1972 Reuni....
This finding shocks me. My expectation was to see wonderful findings, to see his name listed like, Dr. Worldman Kimm gives a lecture....or CEO Worldman Kimm announces the merger of....or Chairman Worldman Kimm presides over the anuual convention held at....or CNN Special world report by Worldman Kim...I was expecting to see something befitting his name, Worldman. A person with such a name must have made some dent in the society. Instead, in the internet world, he has only one line "Worldman Young Ha Kimm / Death Date 04/27/78".
Too many years have passed already and there is no way for me to find out what happened to him. Or, maybe I do not want to know what happened and how he died. We all die some time in one way or another. My knowing will make no difference for a man died thirty years ago. And I cannot say I was so close to him as to miss him now. What bugs me is the old, old question as to why a good-natured, promising guy like Worldman had to die so young. There is no easy answer, I know. After a while I come to settle on an only comfortable notion, that he has reborn and is leading a new life somewhere.
I look at the yearbook again. On his photograph, Worldman
Even though there is only one mention of him on web, this haibun page, when Google search engine picks it up, becomes his second link, the second Worldman in the World Wide Web. That is the best I can do for him. Hope Worldman would be happy to have another presence in the Web.
Wetting my color-faded aloha shirts,