In Memoriam to the Deceased Members of the Class of 1988

By Liane E. Stone, ‘88

We were a garden of blossoming, fragrant flowers

Planted in colorful clusters across the hills and valleys of Northfield Mount Hermon.

Bursting with adolescent angst and pubescent passion,

We began this journey…together.

Endless days filled with breathtaking views of picturesque mountains draped in blankets of gold, orange, red, and green hues.

Together, we took that first step toward global citizenship,

All while coming from every nook and cranny of this vastly diverse landscape called earth.

Though armed with different toolboxes gleaned from myriad upbringings, experiences, and ideas

We were open to learning about the true essence of each individual life we encountered upon these hallowed hills of Northfield Mount Hermon.

Together, we sadly dined on barely tolerable cuisine that left us running to the snack bar in search of more palatable sustenance,

Together, we cheered on fellow hogger athletes who sometimes won, and sometimes not,

But that never caused anyone to question our loyalty nor did it weaken our enthusiasm.

Together, we suffered through weekly all school meetings meant to unite and inform us,

Yet sometimes strangely felt like corralling us into sheep-like submission.

Together, we pulled all-nighters, gulping down Jolt sodas and popping No-Doze like caffeinated skittles,

Writing papers on Brothers typewriters because desktop word processors were just becoming an accessible thing during our day.

We walked the paths of Northfield and Mount Hermon, together.

Late nights lying in the cool green grass counting stars, making plans, and crafting dreams that felt so real we could touch them.

Campus-wide snowball fights, races for school-baked pies, and “dressing up” to attend formal occasions, the NMH-way.

Together we gathered in prayer as we readied ourselves to walk across that makeshift stage built on the football field,

While swallowing the melancholy tears of goodbye to this journey, and hello to the next.

We lived so much, laughed so much, fussed so much, planned so much, and played so much together that we never imagined a time when we would no longer be we, us, as a whole.

But one day, our Creator looked lovingly across this garden of blossoming, fragrant flowers planted in colorful clusters,

And knew that despite the array of incomprehensible beauty that we possessed,

Some were weakening, some were suffering, their life forces slowly ebbing away.

It was then that He lovingly reached His hand down to our garden,

Plucked nine of our most beautiful flowers,

And took them to His greenhouse filled with love, joy, peace, and healing for their souls and their spirits.

It was there, in His greenhouse, that they were separated from those crumbling shells and placed in the master’s garden

Where they will no longer suffer, wilt, nor weaken from the harsh elements in this world.

Though our garden is smaller, and our clusters are missing blossoms,

And the link that connected us as we’ve gone on this journey together is forever broken,

We have assurance in knowing that there will always be a part of those nine blossoms in our hearts,

In the air, in the soil, in the head, heart, and hand, and in the soul of Northfield Mount Hermon.

Published by

Rhoyal Empress

Liane Stone Ingalls (Rhoyal Empress) is a lover of all things creative, unique, breath-taking, and beautiful. She is a writer, poet, singer, songwriter, teacher, mentor, and an unapologetic champion of creative souls and the underdog. She believes in Jesus (not feigned religiosity), love, social justice, equal rights, equity, and the pursuit of happiness. She is an African American woman learning to triumph while living with depression and anxiety, along with helping her daughter manage her own mental illness. Her poetry is her love letter to the uniqueness of this complex journey through life. It exists to share her story with all the tragedies and triumphs as she finds her way through the labyrinth of being black and female in America, all while dealing with mental illness, in a culture that often condemns those stricken with the disease.

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