Author and Modern Mystic

Posts Tagged first love

Memories Swirl; Gratitude Flows…

Photo courtesy Glendale College via Twitter

My high-school sweetheart, Chuck Arrobio, died this month. (Link to his obituary is below.) We spent 4 years of our young lives together in high school and early college. Chuck was a fine young man, a leader and a gifted athlete who would become an All-American football player for USC and then pro-player for the Minnesota Vikings. Our relationship was sweet, innocent and balanced. It provided a wonderful anchor for us both.

His passing has triggered a flood of memories. At Glendale High School I remember his meeting me after a class at my locker to carry my books to my next class. I watched him play football every Friday night in the fall. I smiled when he purchased and restored a blue 1932 Ford Model T. We attended proms together, including our senior prom when I had a cast on my arm after breaking my wrist falling off a skim board at Laguna Beach. We also shared a beautiful evening with friends at our senior party in Beverly Hills where the Lettermen sang.

Chuck took me to my first Shakespeare play in Hollywood; the Greek Theatre to hear Johnny Mathis sing; and the Hollywood Bowl to listen to the USC song fest. In college I watched him play football in the Coliseum, attended his Sigma Chi parties and had my first glass of champagne at a fancy USC party.

Chuck and Susan at Senior Prom, 1962

We were also together one evening that changed my life. As we arrived home from a date one Saturday night, we were told that my father had killed himself. I will be forever grateful for his kindness and help that evening and during the ensuing days.

Chuck was proud of his Italian heritage; family was always paramount to him. I fondly recall extended family gatherings in the local park where the men played bocce ball as the women chatted and the children played.

Susan with Ann Arrobio

This past weekend I had a wonderful visit with his lovely wife, Margit, at their home in Pasadena. I met his younger daughter, Pia, who looks like her father, Pia’s fiancé and 2 of his grandchildren. I also had the privilege of visiting his mother, Ann, whom I had not seen for 52 years.   An extraordinary woman, she lives in the same house where Chuck and his sister Carol grew up. I told Margit and Ann that I was deeply grateful for the relationship I had with Chuck.

We went our separate ways later in college. But what a rich and meaningful time we shared.

Chuck’s death reminds me how important it is to connect with people we have loved in the past. I am grateful that I called him last summer to get together to thank him for the gifts of our relationship. I suspect at first he wondered what I was doing, but he quickly relaxed, and we talked about our history together and our current lives and families.

With his passing it is important to remember the times we shared; look at old photos; visit his family and talk with my high school friends who also knew him well. We all grew up together, and one more of us has passed.

THANK YOU, Chuck, for the times we shared. Blessings to your family and your spirit as it begins a new journey.

Read Chuck Arrobio’s obituary.

Senior party (Chuck and Susan seated at center), 1962


© Susan Beilby Magee, 2018. All Rights Reserved.