What’s become of the George Huguelys from high school?

If you’re reading this for some reason, you’re probably wondering why I have such a fixation on the George Huguely V case. Because it’s about more than an alleged murder. It’s about class, privilege, wealth, entitlement and all the things that go with it.

In each of my three years in high school (our school was 10th, 11th and 12th grade), I knew at least three dozen George Huguelys.

From the Washington Post, May 23, 2010:

Huguely was a child of divorce but knew few other deprivations. He spent some of his teenage years in a million-dollar yellow brick home on a 1.5-acre corner lot in Potomac, where a boar’s head hung over the fireplace … 

The family invested in racehorses and a 1,000-unit apartment complex. Some family members had lifetime memberships at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase and the Annapolis and Corinthian yacht clubs. … 

Huguely hosted friends at his family’s five-bedroom beach house on North Carolina’s Outer Banks and on his father’s 40-foot yacht, the Reel Deal. The elder Huguely often took lacrosse players on fishing trips and was a regular presence in Charlottesville and at team parties.

“I view them in the same way,” one former player said. “Mr. Huguely was the same as George.”

And from Washingtonian Magazine, June 1, 2011:

Huguely excelled on the athletic field. He was quarterback on the football team and started his senior year. But the most exalted game at the sports-focused school is lacrosse. Huguely became a star, which ensured him a place at the top of the teenage social order and potentially an invitation to play lacrosse at a top college.

“The kids on the lacrosse team drove big SUVs, they hung out together on weekends, they drank a lot,” says a Landon graduate who didn’t play lacrosse but was part of the crowd. “They got the girls.”

“He was a pretty playful kid,” says a lacrosse teammate. “He was not a great student, but he didn’t care. He was more interested in having fun.”

Says another classmate who played basketball with him: “George had the wealth and entitlement, he was an elite athlete, and he could party hard. You could also see there was a temper there.

Each class at my high school had at least a dozen George Huguelys, Of each group of George Huguelys each year, I’d venture to say that approximately two of them were decent people.  But for some reason, those two guys still went with the flow. I even asked one of them years later, “You were such a good guy. Why did you hang around with such jackasses?”

Looking back, I feel sorry for those two guys from each group. They had a choice.

***

I wonder what kind of adults the George Huguelys from my high school have become. Are they respected in their communities and among their peers? Are they leaders? Are they good husbands and parents? Do they have an independent sense of compassion for others?

I’ve found that a few of them have matured and become good people and caring parents. A few of them, I consider them friends.

We had our reunion not too long ago, and the organizers created a Facebook page where we could write notes on the virtual wall to each other, about the reunion and how to help with planning. One of our very own George Huguelys left two notes:

The first, regarding a reunion we did not have:

The reunion that we had was awesome for 10 year. Wasn’t that great! (sarcasm). How about everyone bothering our class president (**** ****) to get something going?

The second, mocking someone who couldn’t make it to the reunion:

Oh, good, I’ll bet ***** ******* can plan it just so he can see all of his friends again.

Another, from one of the other George Huguelys:

HOWEVER…. Flying back east from March 4th – March 10th for da “unofficial” 10 year College reunion & 15 year High School Homecoming Shenanagins Celebration….. gonna be hitting up ALL of ye old stompin’ grounds in MD>DC>VA…. it’d be super-fun if we could get a bunch of the local kids out for a “Pre-Reunion Happy Hour” !??!?!? = )

Feel free to hit me up if yer around & down for shotgunnin’ some Natty BoH’s !!!!!!!!

Some things don’t change, do they?

What’s in the bag?

As you probably know by now, I grew up in a predominantly white, predominantly upper middle-class community outside of Washington D.C. Which fostered a bit of entitlement. And which brought gifts. See, even at 15 years old, the athletes were spoiling each other and getting spoiled.

On Fridays during field hockey and lacrosse season, teammates secretly gave other teammates gift bags of candies, snacks, cards and trinkets – the tradition known as “Secret Santa.” This was a long-standing tradition among the female athletes at my high school.

On the field hockey team, we drew our Secret Santas out of a hat. As a sophomore, I drew a senior. The person who drew me? Well, by the process of elimination, it wasn’t difficult to figure out who mine was. She was a sophomore, too, and in the first few weeks of the season, she was a shitty Secret Santa. I’m still convinced Carrie’s lack of thought into the creation and assembly of my Secret Santa bag was an immediate reflection of the fact that she disliked me.

Thus the lack of ingenuity within the first few iterations of her brown paper bag: I’d get a few Snickers or Milky Way miniatures, a handful of those peppermint candies you get with the bill at any restaurant, maybe a roll of Smarties and a Post-It note that read “Good luck” – all of which, combined, barely covered the bottom of said brown paper bag. I even went so far to announce in the middle of French class – and in front of a handful of teammates – that “I have a shitty Secret Santa.”

Stunned silence from teammates. Including Carrie’s best friend. After that, my Secret Santa bag got a little heavier and its offerings a little more diverse. It wasn’t like other bags – girls were getting garage-door sized chocolate bars, massive rolls of Life Savers or fist-sized stuffed animals – but somehow, the squeakiness of my wheel got the oil.

Yet because of Carrie’s early-season lack of ingenuity, I seriously considered withholding my offerings to my Secret Santa recipient. But that would be projecting, wouldn’t it? And I wasn’t going to project my issues onto a senior who was a very good person. Besides, creating Judi’s bag was an adventure. Not just because Judi was a good person but because she loved fruit. Every Thursday meant picking something new to go inside of her bag. Grapes. Bananas. Kiwi. Peaches. Apples. It required consideration. And I liked it when Judi would tell everybody on the bus, “Oranges! Yes!” It validated my decision-making abilities and my worth as a teammate.

I played softball in the spring, and as a team we voted down the “Secret Santa” tradition. It was too frivolous and too much of a time investment. But the lacrosse team did it, and in the spring of my senior year, the lacrosse team made a list of what each girl wanted in her gift bag, posted at the entrance of the locker room for every athlete to see.

Susannah wanted Snackwells.

Katy wanted Sweet Success desserts – only 74 calories in a serving!

Daria wanted Diet Coke.

Jamie wanted anything sugar-free.

Amy wanted anything that was fat-free.

Don’t hurt anyone’s feelings and get them something with – gasp! – empty calories and a high fructose content!

I guessed that the lacrosse team exchanged rice cakes, cottage cheese and green beans on a weekly basis. In an attempt to foster team camaraderie, little did some realize they were either promoting teenage malnutrition and/or adolescent eating disorders.

Now I’m not saying the softball team was superior to the lacrosse team in the lack of gift-giving, but it was self-serving to see a list of all the goodies these girls wanted … posted in front of the locker room for every girl who participated in sports and enrolled in physical education to see. That list epitomized greed and elitism. If someone tore it down, I wouldn’t have been heartbroken.

I have no clue if the tradition is still even around. If it is, I shudder to think what today’s Secret Santa gift bags include. Pandora charms. iTunes gift cards. Lindt chocolates. Sparkly nail polishes. Maybe a few girls even ask for fat-free, low-cal, n0-sugar non-food-colored cookies. (not that there’s anything wrong with gluten-free.)

And to the person who has a less-than-stellar Secret Santa? I get it. Entirely.