One of the inevitable events that occurs in our lives as we grow older is that we lose old friends. Some wander along different paths as we find our own way through our lives. Some makes mistakes that cannot be forgiven and fall by the wayside. But others, the losses that hurt the most and leave empty spaces in our hearts, are those old friends who fall.
When I was a kid my family moved to Marion Street in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. The first friend I made in the new neighborhood was David Faucette. He was a misfit. I say that with affection. He got me into trouble plenty of times (and I like to think I returned the favor at least a few times). But I never once doubted that the fun times were worth it. David had that effect on a lot of people.
As often happens with childhood friends, David and I went our separate ways when my mother and I left the neighborhood. Our paths would often cross as we grew older, and I believe we always had a mutual affection. I was always glad to see him and I believe he returned the sentiment.
For the most part I finally lost touch with David around the time I was married in 1998. Then I drove a tractor-trailer from 1999 to 2007. In that time I saw David only once. As my wife and I were sitting in the car about to go to the store one day, a man in a pickup truck pulled up and started talking to us. I didn’t recognize David Faucette, and I always felt that I owed him a heartfelt apology. Now that’s impossible.
David was found dead in his apartment earlier this week.
There’s not much I can say about David Faucette by way of an epitaph. The David I remember so strongly in my mind is the boy who talked me into jumping ramps on an ill-equipped 3-speed bicycle. I remember the boy who talked me into crawling under trains (sometimes moving ones) to get to a concrete plant to play on the mounds of sand. I remember the boy whom I would walk with through the woods behind our neighborhood to go to a convenience store a mile away for comic books and brain-freezing Slurpees. I remember the boy I had fist-fights with but never held grudges. I remember the boy with whom I snuck off one afternoon to walk a mile to a downtown movie theater to watch “Jaws” – a movie my parents had forbidden me from seeing.
As we grew older, I remember careening around in the mud with a young man in his first car – a red Opel his father had given David. Man, if Mr. Faucette had known what we put that car through. I remember zipping around town with David in both of his souped-up Ford Mustangs, dodging the police who definitely kept an eye on David Faucette.
To some of you, David Faucette may have sounded like a whole lot of trouble. Maybe he was. But that’s one of the things his friends always found endearing. He was the misfit that we always wanted to be. The imp with the easy smile and a twinkle in his eye. I have plenty of David-related stories. I imagine everyone who knew him does.
I can’t say what David’s life was in the years I lost touch with him. From what I understand, some things went badly for him. He lost a house and suffered through a failed marriage. We are alike in that regard. But whereas I found my salvation in the arms of an angel, David apparently did not.
I’m not sure how David Faucette died. I’ve heard a number of differing stories. One is that he was suicidal. Others say he overdosed insulin (he was diabetic), and passed out, cracking his head as he fell. In the end, the “how” doesn’t matter unless one is looking to assign blame. That’s not productive. All that really matters is that John David Faucette is dead.
David was preceded in death by two of his older brothers, Clark and Wesley. I considered them both to be my friends, as well. What a stunning tragedy it seems to me that three of the four brothers are dead. Oddly enough, they were the three I had the most in common with.
I’ll always regret that I lost touch with David. It’s that self-important arrogance that makes us want to believe that maybe our presence would have made a difference, even as we know it probably wouldn’t have. All I’ll really carry with me from here is that now that David Faucette is gone I feel like I’ve lost some part of my childhood. I’ve said this about other people who have passed on, but I’ve never felt it more strongly than I do today. When I look up at the stars at night, I’ll imagine that one of them is David Faucette looking down upon us with a bemused smile. I imagine if one of them is David, it will be the one with the mischievous twinkle. If I look up and see him there among the other shining stars, I’ll just smile and wave.
Farewell, my old friend. I hope your journey is an adventure. Save me a seat on the passenger side. If I make it to Heaven, we’ll find a way to go four-wheeling in the mud up there in an inappropriate vehicle. Maybe it’s just me, but I like to believe that God has a special place in His heart for the misfits.
This is a comment to the person who left those great words about David Faucette. I also was born and grew up in Kings Mountain and I have nothing but great memories of David. The twinkle you meantioned him having in his eyes. Well I know exactly what your talking about. He was larger than life. I was in Jr. High when he was in high school and I had the biggest crush on him riding through the Jr. High circle after school flirting with girls while cruising around in his souped up cream colored mustang. I first laid eyes on him and thought I was in love. We became friends and he was so sweet. Mischievious, but sweet. Many years later we actually dated a few times but we just remained friends. I have nothing but fond memories of him. He had his problems but dont we all. I seen David at McDonalds in Kings Mountain and he approached me. This was about a couple of years ago or so and he said. You dont know who I am do you? and I stood there for a minute and finally I recognized him. I hope I didnt make him feel bad but we all change. I found out David died on Facebook and I have felt like my heart dropped. I will miss you my friend and your memory will always be that georgeous crush of mine in that cream colored Mustang. RIP David.
I, too, remember that misfit young man you have described. And as a lot of girls that I was in school with, thought that David was the “cat’s meow” so to speak. I was friends with that sweet young man. He always had a smile even if he was not smiling inside, he would as smile and speak no matter how he felt himself. As ones have said, I too, lost touch with most of the folks including David that I had the pleasure of going to school with and getting to know. This “misfit” as we have referred to him, I am so touched and there are many that will miss him, even tough we may not have seen him in years, it’s still hit hard at home to know that someone you knew if only for a brief moment is now gone. I so hope that God is with his family as I hope that David is with God and is no longer in pain that life has for everyone. Bye David, hope to see you on the other side. You are loved always.
I remember David most of all. I am his sister. I didn’t know the impish young man you all seem to remember. I knew the boy. I was 15 when he was born. He was for lack of a better description, my first child. When I wasn’t in school, I was taking care of David. When I got my drivers license, I would take him everywhere with me. Everyone would say ” What a beautiful little boy you have.” For all intents and purposes he was my child. I bought him his first swing set, and anything else he wanted. When I got married, I would have him come and stay with me on weekends.
As he grew older and had friends and ball games to take up his time, we didn’t see as much of each other. Cars, girlfriends, marriage, children and life seemed to intervene. But the last year or so of his life we became close again. He stayed with us for a time, while he was waiting to go to rehab. When he came out he stayed with us again for a while. He went back to his apartment for a short time and started drinking again. We had him come back to our home until we could get him into another place. It was a hard time, but I couldn’t just see him drink himself into a hole from which he couldn’t climb out.
During that time he was in and out of the hospital. His diabetes was out of control. We had taken him to the hospital several times when he was literally moments from death. During the good times his kids would come and spend the weekend with us and there were good times had by all. I was glad when he graduated from rehab the last time and was sure he had turned his life around. He came back to stay with us a short while and then he was ready to go home and take control of his life. I talked to him almost everyday.
Then, the first weekend of October I couldn’t reach him. For a couple of days I tried to call but no answer. Finally I was about to call his ex-wife when she called me. Neither of us could get him on the phone. She was going to go by his apartment to check on him. I called the police and asked them to check on him. They arrived about the same time. The rest is what we all know. David was found dead. The coroner’s report said heart attack. I will miss David forever, but I am so gald we had that last year together. I know I would not hurt as much as I do now if we had not had that time together, but I would not change it for anything. I miss you David!!!!!! I love you!!!!!