Earlier this month marked the anniversary of the passing of an old high school friend. Braddock High School produced many talented people but none like this personality. Gabe Sanchez was a passionate guy who loved and lived film. He is responsible for some of the best short films Braddock High ever produced. The following is just one night in Gabe’s life, as told by an old, high school friend. It captures the personality and the love for story-telling that once filled the heart of our classmate whose life was cut too short.
Oh, What A Night
by Lucy Pulido-Cloer
Hunching over my knees disastrously attempting to fit the form of the Ford Probe I hid beside, I realized something about what it meant to live. It was a defining moment in my life. And I have Gabriel Sanchez to thank for that.
It was about 10 at night and the idea to egg my best friend’s house was stupid to say the least. How we came about our plan, I’ll never remember, but every moment of that night is vividly recorded in my memory. No pictures to remind me, no clips to post on you-tube, no co-conspirators to help me reminisce in detail the account of “The Night We Egged Her House.” The recollection of that green carton of ammunition unhurriedly making its way across the conveyor belt at the gas station, the clerk’s rigid expression as he scanned the barcode, the perceptive by-standers witnessing the calculating threesome with their intentions clearly written on their faces, all just as vivid as could be without ambiguity, and purely innocent.
We took a minute to rationalize the deed at hand and concluding there could be no other reason why gas stations would even sell eggs. Having spent a good five dollars on this adventure, there was no turning back now, we were fully committed. From that very moment we entered Gabe’s car, life was surreal, as he would often say.
What drove us to this heinous crime? Our nagging parents? The burdensome rules of our high school? The injustice we’d received from our teacher during the newscast? Or was it just that the vending machine kept our dollar for the last time that day and it blew us over the edge? Teenage angst??? Yes! Yes! Yes! Okay, no not really. Actually not at all. It had been a great day come to think of it.
What we were after that night was a moment in time that would be ours forever. Something to look back on and watch over and over. Something we could store away in our can.
What we really needed that night was simply a set. And as we drove through the suburban neighborhood philosophizing about the lyrics of Billy Joel, we came upon it. The scene was perfectly laid out for us and we knew the script inside and out. This was it. No dress rehearsals, no cold readings.
Our roles were easy. We’d seen this a million times…in the movies. The props were staged and the lighting was perfect, that’s when Gabe decided to STEADY, ROLE CAMERA, ACTION!
It was now our movie and Gabe was the director. He made our heart beat fast and ran us though every emotion. Fearful of getting caught, he managed to make us feel invincible as he led the way. We laughed more than ever as he taught us to run in zig-zag fashion from tree to tree to blend into the night, and hunch down to avoid the oncoming traffic. He guided us through the entire experience with perfect execution. Every egg landed on target until there were no more. We followed his every direction without question that night. And yes, Oh, what a night! Billy sang louder than ever as we rode home with yolk in our hair…”CUT”!
20 years later, I still see it clearly because we lived it.
It was not on celluloid my friend that you made the biggest impact. It was in real life.