Richard Oliver Barrett is a dear friend. We went to high school together at Hardaway High School and he went on to a huge, long career with the Hubbell company. They make electrical junction boxes and all those things used in construction to make offices, factories and homes able to safely use electricity. He’s married to Sherry and they’ve got children and grandchildren. Now, 57 years-of-age, he retired several years ago as Hubbell’s top marketing executive and has started a new career in Greenville, SC in commercial real estate.
When we were in high school, one of the most desirable young women (and let me say here that she remains desirable today and is happily married to Paul Bennett, a local Columbus attorney) in our class was Teresa Aglialoro. Even though I couldn’t believe my good fortune, I was dating Teresa. I survived several dates — even the first one — when her father, Sal (God rest his soul), made me have his beautiful daughter home at 11:15 p.m. and when we arrived back on her doorstep at their Junaluska Drive home in Mohina Woods, Sal was lying in the damp grass completely dressed in black watching to make sure I carried myself in a gentlemanly manner with Teresa at the door.
Teresa was sought after by many of us. Richard Barrett was also dating Teresa and the story goes that he (and possibly some others) allegedly rolled the trees around her house with toilet paper. Sal was furious! Richard rolled into their driveway for a date and when he got to the door, Sal met him, draped with bandoliers of bullets, a shotgun, a pistol, a rifle, a big knife and maybe even a hand grenade. “Son, are you Richard?” Sal said as he gave Richard that rakishly Italian stare. “No sir, Richard is out in the car,” Richard said.
I know that many of you who were high school classmates of mine, including Richard and Teresa are regular readers of this blog. It is highly likely that either I’ve told this story wrong, or that it has, over time, taken a trip down a side road and may not have ever happened. I’m counting on you HHS ’71 friends weighing in on this so we can now fully know the real story.
Back to Richard. Richard Barrett lives and works in Greenville. He left his job right after lunch yesterday and drove to Atlanta to spend a couple of hours talking to me in our hotel room! When I asked him why he would do such a thing, here’s what he said: “For most of my career I was always gone — traveling from some place to another and I missed many, many important things. I have decided that when a friend of mine needs me or if I feel the need to go and visit or talk to someone with whom I’ve had a lifelong friendship, I’m just going to go.”
We had a wonderful talk. He got the scoop on what is going on with me and I got the supreme pleasure of spending a couple of hours with a great childhood friend who has become a great man. When he walked out the door, he gave me a bear hug, told me he’d keep up with us on the blog and wished us well. What a sweet guy! But I already knew this about him. I’ve known him nearly all my life.
Richard, I hope you traveled safely back to your home. Thank you for the generous gift of your friendship and your time.