“I’m not the most perceptive guy on the planet, and this realization hit me during the first year of my headship at a prominent boys school (in the US). I was trying to meet as many community members as possible during those first few months, when I got a letter from a woman, saying she was the sister of an alumnus, and that she desperately needed to meet.
A very pleasant middle-aged woman was at the coffee shop when I arrive, and she soon began telling me about the very serious depression that had enveloped her after her college years. She went into some detail as well about her addiction to drugs and alcohol. I thought it was odd that she never so much as mentioned her brother.
After talking about how she made her way on the road to recovery, she suddenly changed the subject.
“I am sorry I got you here under false circumstances.” As she said this, her voice struck me as unusual, and I noticed that she fingered the napkin with large hands. She stood up and was about to leave when she said, ‘You see, I’m an alumnus, class of ’87, and I’ve been to Thailand.’
I’m not sure how I reacted at the moment, but later, after meeting with our alumni director, I learned that we have 5 alumni in the same situation. She is not alone.”