One of my best friends, and high school buddies, gave me some bad news today. An old schoolmate, Sherman Galbreath had passed away. I hadn’t seen him since we graduated, but he was a very interesting character.
While many of the people I remember from high school pop in and out of conversations, Sherman was almost a monthly occurrence (if not more). Going back 10 years into my life I was a senior in high school. From my very first year I knew Sherman. I had him in my gym class and biology class freshman year.
He sat directly in front of me in biology and would always have some sort of idea or scam he wanted to run. Some days it would involve selling some sort of item, other days it would be making silly bets, and most of the time it involved rolling dice. Now we would roll dice for almost anything; food, clothing, homework, cash, you name it. I can recall rolling for bags of peanut M&Ms and on a few occasions being the nice guy he was he gave me a break if I lost. Most times this took place during those boring movies we had to watch about bugs or dissections. And it was great to win some snacks to enjoy right before lunch.
Somewhere along the lines Sherman said, “JEEEEENNNNDERS, I’ll roll you for your Snickers”. He’d always call me by my last name, and always let it roll slowly off his tounge. I don’t know where Sherman was from, but it almost had a southern accent when he said that to me. This of course became one of those token phrases of me and my buddies. Everyone could relate because at some point in their high school career, incidently at Milwaukee Trade & Technical High School, Sherman had tried to “roll” them for something.
You see Sherman saw opportunity. Even in a high school classroom. I should have suspected he would use those skills to become wealthy one day. Yet I was surprised to hear that he was apparently working on Wall Street. I don’t know how accurate that information is, but I can see it. Sherman would have been working his magic and his bright smile to get some sort of deal, or at the very least your Snickers candy bar.
This endured for 4 years of my life. From biology to graduation he was always trying to make the best of the situation he was in, create an opportunity, or hit on Camille. I can remember being in one of the advanced math classes we took and he would sit there trying to run game on her all through class. She must have gotten tired of it early in there “relationship” because after awhile it seemed like she could easily ignore it. I think it really bothered Sherman that he couldn’t figure out how to charm his way into dating her. I actually can’t say if they ever did date or not. But it was always interesting to observe him try day-in and day-out.
To this day my friends and I still joke about the Snickers. After all this time it hasn’t faded. I still get a chuckle out of it, and I know I always will. His smile, his humor, and his youth is forever part of my memories.
From my quick online search, isn’t the internet beautiful, I found in article from The Globe (yes the tabloid) about his death. Apparently Sherman was dating the would be step-daughter of Oprah Winfrey. The daughter of Stedman Graham, Wendy was engaged to be married to Sherman. On July 3rd, 2002 while in the Virgin Islands the husband and wife to be were at St. John’s Hawksnest Beach. Sherman was never able to swim in high school, and apparently never learned. Wendy was teaching him to float when things went wrong and he drowned. CPR was unsuccessful and because his fiancee quickly left the islands it made the tabloids.
With our 10 year reunion quickly approaching I was eager to see some of my old school mates. Sherman would have been one of those at the top of my list. It certainly sounds like he was making a good life for himself, sadly it was taken to soon.
Rest in peace Sherman, I will expect to see you in Heaven. Rolling for Snickers, M&Ms, or something else. God knows you’ll never be forgotten by me.
This memory was posted to my first blog and originally shared on Tuesday, November 11, 2003.