Fish: "It’s been a long 20 years but the wait was well worth it"

High school friends re-connect 20 years later in time for Valentine's Day

By Julianne Kuykendall | Feb 15, 2013
Courtesy of: Stephanie Rice Summey 20 YEARS LATER: High school buddies Brian Fish and Stephanie Rice Summey recently re-aquainted as a result of a Facebook posting recalling high school memories.

This Valentine’s Day, former high school buddies Stephanie Rice Summey and Brian Fish celebrated a totally random and unexpected, yet fun and special re-acquaintance Valentine’s Day – 20 years in the making.

Their story started way back when these two neighborhood kids attended what was then Beaverdam Elementary School together when Summey grew up in Beaverdam while Fish grew up across the way in the North Hominy community.

To him, she was the all-American girl next door.

“I thought Stephanie was always a sweetheart and I had been to school with her since kindergarten,” recalled Fish.

When Beaverdam Elementary closed, they both attended North Canton Elementary School, and then Canton Junior High (currently Canton Middle School) and Pisgah High School.

In high school, he sat right behind her in Mr. Pressley’s drafting class and talked and flirted and joked around with her, admiring her all the time although she didn’t know quite how much. “I remember I always rode the bus and he asked if he could take me home one day but I didn’t go because I was dating somebody else then,” said Summey. “I thought he was really cute in high school but I had no idea he had it bad for me.”

“I just always thought he was out of my league back then,” she added.

Fish recalled his version of that high school time. “I remember I aggravated her to death every day,” Fish said. “I kind of tried to go out with her but I guess the timing wasn’t right.”

In his high school yearbook, she wrote this note: “Brian, you are a very sweet guy. Stay sweet and stay out of trouble over the summer. Call me sometime. Love ya, Stephanie Rice.”

Summey didn’t realize it at the time, but her sweet, quick yearbook note would carry an air of finality over their friendship that would last for the next two decades of their adult lives. After high school, their lives took separate paths. Summey was married for 17 years while Fish was married for 16 years before they found out each other was single again.

Ironically, technological changes over 20 years would change the way these two previous high school drafting buddies would communicate. Back then, Summey shared her thoughts in handwritten notes passed back and forth in drafting class and in a handwritten yearbook signing. Twenty years later, she randomly re-connected with her high school friend through her laptop keyboard as she browsed the cyber-magic of Facebook social media.

Her high school friend Keresten Turner was thinking about long ago high school days one day and spontaneously posted a Facebook status recounting high school memories with these words: “Funny how your mind wanders…thinkin back on high school …bout pizza n ketchup…and the Russian tea…y’all remember that?”

After Summey commented on that status and mentioned Brian Fish’s name amidst her high school memories, her friend Turner decided to re-introduce her two newly single high school friends.

“When Keresten told me she had talked to Stephanie, I said, ‘Really? What’s she up to?’” said Fish. Suddenly, just a few days after uttering those simple words, his high school dream girl appeared back in his life.

Once they saw each other again two decades later, they said it was like 20 years had never passed.

“When I first saw her, it brought back a flashback of high school and I really didn’t think she had changed. It was pretty wild and kind of like a dream,” Fish said. “She has always been a sweetheart and I always liked her.”

As the two celebrated Valentine’s Day together, Summey said she was very happy to have him back in her life. “I felt like I needed to go home, and being with him makes me feel like I’m at home,” she expressed. 

“It’s funny how it all worked out, but I think it’s been a real good thing for both of us,” Fish said. 

“It’s been a long 20 years but the wait was well worth it,” he added.

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