For Curtis

Last night I decided to Google my old friend Curtis Safford. He was my high school boyfriend’s best friend. The three of us hung out together quite a bit. We’d go to the movies, soccer games at the Tacoma Dome, baseball games at Cheney Stadium, and Young Life events. He was always cheerful and smiling and sweet and gave the kind of hug that said he meant it. I never got any sense of resentment at the place I was taking in his friend’s life. He was a brainy guy who went on after high school to attend USC where he stayed on to work in their computer services department.

I think it was 1998 when I first decided to look him up. This was the pre-google days so I found him via Yahoo. I found an address for him at USC and pinged him to see if I had the right guy. It turns out he’d gotten into ballroom dancing, a mental image I could hardly grasp as he’d been so shy in school and never danced where any of us ever saw him! We chatted by phone and exchanged current photos and other life updates. It seems he’d had my high school Senior picture in his wallet all that time, which I thought was kind of wacky but sweet. Then, we fell out of touch again for a couple of years. The next time we got in touch, I’d moved to Oregon, and he’d gotten engaged to a girl from somewhere in the state. They got married and about a year and half ago had a little boy. We always talked about meeting up for dinner if either of us ever ended up in each other’s neck of the woods.

I’m not sure what got me thinking about him last night. Maybe it’s because I work with a bunch of Beaver fans who were really happy that they beat USC last weekend. In any case, I discovered that Curtis died this past June from cancer. It sounds like he went relatively quickly and peacefully in the end. I’ve been sitting here at my desk sorting through my memories of him all morning. I feel sadness and regret that we never did get around to seeing each other again. Words seem inadequate right now but I know that his big smile, goofy laugh, and kind heart will live on in my memory always. Goodbye my friend.



  1. Rob E Said:

    Wow… I just googled his name myself while looking for a news story about his sister Heidi. Curtis’ name brought me to your blog.
    I was getting a sinking feeling about halfway through this blog. I thought it was a nice way of breaking bad news.

    Curtis and I weren’t really friends, I’d call it more like quasi-friends. We talked a few times at school, and we were locker partners in junior high, 9th grade I believe, outside Mr. Reagan’s class.
    He joined the football team that year. I thought it odd, a scrawny, geeky looking farm boy like him wanting to be a jock. But it worked for him. OK, I know his father’s a minister, but when they first moved here he reminded me of a farm boy. Sort of gave the rest of us geeks hope.

    Funny, the things people remember. I remember I bought shelves that year for our locker. We had to share that locker and we had a lot of junk in it. I would almost always be late to classes, having to sort through all of our stuff in the locker to find the one book I needed wasn’t helping. So, I put in the new locker shelving unit that I got from Toys R’ Us. Later that day I asked him “did you see what I did to the locker.” He gave me a strange look and said “You did that?!?!?”
    I didn’t realize that the cheerleaders had gone and put up “pep” posters on all of the football player’s lockers. This is what he thought I did. The poster was obviously made by a girl. I was rather embarresed later on when I told him “No, the shelves, I put in shelves so we won’t get our stuff mixed up anymore.” “I didn’t do the poster.”
    I was thinking that would have been tottally gay had I done the poster.

    I always thought he should change his last name to Cougars or Vikings and show some real school spirit (since we attended Curtis Jr/Senior High.)

    Right now I’m trying to figure out who you are, but I can’t seem to remember who his best friend was, let alone his best friend’s girlfriend.

    Well anyway, I’ve just realized that I have spent two hours typing up this short comment.

    RIP Curtis Safford, you were the best locker partner ever.

  2. technogrrrl Said:

    Thanks for sharing your memories of him. It was really nice. I went to a different High School, so I doubt you and I ever crossed paths.

  3. Christina Safford Said:

    Hello. Your posting was forwarded to me by a friend. I am Curtis’ widow, and that girl that he married from Oregon. Our son is now two! 😉 It was wonderful to read your posting. I would love to chat. (

  4. tdog Said:

    Hey Technogrrrl,

    Again another forward… This time from my mom… It is Curtis’ brother Tim. It has been over a year since my brother’s passing, and it doesn’t seem to get any easier. It is nice to hear someone out there is thinking of him, and remembering him. He was a pretty sweet and wonderful guy. Thanks for sharing the memories.


  5. Nate K Said:

    Hello All,

    A few days ago I was at the Apple Cup when I crossed paths with an old friend from high school. After a few minutes of catching up, he told me the news of another common friend we shared, Curtis. I was blown away and saddened by the news. My wife and I have a 13 month old and I couldn’t imagine your loss.

    I have very fond memories of Curtis. We played football together and had classess together too. Probably the best memory I have of Curtis was his big heart. This was displayed in his kindness and willingness to help others. I know this first-hand. During our junior year at Curtis (High School) I hurt my knee playing football. Well, for the next 4 months I was on crutches. Curtis, knowing it was difficult for me to carry my book bag, offered….no, insisted…on carrying it for me to the classes we shared. I will never forget that. And that was just one of many times I saw his kindness spread to the people around him.

    I know I am a little late, but I am very sorry to hear of his passing. My condolences to his family and friends. Since graduation, I had only seen Curtis once….at our 10 year class reunion. And I remember the ball room dancing! He was having a great time on the dance floor (and they were pretty much the only ones cuz they were stealing the show)….which must have been with his future wife, which I remember meeting as well.

    The world was a much better place with Curtis in it. I’m sure he’s busy upstairs now making it a better place to be as well….maybe dancing or helping someone out with their book bag. RIP Curtis….and may God Bless his wife, son and family.

    Nate Kepner
    Class 91′
    Curtis High School

  6. Darla Safford Said:

    For some unknown reason I decided to just “google” people today and found these comments. I was Curt’s step-mother since 1985, for 20+ years and could not have asked for a better son! Yes, he was always so sweet, so loving, so helpful and caring, there was never a time he made me feel like the “evil step-mother” he just loved me unconditionally as he did all people. His little boy will be 3 in June and looks just like his daddy did at that age. We still miss him, still shed tears for him, and look forward to the day we will be re-united with him. I just wanted to thank each of you for sharing your thoughts, memories and feelings, it was great to read them and they touched my heart!

  7. Brendan Bellina Said:

    I met Curtis when I started working at USC a little over five years ago. I regret that I could only work with him for a short while. He was a great guy and a joy to work with. He was enthusiastic and talented and friendly. Working here it is not uncommon for him to come to mind and today he did. I hope all his loved ones are well.

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