I went to a small private high school on 90% financial aid. It was the sort of school where everyone knows everyone else — my graduating class consisted of only 70 people, the largest in the school's history at the time. We've even had a couple of famous or semi-famous alumni — the guy who started e-Bay went to our school, as did Whitney Cummings (who was there the same time I was, actually — she's exactly as awful as you've imagined in your head).
Here's why I bring this up: in the small hours of last night/this morning, I saw that a former classmate posted something written by another former classmate that was faintly mind-blowing. It's about her family's fall from grace and what it means to be a rich kid who suddenly isn't rich any more.
Let's just say I had no idea. None whatsoever. For years, I've talked about how rich my high school was by using Christina's family as the instructive example — never by name, but when I say "some of my classmates' families owned private planes," I was thinking of her. It's not even that I necessarily agree with her basic thesis about The Wolf of Wall Street (I mean, I understand — it's obviously more personal for her than it would be for me, and her heart's clearly in the right place); I can't even begin to comment on whether she's right, so I'm not going to. I just couldn't believe I was reading it. I was never close with her, but I never disliked her either — we got along. I even went to her family's mansion (the only appropriate word) once to study for an exam with her and another classmate. She was about three or four levels out of my social class in high school, but while she could've been an ass to me because of it, she never was, not once. I thought of her as "a nice person who is also rich," and that's pretty much all I thought.
Reading this is not as out-of-body as when I found out a high school friend and his brother had both died in a car crash on the road InfectiousGirl and I take to get to her family's place every holiday (how could it be?), but it's still fairly jarring. This all happened literally right after we went to college — while I was failing to adjust to life in a coastal southern town, eating WAY too much fried food, and being generally miserable at a school I never should've gone to, she was dealing with this. I don't know why that's so striking to me, but it is.