The iced tea is flowing, and the women of Parsons High School’s class of 1969 are on a roll.
A handful of them are circled up at a table in the increasingly crowded fellowship hall of St. John’s Episcopal Church, where yearbooks from 50 years ago are spread out at the front of the room and laughter from old stories grows louder amid the white cinder block walls and green-and-yellow linoleum-tiled floor. One of the women at the table has purple hair — not the subtle tint of elderly ladies’ salon rinses but the declarative violet in vogue among queer kids.
All of these women have clear recollections of a classmate who got the hell out of Kansas as soon as he could and went on to change the world.
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