Loner artist makes good. Really good.

Do you recognize this man?

Prob'ly not. How about these?

Righto, characters from "Toy Story."

I went to high school with this man, John Lasseter.

He’s the creator of "Toy Story" and cofounder of Pixar Studios, a pioneer in computer animation. John's works and accolades read like a long menu at a Chinese restaurant and include "A Bug’s Life," "Cars," "Ratatouille," "Wall-E." A mere tip of the iceberg; a google will return plenty more.

I think of John every time an ad appears for "Toy Story." And lately that's a lot with the recent release of "Toy Story 3."

I remember him well from high school. He was very quiet, rarely surrounded by friends that I recall. In fact, I couldn't name one though I'm sure he had some.

And oh could he draw! No stick figures from him. His sketches wowed. The faces and characters he penciled were rich, lifelike, detailed. They had a quality of science fiction meets cartoon. In retrospect, they were the seeds of the characters on our screens today.

I've one vivid singlemost memory of John: sitting on a low beige wall of an outdoor corridor intently sketching in his pad as students buzzed by.

When I learned it was the John I knew behind "Toy Story," I wasn't surprised. Back then his sketches were so artistic and his giftedness so evident.

John had an older sister whom I also remember. They were so different, it's hard to believe they were of the same family! He was the quiet loner artistic one. She was a soc, a cheerleader for the senior varsity team, a part of the "in crowd," very popular. Can't remember whether it was she or another cheerleader in her circle who got pregnant. Back then a girl pregnant at 18 was news. Now it's not. Sad.

John's done well. He's on his path, doing what he was born to do, contributing and sharing his gifts with the world.

All that is good, all that is beautiful, all is as it should be. In it all, I still remember John as the loner kid sketching amazing cartoonish faces and characters in his pad in the corridor of our high school.

Good on ya, John, good on ya.

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