Photo courtesy of Brandi Marcrum.
Blaine Marcrum, far right, with his father Brent, mother Brandi and sister Braegan at Christmas. Blaine passed away unexpectedly in February.
Blaine Marcrum was always a little bit out of his time. But people loved him for it.
“He was the kind of kid that everything he was interested in was over our heads,” said Senna House, one of Blaine’s classmates and closest friends. “He loved old ’80s movies, ’80s music and dressed like he was from the ’80s.”
And his favorite film was the coming-of-age classic The Breakfast Club, a movie about a group of teens who were different but, by the end, came to respect each other.
“The day Blaine passed away, he was over at my house and we were talking about how they were releasing the movie again in theaters,” House said.
That day — Feb. 15, 2015, the day the Hoover High School freshman suddenly died at home— was the 30th anniversary of the film’s release.
The day after, when Senna and others went over to the Marcrum house, the family had the movie playing.
It’s something that’s stuck with Senna — and a lot of other people.
“We kind of think that the movie has a lot to do with what’s going on right now in our lives — all the different groups and cliques coming together, just like in the movie,” she said. “That’s been his legacy — he’s brought our class a lot closer.”
He did it when he was alive, she said.
“I can’t find the words to explain Blaine and how amazing he was. He was committed to Christ, and he loved everyone unconditionally. He was kind to everyone and funny,” Senna said.
Blaine’s mom, Brandi Marcrum, agreed.
“Friendship was big, big to him,” she said. “Whether it was someone he grew up with or someone he just met, if you were around and wanted to be around him, then he wanted to be around you.”
And Blaine loved making people laugh, Marcrum said. She’d noticed he spent time looking up jokes on the Internet and writing them down, but she didn’t know why until one of his friends told her later.
“He always had jokes ready so that he could lighten the mood if anyone was arguing,” Marcrum said. “He was always kind, and he didn’t like to see conflict. He kept you entertained. And he was accepting of everyone.”
Senna said Blaine is impacting people after his death in much the same way. To remember him, friends started Blaine’s Breakfast Club, a group that meets regularly to do the things Blaine loved to do, like watch old movies.
“It was originally designed as a way to keep Blaine’s mom in the loop so she didn’t feel distant from Blaine’s friends,” Senna said. “But doing all the things that he loved … so many people were coming to find refuge in it. And it turned into something so much greater than anyone could’ve imagined.”
It started with a handful of friends and a Facebook page, doing things like going to see the movie “Woodlawn,” which Blaine had planned to see when it came out.
And the more the breakfast club met, the more people came.
“He wasn’t an athlete, and he wasn’t a standout student by any means,” Marcrum said. “But after he passed, people I have never even met have told me what Blaine meant to them.”
She recalls one message she received through Blaine’s Facebook page from a schoolmate that said, “You were nice to me even when I wasn’t nice to you.”
That was Blaine, she said. And because of that, people often show up to the breakfast club who she has never met.
“It’s been very humbling,” Marcrum said.
She doesn’t want it to stop there.
“We’re wanting to do things now that are going to have meaning, something that can keep having an impact on people’s lives, like volunteering somewhere and helping out in the community,” Marcrum said. “We want to start putting something to it that’s fun but still honors the things that he likes.”
The group planned to donate toys to Toys for Tots at Christmas, Blaine’s favorite holiday, she said.
The breakfast club has been an important agent of healing for Marcrum, her husband Brent and daughter Braegan, who is two years younger than Blaine.
It has been for Senna and the rest of Blaine’s friends, too.
“It’s been part of our healing process,” said Senna, who says Blaine was like her brother. “At first it was like just this huge hole in everybody’s lives. There was no light. We all wondered why would this happen.”
But now there’s more light, more unity and for some, new faith.
“His legacy is huge — he’s affected so many people’s lives. So many people have found Christ,” Senna said. “It’s changed me for the better and changed us for the better.”