Writer and blogger Richard Rushfield posted a nice reflection on Gary Coleman pegged to their time together at the Crossroads School, the upscale and academically creative Santa Monica private school. It was during their high school years (Coleman arrived in 1984) and Rushfield says he could already see things were not going to go well for the TV star.
Of all the schools in the world, Crossroads was probably the one were Gary probably had the greatest chance of living anything resembling a normal life, given the liberalisness of the school meant that people generally didnt get beaten up for being short, etc and the school’s showbiz connections where every third parent was Barbara Streisand meant that he was not the spectacle he might have been elsewhere.
But that was not much of a chance...And it soon became clear that while he wanted very much, fairly desperately in fact, to enjoy some of the trappings due to a “normal kid” he was completely without any experience in how to behave with people his age.
Of all the bad hands people have been dealt in life, of the people who I have known up close, compared to the starving in Mongolia, Gary had as about a rotten combination as anything I’d seen. I won’t give the details, but there was very much a horrifying tragedy about his life, a desperation that I think at age 16, was too big for us his classmates to comprehend or take in.
Rushfield also writes that "As I grew older and watched now from afar, the reports his life get stranger and stranger, it became more clear how much what had happened in those days had cost him."