Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Everyone I Needed To Meet, I Met In ...

Some more fun topics for Mama Kat's Writer's Challenge this week!
1.) How did you meet your best friend?
(inspired by Kati from Country Girl, City Life)

2.) What are you feeling guilty about? or Memories of your childhood home.
(inspired by Josie from Sleep Is For The Weak)

3.) Tell why you are ecstatic "The one that got away" got away.
(inspired via twitter by Jay from Halftime Lessons)

4.) Have you found your bliss? What path did you take to get there? or are you still searching)
(inspired by Carma from Carma Sez)

5.) Create a conversation between one of these three couples:
(inspired by myself)

Since I have a bit more time this week, let's take a stab at all five topics.

#1 - How I met my best friend applies to most of my friends. The candidates for best friend are all people I met in school - be it grade school, junior high, high school, or college. Given that school is also how I met L, it seems that everyone in my life must have some connection with school.  I'll limit my description to my friend Tom.

Tom and I first met in grade school via wrestling and football. He attended a different grade school and so his team was one of the rivals of my team. In junior high school, we drifted into a state of apathetic "non-entity-ship". It was strange because I was also developing a respect for him. We'd have discussions on the team bus back from matches and he seemed to have a more interesting outlook on life than most ne'er-do-wells. (Which even Tom would admit described him at the time.) 

Tom and I went from apathy to dislike to outright hatred over the course of high school. I attribute much of that to the effects of Tom's growing alcohol addiction. Of course I didn't have a clue about the alcoholism at the time. The relationship reached its nadir when I almost killed him one day our sophomore year.

Tom and some friends were teasing and riding me all through biology class that day. We we seated alphabetically by last name and they were behind me. We didn't get along well before this day, but it was more the normal nerd / alcohol crowd disjunct than anything personal. It takes a lot to make me mad, but this day they succeeded. When the bell ending the class rang, I was determined to have a word with all three of them. Unfortunately, I had Tom by one arm when the other two decided to try to get around me and out of the room. Without even thinking about it, I tossed Tom across the room as I reached to stop the other two. Even more unfortunately, there was nothing to slow Tom down as he flew through the air, broke the glass, and proceeded out of the second story window. I was immediately sorry. Tom went to the hospital and got some stitches, but thankfully had nothing broken. Tom and I were dedicated enemies from that point on, at least on Tom's part. I just felt bad that I had let anything make me lose control like that. It was interesting that I had enough of a halo (top of class, football player, national merit scholar, vice president of the Colorado Wyoming Junior Academy of Science, etc.) that nary a word was ever said by the school administration about the whole affair. Which just made me feel even guiltier.

Fast forward about 20 years. L and I were at a New Year's Eve party shortly after moving back here from LA. Tom was there as the designated driver for a different group. So Tom and I were sitting at the bar sipping club soda and began to talk. I told Tom how bad I still felt about the incident from long ago. He laughed and said not to feel bad, he deserved that and more. We forgave each other and talked. Tom pointed out that he had hit bottom and had already been clean and sober for 7 years at that time. To make a long story short we become friends over the next year and have remained so now more than 15 years later. When Tom's son wasn't going to attend college, it was me that convinced him he could and should do it. When my son needed to live on his own before gong off to college early, it was Tom's basement he lived in. Tom and I are friends. Sometimes enemies can become friends, and high school enemies have the advantage of sharing a very formative time in their lives.

#2 - I'm not feeling guilty about anything at the moment so that is a non-starter. The childhood home could refer to any of several abodes that I remember from roughly age 2 up. We lived in the basement of a house with big wagon wheels for a fence in my earliest memories. The wheels fascinated me and were painted white and green. Although the house still stands, the wagon wheels are long gone now.  The first house all our own was a small stucco house with a paned picture window that overlooked a dry-land wheat and sunflower field. I remember flying kites and playing with the neighbors. I also remember that the rural paper delivery guy kept trowing the paper through the picture window, breaking the glass panes all the time. That house still stands, but has been remodeled to the extent that is is almost unrecognizable. Then just before kindergarten, we moved to a small town in Nebraska. But that is a story for another time. (If you are interested, here is the story of my first day of school in the small Nebraska town.)

#3 - I'm not sure that I really have one who got away. I was lucky and got the one I wanted when I me L in high school. I suppose the closest to the one who got away would be a young lady named Loretta who went by the nickname Lori or (when she wasn't in the room) Luscious. I met her at a summer science institute in my junior year of high school. She lived in Denver, and we carried on a {*gasp*} snail mail correspondence for about a year. I only saw her once more after that summer, and that was when I was in Denver with another friend from the science institute and we dropped by her house to say hi. I think she was trying to impress us when she answered the door in her cheerleader uniform. {*grin/2*}

Why am I thankful that Luscious got away? Let me count the ways:
  1. She was only four feet tall. I am 6'5". Let's just say the chiropractor's bills would have been stupendous.
  2. She was always correcting my Latin declensions in the post scripts of our correspondence.
  3. And last but not least, she went stark raving bonkers. The last time we talked was a phone call while I was in graduate school (and already married to L) in which she was undergoing a psychiatric schism in the telephone booth at a truck stop. She had somehow found me via her mother (who was a Bell Telephone operator) and talked for several hours. Then she abruptly said she had to go and that was the last time I ever heard from her.

#4 - I don't think anyone ever truly finds their bliss. The very act of finding bliss leads to a redefinition of what bliss is. Trust me on this one. Bliss is a lot like quantum mechanics - when you think you understand is when you are most likely to be wrong.

#5 - Couple conversations.

She: Just because you are 7 feet tall, weight 400 pounds, and are built like a brick outhouse doesn't mean you can stare at my butt! My boyfriend will pound you to a pulp!

He: <silence>.

He: I tell you there was a sprinkler head right here yesterday!

She: I don't see one.

He: But there was! I think the neighbors stole it last night.

She: Do I need to call your shrink again?

She: What do you think you're doing?

He: What do you think I'm doing?

She: I have too much to do at work to fool around. Stop it!

He: Fool around? I was just licking off the grape jelly junior smudged on your neck before you left for work!


  1. Licking off the grape jelly? LOL

    I have to admit that I'm really surprised you didn't get in trouble for throwing Tom out the second story window. It's kind of cool how the friendship cycled back around.

  2. Great posts! I so love that you are great friends with your former enemy. That story, with a little extra drama and girls, would make a great teen movie.

  3. You wrote so well about all topics : )

    I am glad the one that got away, got away! She sounds a little crazy! I haven't seen a telephone booth in a while.

  4. That's an amazing story about Tom. I'm glad you were able to make amends and have a new found relationship with him

  5. grape jelly ha ha ha
    seriously that's great

    the buzz,

  6. Great story about your friend Tom. It just goes to show that a time can heal all wounds.

  7. I was so interested in your story about Tom. Amazing that a friendship can survive all that and all that time!


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