Party Line

There was a time in my childhood that was very bad. From mid 1980 to the end of 1985, my family went through a very dark period that I choose not to think about for the most part now that I am grown. Without going into the details, I will simply say that my mother was married to a very unstable person who I now refer to as the monster. And while this blog is not bout him, or the egregious things he did to me and my family, I will tell you that hate is a very strong word filled with overpowering emotions. And I hate that man.

Those were the days before my Dad, before my kids Poppa. When he came into our lives and married my mother, everything got better and better. He was a real man, a real father, and offered us stability that we had never experienced before. But the dark years do have a story, one that I may tell in detail someday. This blog is about a very small part of those times.

In those 5 and a half years we moved. A lot. I spent kindergarten and part  first grade in one school district, then on to another through the second, yet another for the next two, and still another for grades 5-7. I was always the new kid in school. It was awkward, and I wasn't exactly the Mr. Personality back then as I am called today. It was difficult to fit in, to make friends, and find acceptance. And it seemed as though each time I was almost there, we moved again and I was back to square one.

I never remember having a real friend before the fifth grade. Sure, there was Joey Deater, whose mother was my mom's best friend before she married the monster. But even they faded away in the dark years. I remember a few kids from Sardinia Elementary, one kid who bullied me until I opened a can of whoop ass on him at Struble Intermediate, and even a kindergarten crush as Marr Primary. But I cannot remember their names at all. I cannot remember any friends before I got to Lynchburg when I was in fifth grade.

My first day I remember how small the school was. I had just moved in from the inner city, and coming to a farming community was something of a shock to the system. I prepared myself for the fat kid, geek jokes that were standard at any new school. And they came as expected. One of my first confrontations was on the playground with a kid named Brian Lynch. And while I cannot remember if it came to blows or not, I remember that after it was over he became my best friend. We played four square together on the play ground, becoming an unstoppable duo. We became quite the little school yard casanovas, romancing the likes of Tonya Croy, Tonya Majewski, Diane Short, and Missy Walker with our kick ball prowess. And we chased after the girl we both had a crush on, Dawn Bailey.

 He was the first friend I ever talked on the phone with, as we planned to make underground tunnels from his house to mine. Of course, we had a party line and occasionally we could eavesdrop on someone else chatting away while we were on the phone. Several times we actually got into arguments with the other people because we couldn't hear each other. Today, that idea seems so out of this cell phone world that my kids would never believe it. But back then, it was pure entertainment.

Brian Lynch messaged me on facebook last week. Married with 4 kids and a couple grandkids, he still lives in the Burg. It was good to talk to him and catch up, as he is serving his time as a defense contractor in Kabul, Afghanistan. He told me that talking to his family back home, they often get interrupted, just like our old party line days. It was good to have a laugh about those times, when so many bad memories are affiliated with Lynchburg now.

My sons have friends they have made over the years in school. They have always gone to Gahanna, even though the older two had to change elementary schools. It is important to me that they never have that new kid feeling, and that they have the stability of the same home in the same schools as they grow. I am fighting Angel even now to make sure that happens. She doesn't think it is a big deal for them to move away. But she was never the new kid either.

It was good to talk to my old friend Brian. I hope we have a chance to get together for lunch when he gets back as we planned. Either way, my friendship with him was a bright spot during a very dark time, and I am glad that he chose to make friends with the new kid, even if it was after a bit of hazing.

Day # 604. I am blessed with some truly great friends now in my life. Nice to be reminded of my first best friend. It is good to be me.

Have a great day everyone....................


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