When I was in the middle of Year 3, my parents told me we were moving. I remember not really understanding what that meant at the time, only that the girl I had liked the year before told me that she was moving and then WHOOSH, I never saw her again. When I saw my parents packing up the house in moving boxes, I finally put two and two together and realized that we were leaving the house I’d grown up in (or partially grown up in at least) to go some place else. My dad and I would drive the 20 minutes or so across the county to start working on the house before we moved in, building shelves in the garage and doing some minor yard work and such. My parents told me it was for my own good and for the good of the family. The school district we had lived in before was quite pitiful to put it lightly. Some teachers had suggested we move to another district since they felt I would benefit from a Horizons program and more challenging classes. Plus I think the move had something to do with the fact that Clay was on the verge of shooting out of my mom and we needed a bigger house.
So, right as Year 3 ended, we trekked all of our belongings to the next town over and began our new life in a new house in a new neighborhood in a new town. I was quite angry with the move, promising that I would run away the first at the first chance I got, but every time I only made it down to the road before giving up and trying to set camp under the mailbox. I didn’t want to leave my old friends behind and as much as my parents promised that I’d see them all often, I regrettably had the last laugh by proving them right that I would rarely, if ever, see them again. Later this month I’ll be writing something eerily similar to this about the events that led up to my friendship with Chong, but that was a more after-school, get into trouble in the neighborhood type friendship that we had. This post is about my first friend I made at school. This post is about Jeremy.
To this day, I remember more about Year 4 than I do about Year 5 and 6 combined. Year 4 was a roller coaster of emotions for me. The first few weeks I was in way over my head. At my previous school, division and cursive wasn’t taught until Year 4, but at the new school I was attending, both had been taught already in Year 3. I had no friends whatsoever, I was struggling in all my subjects, and for as nice as my teacher was, I just didn’t really like her that much for some reason that I still can’t explain. So, you can understand why I was thrilled to have found a guy that was nice to me when I finally did around the third week of classes. His name was Josh and he was one of the roughest and stupidest kids in the class. He found more pleasure in skipping class or causing trouble than he did in learning, but I didn’t care because I had finally made a friend. Sort of.
But within a few days of meeting Josh, a kid came up to me on the playground during recess. He very quietly asked if I wanted to come play foursquare with him and being the new kid, I was happy to accept any friendly invitations. He introduced himself as Jeremy and I followed him over to the blacktop and quickly learned the rules to this foreign game I’d never played before. The bell rang only a few minutes later and as we filed back into the classroom, I ran up to talk to Jeremy and thank him for letting me play with him. He said no problem and that I should come play with them again the next day instead of playing with Josh since he was nothing but trouble. 15 years later, I’m still friends with the group of guys Jeremy introduced me to that fateful afternoon.
In 5th grade, Jeremy and I were placed in the same class again. We somehow conned our teacher into thinking we were the most trustworthy kids in the class, so she selected us to run the candy business. Basically, what it meant was that Jeremy and I were allowed to leave class 10 minutes early to take candy out to recess to sell for a few minutes each day. Then, after recess, we were allowed to sit in the back closet and “restock” the candy. Of course, we just sat back there and took as much time as humanly possible to move a Snickers bar from one box to the next just so we could skip math every day. But I’ll never forget one day in particular because it was the make or break point in our friendship. We were outside setting up and I decided that I wanted a Reeses’ Cup. But of course, I didn’t want to actually have to PAY for it, so I just grabbed one from the box and started chowing down. Jeremy’s head snapped over towards me and quickly asked me, “Hey, you didn’t pay for that!!” I didn’t really know what to do, so I just reached down into the money jar, picked up a handful of change, and then just dropped it straight back down into the jar. Jeremy’s eyes narrowed for a few seconds, then slowly a grin spread over his face and said, “That’s more like it.” From that day on, every time one of us would take a candy bar, we would make sure we grabbed some money out of the jar and “pay for it.” But more importantly, it was from that day on that I knew I’d always have a partner in crime if I ever needed one.
There was New Years at the Holiday Inn when we were all about 16 or so. That to this day is still the best New Years I’ve ever had, but I can’t go too much into detail because certain people have threatened me with bodily harm if I reveal too much. Apparently I remember far too much incriminating evidence against people that occurred that night! But there was Dave getting drunk off root beer, us stealing the pool sticks, and Jeremy’s ingenious idea to clear our throats so that we wouldn’t make too much noise when we broke the balls. And of course, I don’t think any of us from that night will be able to forget Mary Poppins and her sidekicks, but I think I’ll just leave it there.
And let me just thank whoever bought the Pimp Mobile off him, because that was the biggest heap of rubbish ever to have four wheels stuck on it. Of course, Jeremy just took a little Hawaiian hula doll and stuck it in the dashboard and called it his pimp ride. I think I saw a grand total of one female in that car. Ever. And that was only because the walk back to her house would have taken her three days. Poor girl.
But Jeremy, this is for you bro. Thank you for always being there by my side and I can only hope I’ve been as good a friend to you as you have been to me. I hope you have many, many, many happy and successful years down the road with Katie by your side. You deserve it mate.