Sunday, July 17, 2005

My Life Story age 10-14

This is from last November when I said I would continue. Being that I am not busy with classes this summer, I'll have more time to catch up.

10-11 years old. Fuzzy memories, but I think I was in the 5th grade? A really obscure time. I remember starting major insecurites about myself. Kids can be so harsh with each other. We were pretty poor, so the clothes I wore were usually hand-me-downs from a relative or someone in our church. I recall just previous to this (4th grade) my dad quitting his job working for "the man" and starting a business with my mom: Used Car sales and Auto Upholstery work. Sounded like fun to them at the time since they both loved cars.

I remember my continued love for skateboarding and constantly eating anything bad for me. I started to get a little chubby at this time. I remember auditioning for the 5th grade talent show by lip-synching to the song "Born in East L.A." by Cheech and Chong. At the time, I had no idea what the term "racist" meant and saw no harm in the song whatsoever. The teacher had a smug look after our try-out and told us it was an offensive and racists song. I had no idea what she was talking about.

Still scared of girls, I had some frinds that were girls, but no "girl friends". I was so intimidated. Didn't do too well in school. Just went with the motions. Didn't know I was supposed to actually "remember" the stuff they tried to teach us. Bear and I continued to hang out. Bear actually got in trouble at school for having some pot. My loving/understanding parents still allowed me to hang out with him though. He claims it wasn't pot, but we all know it was :-). Raleigh (my skater friend) continued to hang out. He had a huge house, so it was always fun to go over there.

11-12 years old. 6th grade started. Pretty intimidating going into Jr. High as the low-man on the totem-poll. I recall many 8th graders that tried to intimidate us. The biggest threat was being "trashed" where they would lift you upside down and put you in a trash can. Never happened to me. In fact, some 8th graders would be-friend you. To us, they were HUGE adult-like creaturs. Pretty crazy.

I continued to get a little chubbier. I wasn't involved in anything athletic at all and avoided any kind of work-out if possible. I rode a lot of bikes though and my skating became less frequent (because I sucked and there wasn't a lot of concrete in the country where we lived). I recall learning how to drive a car and drove them consistently on my parents car-lot. They were always so trusting of me in that respect.

Another shocker in the 6th grade was seeing all the "couples" in the halls before school, during breaks, and after schools. As the bell would ring, you would see them all stop talking and just start sucking face as though the boy was heading off to war or something. I was jealous, but thoughts of "how does one learn how to kiss like that" ran through my head. It was crazy.

I also had a good taste of boy scouts. Good times. Got to do many-a-camping and working on merit badges. I had a great scoutmaster who worked us to advance like crazy. I think I went up like 3 ranks when I was 12 years old and garnered many merit badges.

I also started working for $$ on my dad's lot washing and detailing cars. I'd drive the car to the back of the lot where the detail stuff was. We'd wash the cars and vacume them. Dad would pay me like $3.00 an hour. It was a dope job and I was quite proud of it. I'd get my check, go cash it at the local store and blow it all there on candy, sandwiches, and soda (mostly Dr. Pepper).

I actually made a feeble attempt at the beginning of 7th grade to play on the flag FB team. I was cut (I REALLY sucked). They basically tested us out by having us hold the coaches couch cushons and hit each other. I didn't have any cleats and had no traction. Plus I was such a wuss anyway, pretty much everyone intimidated me, even if I was bigger than them.

12-13 years old. 7th grade was a little better. You felt a little more important at school. I had my own locker (didn't have to share) and we had a different class each period (in 6th grade you were assigned to one teacher and usually had 1 other period with another teacher that did either Math or Science).

Still had a lot of insecurites. It seemed like EVERYONE had a girlfriend and I didn't. The other issue I had was one day splashing on some cheap cologne (trying to attract the opposit sex) and a bunch of the kids on the buss making fun of me and telling me how much I stunk. From there on out, every day the same kids would make the same comments and have the most disgusted looks on their faces. I was horrified about getting on the bus. I hated it. If it wasn't too cold, I just started riding my bike to school instead of riding the bus. School was about 3 miles from my house, so it wasn't that bad. The thing that sucked the most was that most of those that were making fun of me, were very friendly to me in classes and even buddies with me, so long as they were'nt on the bus in that same group. I wasn't good at communication "break-through" skills, so I'd never ask them why they made fun of me. The crazy part is that I only wore the cologne ONCE on that fateful day, and ever since then they continued to say I stunk. Kids can be so harsh with one another.

I did make the 7th grade basketball team though. I was an "alternate" though. I actually think I made the team by default because I went to the try-outs. I SUCKED, then I went to see the cut list and the roster. I wasn't on either one. I went to the coach and told him I wasn't on it, and he said I was an alternate. An alternate is someone that practices with the team, but will likely never get in the game. Such was the case with me and my situation. I didn't understand things like "going to practice every time" and "commitment". Still, the coach put me in the game a couple of times, which was fun. I had NO IDEA what I was supposed to be doing. I just remember on the play "Iowa", that I was supposed to go down by the hoop (low post) and run back and forth. Well, one time I was running back and forth and some idiot on my team passed me the ball! I immediately just turned around to shoot it, but I was fouled. Being fouled was my biggest fear because I SUCKED at shooting the basketball from anywhere beyond 5 feet. I went to the foul line and air-balled both of my free throws. I put every effort into both of those shots (I even jumped, as though I was shooting a three pointer or something) and I still air-balled them. Still, I felt like I was a person of privilage for making the team.

I recall meeting another good friend (Nick Palleschie?). He was a very flamboyant and active person. He liked baseball and liked to perform for people and gain attention. He was in a lot of plays and when we were at our house, he liked to perform made-up skits on our video camera. He got me into Rap music and tried to teach me how to dance. We were really into MC Hammer and the like of that generation. We even went to a Hammer concert together (his mom dropped us off). Nick and I hung out a lot. Bear was still around quite a bit too and he would hang out with Nick and I. By this time Bear had started doing things like Smoking and Drinking, but was still a good and loyal friend. Homeboy always protected me and stood up to anyone.

I recall a lot of the older stoners (guys usually a couple of years older than me) always trying to pick on me or threaten me. If bear told them to back off, they would. It wasn't a threat from him because he was roughly the same size or just a tad bigger than me, but for some reason they respected him. The stoners were losers only looking to take out their aggression on someone younger/smaller. Pissed me off a lot.

My parents began to get out of the used car business after it being more of a money pit than anything. They bought a parking lot cleaning business and started to do very well. I worked for them on Friday and Saturday nights carrying a backpack blower on my back and blowing the debris onto the parking lot streets for the truck to pick up. They paid me $20 a night, which was PHAT money for me. As usual, I'd blow the money pretty quickly.

13-14 years old. Tried out for the 8th grade Basketball team (I was actually really into watching basketball and shooting hoops in my backyard, but I was SOOO uncoordinated, slow, and couldn't shoot). I failed to make the team and pretty much gave up on any kind of sport. I had a good paying job as well, working at the local gas station. I was paid like $4 an hour to change tires and take money. I was also left to tend the gas station on my own (I was 13 freaking years old, but had grown a bit and looked the part of the typical 16 year old gas station attendant). I usually worked this job on Friday night and Saturdays (so the owner could take a break) and had the tedious job of cleaning the entire shop, which was a wreck after the week of being away. I was there from morning to evening, but made some good money. It was a fun job.

I was really into cars and had my dream vision of having an S-10 blazer, 2wd and slamming it to the ground, some booming speakers. I was determined to have it by the time I was 16 (it never happened). I drove a lot to work and back. My house was only 1/2 mile away, so it wasn't too bad.

I also got into some trouble. Bear and a bunch of other hooligans came over to me and Nick and told us about this store that was a couple of miles away. He said he and a friend broke into it on a weekend at night and took a bunch of cigarettes and booze. He told me he wanted to do it again, but REALLY do some damage. I was enticed mostly because I was into collecting baseball and basketball cards and I REALLY wanted more. I told him I'd be in, so long as I got basketball and baseball cards out of it.

So, we had to formulate a plan. We decided to do a camp-out in my backyard. We lived on 3 acres, which were heavily wooded, so we knew we could be out camping as a group, pretend to go to sleep, then slip away. Russ (my brother), who didn't know the master plan, camped along with us as well. This changed things. I didn't want to leave him hanging and wondering where we all were. I told Bear that I was going to stay back with Russ in case he wakes up. I didn't want him going to my parents worried that we were all gone. Nick decided to stay behind too (I think he got scared). I insisted that Bear and the 3-4 others with him, get me baseball and basketball cards.

We went to sleep and Bear and the rest of the gang left. They returned about 3 hours later with BAGS full of stuff. Mostly beer, cigaretts, candy, chips, and the beloved basebal and basketball cards. They left more in some bushes close to the store, so we had to treck back to get it. In addition, I guess they left quite a destruction path at the store knocking over displays and racks. Totally unecessary.

Well, all was fine for a couple of weeks. There were reports of the robbery and questions were being asked. Eventually Bear and his friends had bragged about doing it and it pretty much set us in. The big tip though was Bears mom finding his drawer FULL of cigaretts. She shopped at the store and knew the owners well (as did my parents and myself; I had actually done some light work around their store once). Bears mom immediately asked him if he did it. He confessed and the rest is history. I recall it getting around school and Bear being picked up by the police. I knew I was in for it. I recall riding my bike home and seeing a sherrif car in our driveway. I rode away and came back later. My grandpa was there and said the sherrif was with some of my friends and they went out in the back yard. My buddies had ditched some of the stuff on our property, so they were likely gathering it.

My dad came home with the most upset look on his face. My dad would never lay a hand on me (that was my mom's doing most of the time) but to see the upset look on his face, killed me inside. I never wanted to disappoint him. He worked so hard his whole life and he struggled most of the time to provide a stable income for the family in which I know weighed on him heavily. He tried so hard to show as much love and respect for his family and here I was doing something so stupid. I was frozen silent.

My dad drove me to the store to face the people I robbed. They knew me. I knew them. It was the most horrible feeling in the world. My friends were being questioned one at a time in the back of the store (by the sherrif). I could hear them laughing and it sounded like they were having a good time. I was shocked. I Couldn't believe how they were acting! My dad marched me up to the store owner and made me apologize to both of them. I couldn't look at the man in the face. He was very upset, pulled me into another room and wanted to talk to me. He gave me the biggest guilt-trip grilling I've ever had. He could not believe I was involved in this. He was hurt. I started to cry.

Then the worst came. The sherrif said it was my turn to talk to him. He took me to the back of the room, frisked me, handcuffed me and made me sit on a milk carton. He told me to tell the whole story of what I knew. The moment those handcuffs came around my wrists, a waterfall of tears came down my face and they lasted the rest of the day. I felt as low as one could feel. I told him everything. I told him that Russ wasn't at fault. He didn't know what was going on. The poor guy was being dragged into this and just going along with everything. He was a couple of years younger than everyone else and had no idea how serious this all was once he learned (he eventually found out before we were caught). I'm sure it was very hard for my dad to see me on that carton, crying my heart out and confessing. It was probably one of the best things that ever happened to my teenage life.

Anyway, I ended up getting released, had to pay restitution (with my own money earned over the summer) and had to do 40 hrs of community service. That stuff SUCKED, but was indeed deserved.

I rebounded from that life. I still be-friended Bear from time to time and hung with Nick a lot as well. I made a lot of decisions to be a better person and just focus on my work at the gas station and work with my dad at his lot. The crazy thing was that my parents NEVER punished me. They were upset, but once it was over they said they were not going to ground me because they felt it would do no good. I was eternally greatful.

8th grade graduation came up. I was the pimp-dog that day. Wore my black Z-cavaricci pants, Green w/ black print rayon shirt, black skinny tie and a silver necklace over the top of the tie. I thought I was mackin' and smooth.

So summer came and I wasn't doing much other than working and swimming at our community pool. The head Football coach at the high school I was going to be going to, called our house asking for me. I was shocked that the HEAD COACH of a high school would call me, a puny soon-to-be freshman. He told me that he was the head coach and he was looking to have kids come out and play football on the freshman team. I was impressed that he would call ME of all people, to come play football. I had not a CLUE about football, other than I hated throwing that stupid ball and people hit each other. I played one season of little league when I was like 9 years old, but I didn't know what I was doing. I just hit the dude on the other side of the line and knew my position name was "guard". I had figured that the head coach had been scouting me out somehow. Maybe he saw me and was impressed for some reason and wanted to make sure I came out? Like I was some diamond in the rough? "WOW!" I was thinking.

So, I decided to go out for football. However, a little reality hit when I showed up for summer camp that ran through the month of June. Almost every soon to be 9th grade boy was there. A little history on the Head Coach. It was his first year as the HC and he was looking at re-building a program that had been struggling. He had to get a completely new staff and wanted to start at the bottom with the new kids, get them used to the system, then work them up to seasoned vets by the time they were Jr's and Sr's. In the past the freshmen numbers had been low in participation. He determined to bring them up. He individually called every 8th grade boy from all 3 Jr high schools that were feeding his school. I didn't find this out until years later when I was a coach on his staff.

So, I show up and the usual faces of kids that beat me out the 2 years ago to make the flag team, were there. I was let-down, but the our coach gave us encouragement. He told us that as long as we were there every day and worked hard, we would be on the team. There were no cuts. I was stoked and figured I'd stick with it.

Next up: The high school years: Freshman Year....

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