Back in the Fifth Grade…

I have to give credit to FB when credit is due.  As much as I hate-to-love and love-to-hate the club, there is nothing better than being able to reacquaint oneself with people you haven’t seen in years.  The site being seven years old now and defining my years existing on it, it’s still in the early stages of its lifespan.  Therefore, it’s never too late to contact long lost friends.

So, I contacted Adam, a friend of mine from elementary school until middle school.  His family ended up moving and that’s that.  Now kids have it easy with the FB; if their friends move, they have a childproof method to keep in contact.  We, now in our late 20’s to early 30’s, had handwritten letters (that in itself, my friends, is a lost art).  Next, hopefully soon, we’ll have an opportunity to meet up and catch up, and preferably over a pint, or maybe two.

Back in the days at Split Rock Elementary, the two of us and Justin, were a trio to be reckoned with.  We spent our days advocating the FBI and clip-on-ties.  Adam definitely got me into local author Bruce Coville, which probably helped me ease into enjoying reading and writing.  We played video games; Adam and I had an unspoken competition, but he ended up beating Super Mario Brothers 2 before I could.  We all went to our birthday parties wherever they were to be held.  We would bring out the best and worst in one another, and our imaginations went wild.  This was especially true at recess at our Warners Elementary School Retreat.

Warners is a different kind of place.  I’m not hating on it by any means.  It’s just different.  My Great Aunt Nan lives out there.  We went to some church thing there for religious ed.  There are good memories associated with the area; however, the Split Rock kids spend half a school year there.  It was bad enough that I got the most wanted fifth grade teacher, Mr. Weed, because he played kickball at recess, and that same year he decided to move up to Camillus Middle to fill a sixth grade math teacher position.  The teacher we had was new:  Mr. Meaney.  Seriously?  My friends and I got a teacher with that last name.  On top of it, students were encouraged to look at the school; I believe we, also, got a orientation there.  However, Mr. Meaney did give his prospective students an opportunity to a meet-and-greet.

As it turned out, Mr. Meaney was the nicest {censored} guy in the world.  He, also, offered to play kickball at recess.

As I was saying, Warners had a creepy aura to it.  I remember standing in my Great Aunt’s driveway, itching to look over my shoulder.  When I had, focusing over at the other house, I saw a curtain move to hide someone or something.  A hand was there.  Secondly, I believe it was my Great Aunt who saw my deceased grandmother (her sister), standing in front of her.  Thirdly, let’s return to Warners Elementary School.

It was bad enough that Warners, when looking through the eyes of a child and then sharing the same opinion through the adult version of that said child, speaking specifically about myself growing up, appeared to be the rest stop that the van full of unsuspecting party-destined-high-school-graduates-to-be and looking to check off every slasher film stereotype in the book just so happens to pull off to.  Now what? Get back in the van, you fools!  It, also, didn’t help that the elementary school, our substitute home-away-from-home learning institution, compared delightfully to something out of the R.L. Stine Goosebumps series.  The school was musty, rusty, and rickety.  You needed a tetanus shot before entering.  The school probably is, today, a breeding ground for paranormal activity. It was as if everyone involved with the school one day got up in left… or better yet… disappeared…

The gymnasium was the creepiest.  The lighting was fit for a dungeon.  The stands were shoddy.  It just felt uncomfortable to be in there. Outside was as desolate.  The playground, also, made you question having all your shots.  However, the trees and environment surrounding the school… well, you felt like you were being watched.  I remember speaking with this one classmate of ours, who will go unnamed; one day he was giving me the synopsis for The Good Son with that Culkin kid and what’s-his-face-Frodo.

I know:  Elijah Wood.

The classmate will go unnamed, because he was creepy as hell, and I don’t know where he is lurking around today.  However, he got to see the R-rated movies for some reason, and he’d tell me about them. 

Aside looking over your shoulder, paying no mind to those we do not speak of and the phantom behind the curtain, the three of us would entertain ourselves to extent.  I don’t know how Adam and I had gotten involved with the drawings, but it was how we rolled, and it caught on with a a few others.  We would design our future pads, fully equipped with a gigantic trampoline, basketball court, indoor pool, and many other gadgets our imagination could have come up with.  Why a trampoline?  It would be the only way to get to the level holding the bed.  I don’t remember us installing bathrooms, which could impose a problem. Steve Jobs would have loved our thoughts, and I’m pretty certain we could have evolved into amateur architects. 

If I were to design it today, I would probably keep the indoor basketball court, but I would downsize to the hot tub.  I would have a barroom:  leather arm chairs, three taps, a stocked bar, a walk-in wine storage unit, and a fantastic stereo system.  A game room would be a necessity and in a different location than the barroom, holding a pool table and dart board and foosball table.  A 60-inch television would be a necessary to take up one wall, because the other walls would have framed signed jerseys and other sports memorabilia (Yankees stuff mostly). A theater room would be adjacent to the barroom, but to the opposite side of the game room; this would be decorated with classic movie posters.  A study with one wall with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, Gothic-inspired wood furnishings (including a wooden raven and busts of Twain, Poe, Kerouac, Dickinson, Christie, Shakespeare), a typewriter, and a fireplace, a marble chess/checker set, and four leather armchairs for those to relax in while embarking in discussion; cigar smoking and whiskey/scotch/whatever-your-poison would not be encouraged, but forced.  Each room would have a dedication, visibly positioned next to the door.  My father probably would own the study. 

What else am I forgetting?  Ah, bathrooms…

Stop. 

The original intent was to give a brief description, shooting out an idea or two.  As I began to ramble off the two ideas, I could not stop.  I’m stopping myself now, preventing myself from rambling on any further.

Then came the idea for a video game.  I remember coming across a cut-out lying upon the ground.  It was in the shape of what could have been the future spark, inspiring Halo and its Master Chief.  The piece of garbage that I picked up off the ground evolved into this character that would star in the video game I was drawing up, wasting precious kickball recess time.  Adam then got into it, and we successfully bounced ideas off each other.  As the world/map layout from Super Mario Brothers 3 inspired the path of our protagonist, it had a Mega Man game play to it.  Now that I think about it, the cut out had a Mega Man aura to it.  Especially the blaster as a weapon of choice.

I really wish I had kept onto those drawings, the bachelor pads and video game story boards.  They would be a blast to post and share.  Also, I did write stupid stories growing up.  I should have probably listened to myself, took myself seriously, and kept it going.  I preach writing today; however, there was that gap of give-or-take 15 years.  My mind wanders.  I just have to put the pen to paper, but actually submit it.

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