My Beloved Daughter,
Being the socially outgoing person that you are, you don’t truly understand what living in a place without friends feels like. During my early elementary years, we still lived in Van Buren. Eight miles outside of the city limit, no children my age were in the area until I was in the second grade. I did have a couple of “friends” at school (looking back on how they really treated me, I use the term loosely). A kid who was antagonistic toward me at school moved out to our area when I was in the second grade. He would come down and hang out after school and on weekends but still treat me like dirt when we were in school.
Not a real friend.
When we moved to Campbell, I met real friends. I met Ernest, who would take up for your pacifistic father when he was bullied. I met Billy, who was being raised by his single father and grandparents and who once told your Grandma Pat that he wished she were his mother, too. I met Tony (that was his middle name; his first name was Richard), who had to suffer through being your cousin, Sarah’s first crush. I met Ryan, who loved G.I. Joe and had an older brother, Jamie, who did awesome things, like host a Halloween party, to entertain his brother and friends. I met David and Daniel, twin brothers who were each other’s best friends.
Of course, at this time, I met your Uncle Bobby. Of all of the friends that I met at this time, he was the one with whom I kept in mostly constant contact over the years. Of all of the names on this list, he was the first of them that you met. We watched each other grow up and, knowing that he was abused by his mother, your Grandma Pat tried her best to give him a place to go where he could be safe, at least for a little while. As of this writing, he works as a counselor at an addiction shelter and is married to your Aunt Brandy. The two have a daughter named Madison and they all live in Springfield, MO.
I have, due to the wonder of Facebook, managed to get back in touch with the other Campbell friends on this list. While Ernest isn’t on there, his wife, Maggie, has been. Through her, I know that he works as a heating and cooling repairman in Tennessee. He spent time in the Army after high school, as well.
Billy (now Bill) grew up to pastor a Baptist Church in Arkansas. From what I understand, he got saved in college.
Tony (now Rik) works as a welder in Campbell and is married to a teacher. He loves guns as much as your Uncle Donald.
Ryan lives in Poplar Bluff and is in a band. His brother founded a comic book company and I see him every time we go to the Cape Comic-con.
I only recently got back in touch with Daniel, one of the twins. He’s an over the road truck driver and is married with children. Sadly, his brother, David, died of a brain tumor a few years back and I regret not having been able to say goodbye. Book Six of the Adventure Chronicles will be dedicated to him.
These were my childhood friends. They made my younger years more interesting, to be sure. As this blog goes on, I’ll discuss my high school friends, as well.