My Beloved Daughter,
Strong, Arkansas, was a nice little town, situated about seventeen miles north of the border to Louisiana. It had an even smaller population that winter-time Van Buren. The junior high school, where I spent the last half of my eighth-grade year, was tiny. Everyone was friendly. Unlike the other schools that I had gone to, the cliques in this school weren’t hateful. Nobody treated me poorly. Nobody picked on me or put me down. Over all, it was a peaceful school.
And, yet, I was miserable. Yes, Campbell had bullies and mean kids. But I also had good friends there. I had kids I’d hang out with outside of school. We’d ride bikes together, play video games together, watch movies together . . ..
I didn’t have those kinds of friends in Southern Arkansas. The kids in school treated me well. Outside of school, nobody ever visited. I usually spent my time in my room, hand-writing my stories and playing my NES. The only person who was ever around was my cousin, Leon, who lived in nearby El Dorado. I saw him maybe once every other week or so. Your Uncle Greg drove a truck for Uncle Roger and lived in that finished sunroom in the house for a while, but he was ten years older than me and didn’t want to hang out with his kid brother, needless to say.
Two important things to my later life came into play while we were living there. First, I watched a horror movie (Witchboard) that I had recorded when we were still living in Campbell. I hadn’t figured out how to program it to stop at a certain time and it recorded the movie that came on after it. That movie, American Ninja 2, caught my attention and I watched it over and over. I visited the two video rental places in town and rented every ninja movie that I could find. I was obsessed. And, as you can tell from my ADVENTURE CHRONICLES series, that obsession hasn’t faded in the last nearly thirty years.
The second—and much more important thing—was that your Grandpa Chuck got hurt again. He had ridden to Baton Rouge, LA, to keep your Uncle Ronald company while he made a delivery for Uncle Roger. While at that warehouse in Louisiana, your Grandpa was helping to unload boxes and didn’t realize that Uncle Ronald was backing up in a forklift.
Yep. Your Grandpa Chuck got run over by a forklift. With his emphysema, he was so short of breath while moving those boxes, the beeping of the reverse sound from the forklift didn’t register in his head. His leg was broken in seven places.
Within a month of us living in Arkansas, Grandpa Chuck was on Workman’s Comp. He spent the next several months healing up. Afterward, it was decided that your Grandpa was going to have to file for Disability.
The Workman’s Compensation continued as we moved back to Van Buren. Since we owned the land there, it was necessary to move there in order to save money.
We lived in Southern Arkansas from March of 1989 until September of 1989.