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And Life Went On (standard:humor, 3189 words)
Author: mackeyAdded: Sep 15 2000Views/Reads: 3264/1549Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Three teen-aged boys deal with their first separations from loved ones in this coming of age story.


by mackey 

(All copyrights reserved.  This story may be reproduced on
not-for-profit sites, provided permission is requested, and provided 
the author's name and e-mail address are displayed where and as shown.) 

My grandson and I stood and watched the big yellow moving van pull away
from the curb, his little buddy hanging out the passenger window and 
waving furiously through his tears at us.  Bobby, my grandson, sobbed 
deeply, seeing his best friend rolling quickly away and out of his 
life, the hearts of both boys breaking, each doubting that they would 
ever see the other again. 

When the van turned the corner and slipped out of sight, he threw his
heaving little body into my arms and poured forth his sorrow in huge, 
gulping cries.  I patted and comforted him.  Finally he looked up at 
me, and, through his tears, asked if I thought Jerry would still 
remember him next year. 

"Bobby," I said, "I'm sure of it.  As a matter of fact, I doubt if Jerry
will ever forget you, or if you'll ever forget him.  Real friends 
always remember."  And I thought about a time when, although I'd been 
older than Bobby was now, my feelings had been essentially the same. 

Sometimes it's hard to remember just how you came to know someone. I
can't remember when Ricky and I met, but I remember the exact day Woody 
first showed up at school, and, looking back, the merging of our lives 
and circumstances is quite amazing. 

My parents had divorced a year earlier, leaving me at home with my dad,
a mid-level manager in an oil field supply firm, which really only 
meant that his Ford LTD was the only one in town with pipe racks on the 
sides of it for delivering pipe to the oil field.  Nice car to take on 

Ricky's dad had been killed earlier in one of those Red Adair type oil
field fires, and he and his younger brother lived in what was left of 
an old oil field company house that had been moved to a mesquite and 
tumbleweed covered lot in the midst of other houses of the same ilk.  
They occasionally provided a little extra money for their mom, a 
weathered but still attractive waitress who moved from one local grease 
plate to the next. You don't want to know how a thirteen year old kid 
in West Texas in the sixties came up with extra money.  Rickey was,and 
remains, the consummate hustler. 

Woody arrived in a storm of pimples and insecurity. His dad sold Fords
at the local dealership, and they lived in a brick house, which 
qualified them for the local ari- stocracy.  Or so those of us who 
didn't, thought.  Anyway, his dad was hen-pecked, and his mom was 
crazy.  Literally. His sister was fat, and his little brother become 
the first queer to come out (no pun intended) of West Texas in four 
decades. Or at least the first we knew about.  But that story's for 
another day. 

So there we were, two of us with one parent, and one of us with two
parents who didn't equal one whole one. Ricky was tall and athletic.  I 
was short and hyperactive. Woody was medium and had pimples.  
Everywhere.  The boy was the Vesuvius of pimples, the Old Faithful of 
Ooze.  I guess he'd had time to get used to being ridiculed, because he 
handled the pressure that day with more aplomb and diplomacy than I'd 
ever seen in any eighth grader over any subject.  At the end of the 
first day, instead of having been labeled a pimple faced anal orifice 
and written off out of hand for any future social possibilities, he was 
considered "OK for someone with all those pimples."  That was a fine 
compliment if you read between the lines. 

We were outside the gym by the only tree on the Monahans Junior High (Go
Loboes!) campus during our lunch break.  It must have been spring, 
because I remember little green buds on the tree.  Woody was leaning on 
the tree, surrounded by the curious and the cruel, somewhat like the 

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