Junior High coalesces the scattered streams of elementary school to a single river meandering toward the future. Our school served the township, collecting those of us just outside the city and the farm kids from far away. On the first day of school a couple lockers down from me was Fred B. In Junior High where most of the ninth graders have more hair on their chins than seventh graders on their whole body, we were forced to make friends quickly. Fear drove us. Fred and I became friends. I think I still posses the 1/2 of a dollar bill we split, the first to make the NBA to claim the huge amount of one hundred dollars. It’s true, boys dream of playing in the NBA, even when they are skinny, and small, wear glasses and aren’t really very good.

Fred sometimes stayed after school and we played and had dinner at my house. I never visited him at his foster parent’s place. It was way way out, and we were nearer to town. Fred and I discovered and shared barbarian adventures with swords and beautiful women through novels, like Robert E. Howard with his Bran Mak Morn the king of the Picts in Worms of the Earth, or Conan the Barbarian. Once Fred told me he couldn’t return the latest Conan book I had lent him. Someone had opened his locker and torn the book to shreds after scribbling profanities all over it.

I didn’t understand then, and I still don’t. What cowardice operates that way? I suppose that is the way of hate, transposing heroic with wretched.

At the end of the year his foster parents sent Fred to one of the city schools where he wouldn’t be so different and alone. We lost contact, and when I saw Fred in high school some years later at a football game, he was surrounded by friends and didn’t recognize me. A lot of water flows under the bridge between Junior High and Senior High.

May you judge others by their character, and be treated the same.


21 Comments on “rivers”

  1. russtowne says:

    This post reminded me once again that you are a talented writer. I enjoyed every word of your post. Thank you, Bill. It transportd me back to my own bittersweet school days and friends who came and went along the way.


  2. Such a wonderful story and also the message that came with it.
    Brought back memories from my days at school, childhood friends and vows of never-ending friendships. Very genuine ones that could never accept what the rivers of time and distance can do.

  3. mindfuldiary says:

    I really enjoy your stories! Always great message, through humor. Still smiling about the hair part. So funny! 😀

  4. Another great story Bill. It seems you really understood friendship and the importance of values at a way younger age than I did.

  5. Terri says:

    Thanks, I’ll honor and credit who wrote them, always. Just visited bwfiction, subscribed there too now.

    • billgncs says:

      thanks — do you have a site?

      I really appreciate your kind words

      • Terri says:

        Thank you for asking. No, I don’t have a site/blog at this time, but plan to as soon as some other things are worked out. There is one published story I wrote over at Millivers Travels. Milli asked me to be a guest blogger and write a story about a Christmas happening in her staff writers home towns. I was honored to be among published folks. It was a lot of fun too. You could know a little about me by reading the story and comments.


        • billgncs says:

          thanks — I will stop by.

        • billgncs says:

          wow — I enjoyed that. With all your travels, I look forward to reading about your adventures. Do you take your cats as well? You are only a wordpress account away. — bw

          • Terri says:

            Thank you so much for the encouragement, coming from you is huge. Yes, actually my sky watching buddy/kitty and I will be going out just outside of town to watch the peak Leonid Meteor Shower this weekend! But no, mostly kitties stay home when I travel. Road trip planned for tomorrow with a photo journal story dying to be written. Will have to get a blog sometime to share stories.
            Enjoyed more time on your sites, reading last night. Thanks again, this conversation means a lot to me. Very encouraging.

  6. Terri says:

    What a powerful story. I love the first line and the last one. May I have your permission to write both of them down and tape it up above my kitchen sink? That is where I put things that inspire me and things I want to remember, think about. I’ll include your name and title of this post as I’ll likely want to reread it. Your story makes me remember what junior high was like and wondering about people I knew then. Thank you so much. I’m enjoying the journey back to those days in memory.

    My academic studies were in geology. I love the scattered streams (immature geologically speaking) going to meandering (mature) metaphor. Really neat!

    I’ve been subscribed and reading most of your posts for a month or so. Neat space you have created here. Thanks.

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