December 2, 1996 Monday
As I have built this journal I have kept a careful index of which pages everyone appears on (for easy future reference). Here are the Top 12 most-discussed people, by page mentions (I knew you’d love it).
1. Hoke Simmonds 45
2. Emma Reed 22
3. Louise Carlson (Mom) 20
4. Will Davies 18
5. Nicole Carlson 16
5. Sidney Walls 16
7. Ainsley Lagerstein 14
7. Henry Carlson (Dad) 14
9. Lauren Wales 13
10. Fred Mavetz 11
11. Holly Andrews 10
11. Willa Hanks 10
In all honesty, some of those names surprise me that they are so high on the list. In the following segment I have written about the people above to try to shed more light on them, beyond their passing references, on why they have been written about to much.
1. Hoke Simmonds: It is a given that Hoke is far and away the most written about person in my journal. We have known each other as I long as each can remember. I can clearly recall laying next to him during afternoon nap times at our babysitter’s. We must have been three years old, laying on the floor next to each other in the small TV room. Even then I thought it was odd that he would sleep on his stomach, with his legs curled up underneath him, so the back of him was high in the air. For me, he is likely the best friend I will ever have. We have had too many good times to count in a dozen journals: trick or treating, sleeping over, playing untold games of hide and seek and later soldier games outside, riding our bikes to school, and sharing a similar sense of humor, making up outrageous stories and laughing until we’re on the ground. Needless to say, I am extremely lucky to have Hoke, and I thank him for having put up with me this long.
2. Emma Reed: Long about second grade I began to like Emma. Why? Well, I guess you just had to be there, but I do know now that Emma is about the most friendly and good-natured person I have met (Leslie K excepted, but Emma would agree with this too). A fondness for an awesome person may have come from a respect I have for the kind of approachable, warm person Emma is. I count Emma as one of my good friends. I am just happy that I didn’t stay on the sidelines (and in fact got pushed out from it) so long that I would have missed out on a great friendship that is even better.
3. Louise Carlson: Of course, my mom is on the list (I just didn’t think she would be this high). I guess I just want to thank her for all of the time she puts in to help me (number three… that’s awfully high for my mom).
4. Will Davies: Won’t I ever be rid of this kid? No, since I’m writing this I should limit the jokes; I guess Davies wasn’t that bad. He just had a few major strikes against him. Number one, he was very weird (Sure, I’m weird, but that’s in a good way). Number two, which plays into number one, he wasn’t the most congenial person in the world, always with just a bit of a chip. Davies was known by such names as “Commando Boy,” “Chakita Bannana,” and “Shaggy,” among others. I have to admit, I actually gave him the name Shaggy one day, but he really does look like Shaggy! The strangeness of Davies came to a climax when he disappeared suddenly without telling anyone to far off Missouri last November. Yes, I felt sorry for him; no one should have to just leave school one weekend, but he wasn’t always the best to others while here. Since I’m writing this, I might as well tell the story of the closest I ever got to a fight (and I didn’t want it to happen at all). Davies was very mad at me one day after school a few years ago, and in the high school parking lot after school actually challenged me to a fight. Now, I wouldn’t know the first thing about such things. But as we stood in front of each other, about five feet apart, both of us saddled over our bikes, with a small crowd of guys around us, he said he was going to count to ten, and then he was going to hit me. But something about it–I don’t know, perhaps out parents knowing each of so well–made me pretty sure he was bluffing. So I just stood as he counted down, waiting (hoping) to see if I was right. Suddenly, when Davies reached zero, he spun around on his bike, said something, and quickly pedaled away. I won (and I retired immediately from fighting, undefeated)! But I also feel I should say some good things: we both were in Scouts together, and he was very knowledgeable and good at it. He spent countless hours at my house, playing video games, playing with Hoke and I outside, and I was at his house for a sleepover the night my sister first came home from the hospital (I couldn’t bring myself to stay). As you can see by how long this is, I’m kind of conflicted about Davies, and was actually very sad to see him go. The class wasn’t the same without him, and something was missing. Hoke might not be so charitable, publicly, but I’m sure he misses him too (in his own way, which might explain why he keeps bringing him up too, reliving the old jokes and stories. Yet I sound like he’s gone–poof! He just goes to school in Farmington seven miles away, and still lives in Elmwood. In conclusion, Davies really isn’t that bad, just someone a bit off-kilter to everyone else. What surprises me is that his name keeps popping up in this journal even though he’s been “gone” for over a year! I wish him well.
5. Nicole Carlson: It doesn’t seem right that Nicole should be nine years old. That’s older that I was when she was born! What can I say about Nicole… She loves the outdoors. She plays constantly with her puppy Lindsie. When inside she plays with her piles of Barbie dolls, or watches Nickelodeon. Not that Nicole has a great deal of spare time. Nicole takes piano lessons, acrobats, and is involved in Brownies. Add to that the hour or two she does in homework every night, and you can see she is very busy. In the past Sonya has said that in the future she would like to be a piano teacher or an astronaut.
6. Sidney Walls: My friendship with Sidney has really blossomed since last year, and really, in the last few months. In fact, the first mention of Sidney in this journal is not until page 15. Now she appears in as many entries as Hoke. She has become a staple in my day, enough that I named her awhile back my “second-string best friend.” Sidney is at one time in the year or other in the following activities: cross country, student council (president), Drama Club, basketball, the speech team, Scholastic Bowl, and track. Have I also mentioned she is vying for number one in our class, academically? Now you understand why sometimes I worry she’s going to blow a gasket. Nervous breakdowns weren’t meant for seventeen year olds.
7. Ainsley Lagerstein: If I remember correctly, I met Ainsley my first night at the Hub. We pretty much hit it right off (which is rare for me, regardless of gender), and it’s been smooth sailing ever since. We would talk a lot, along with teasing and kidding each other to death. All the exploits have been clearly documented. And then I think to myself that when I started this journal I had no idea who Ainsley was! More than anything, it’s been different and rewarding to branch out from my town, so I can say I have friends outside of Elmwood.
8. Henry Carlson: At first thought I would simply utter that Dad gave me a love for football, or more precisely, the Chicago Bears. While this is not incorrect, it is not the whole story. Dad has always tried to govern with reason and a bit of folksy, philosophical wondering, while keeping my best interests at heart. Once or twice he has said, “I want to be your friend,” and while I understand what he means, he probably hasn’t done as much lifting at home as mom has; so I credit her for that. Of course, sometimes he opens my bedroom door, pokes into my room and says, “Hey, you can come down and watch the Bears game that’s starting soon, just get the rest of your homework done when it’s over.” That’s pretty neat too.
9. Lauren Wales: Looking at my Top 13 list, everyone that is there should be there (if I want them there or not), except my ex-Spanish teacher. I suppose the majority of materials concerning her pops up in the class trip to Mexico. The rest must be when I was in Spanish, or when I helped out two years ago with teaching the children of migrant workers. She is high energy, and throws Spanish around exuberantly, if too quickly for my ears (Hoke would agree).
10. Fred Mavetz: Our entire relationship, which I would definitely count as the closest I’ve had with any teacher, is based upon our Bears/Packers rivalry. In fact, yesterday those two teams hooked up in Lambeau Field … the Bears lost 28-17. Chicago, I hate to say, has beaten the Packers once MY ENTIRE HIGH SCHOOL CAREER. As usual, Mr. Mavetz was equipped today with his large, trusty Packers blanket and cheesehead. He’s crazy. I should also mention, which is important, too, that has been our Scholastic Bowl coach throughout high school, and would help us practice once or twice a week for a few hours, and then drive us around central Illinois in his huge van.
11. Holly Andrews: I sometimes think about how closely I never came to meeting Holly Andrews too. Consider: If I had taken Hoke’s flimsy threat to heart, I never would have called Ainsley, who happened to be with Holly Andrews at the time. Hoke would have been without a Homecoming date, and I would have been minus one new friend? I can’t believe, however, I have mentioned her so much, considering I didn’t know she existed three months ago. Life is strange.
11. Willa Hanks: Willa, Hoke and I have always been the three teacher’s kids in our class. Simply put, Willa is nice, a bit funny, dedicated, hard working, and a great friend.
I hope that this summary of some of the people closest to me has made you more aware of them and the way I feel about them.
Let’s not get all mushy,