Slate published a fascinating profile of John M. Ford and the end gave me goosebumps. The woman who would become his wife asked him this in an interview.
“I’m going to die. Tell me a story.”
“No,” he said. “No. You tell me one, and when you’re gone, I’ll tell it to somebody else.”
The older I get, the less death scares me. I’m not ready, but whenever it happens, I hope the stories I tell live on. If you have a minute, here’s one of mine. I’d love it if you share one of yours too.
Standing on the dump
My first week of kindergarten was foiled by a case of chickenpox. I love being around people know, and I can look back and remember the misery of a five, almost six, year-old being denied the chance to meet new people.
I laid on the couch and just knew all the friends would be taken. I’d show up, and there’d be no one left to be my friend. Again, I can look back and see how my preference for a few close friendships over many loose acquaintances is a life-long trait.
Once the doctor gave me the all-clear, I could barely contain my excitement. I don’t remember the specifics of how I got to school or walking up the big steps and entering the first classroom on the right.
All I really remember from that day is recess.
I was playing with Jason in a jungle gym when Josh walked up and said, “You can’t play with him. He’s my best friend.”
My fear realized. All the friends were taken!
I hopped down and told Josh that Jason was my best friend, with all the fury and intensity a six-year old could muster. The next part is a little fuzzy, but I remember grabbing Josh’s arm and doing some kind of twist that I thought was karate. Every bit of my energy was focused on ripping his arm from his body.
(Reader, I’m so glad those six-year old impulses have mellowed and that it’s been many years since I wanted to remove someone’s arm.)
At this point, the teacher broke us apart. I don’t remember if I expressed the fear that drove me to throttle Josh, but whatever I said didn’t save me from the consequence of what I’ve done.
For the rest of the week, I spent every second of recess standing on a hill watching my classmates play. We called this experience “standing on the dump” and that week crawled by.
Everything ended up ok. Jason became my best friend, and he swears it wasn’t because he was afraid I’d break his arm if he said no. 😂 Josh and I became friends too.
Now it’s your turn! I’d love to read one of your stories.