Saying goodbye is never easy. It brings a sadness in each one of us that runs deep in our soul that can only be comforted with time. It was the late 1970's in Los Angeles California when I had to say goodbye to a friend named David. It would be the first upset of many in my life.
David was a thirteen year old teenage boy who lived next door to me. He was into scientific stuff and had gotten a chemistry set for Christmas one year. He would always show me slides of bugs and things through his microscope and even showed me a slide of blood once.( You would be surprised at what a drop of human blood looks like through a microscope.) David would always talk scientific about things. One day I was doing the dishes and he told me how many molecules I was wasting by letting the water just run as I was washing and rinsing at the same time.
We liked to play catch, ride bikes and would do all kinds of after school events together.
David and I started our own business one day. My family had a avocado tree in our back yard. There was an old wooden ladder that we used to climb the tree and pick the avocados and sell them for a quarter a piece. We would buy lots of candy with the proceeds, If I remember correctly, NOW AND LATERS were our favorite candy. Oh, I can not forget the ice cream truck, we would always be waiting for the ice cream man at the same time every day on our street corner. The avocado business was doing great until one day my little brother climbed the ladder we had leaning against the tree and fell. He hit the ground face first and had to have his jaw wired shut. After that my mother threw away the ladder and that was the end of our business adventure.
David had a fascination with bugs and would always have an interesting fact on each one that we would happen to come across. We would sometimes catch honey bees and take the stingers out of them and then let them go. We thought at the time that it wouldn't hurt the bee but would stop other people from getting stung like we did playing on the football field at school. Thinking back now, I must have been stung over a dozen times on them escapades.
I remember going to the lake for a family outing once with David. We caught a bunch of tad poles out of the little creek that ran into the lake. David's mother made it clear that he was not keeping them in their house. When we got home I begged my parents to let me keep them in my fish tank so David and I could watch them turn into frogs. It took a little while but they finally agreed to let me keep them. I think only two days went by before they started stinking up my room, my mother made me get rid of them.
Sometimes David and I would go sit on the city buss stop bench and watch cars pass by while trying to guess what the people driving did for a living. There would also be times that we'd go hang out by the air port and watch the planes take off wondering out loud where the people on the planes destination was or where they were coming from. Life was full of mystery and questions for us back in the nineteen seventies. I think looking back now, the grass seemed so much greener and the sun was so much brighter back then.
M family and I had a full size swimming pool in our back yard that David and I would spend a lot of time in. David had a pet snake that he would bring over sometimes and turn loose in the pool to watch swim. It was pretty cool until one day my mother seen the snake in the pool and freaked out. That was the end of that.
My father was a police man and his father was in the military. David lived right next store to me so we were always together. We didn't get into much trouble except for the times we would come home after the street lights had been on for over an hour. Our curfew was always the same, be home when the street lights came on.
One year I got a evil Knievel bicycle for Christmas and he got a new BMX. We would pretend they were motorcycles and make ramps to jump. We had three other friends that would ride with us sometimes, Frank, Johnny, and Timmy. We would all race and see who could jump the highest. One time while jumping my pant leg got caught in the chain and I crash landed and chipped my front tooth. I still have the chipped tooth to this day as a reminder of just how much pain a chipped tooth can cause.
Hanging out at our school after hours was a big thing. They would have all kinds of games set up like chess, checkers, shuffle board and even had basket ball games that always had enough players to play with two full teams.
David and I was into football pretty big back then and the Los Angeles Rams was our favorite team. We would take turns pretending to be Pat Haden when ever we would play football. Pat Haden was the quarter back for the Los Angeles Rams. In 1978 Pat was twenty five years old and had an average of one hundred and eighty seven yards per game. Yes the Number 11 jersey was proudly worn by David and I. Game day was always fun watching the game on the television with David. When ever Pat Haden would run the ball in the end zone our excitment was so hard to contain, my mother would yell from the kitchen at us to settle down or David would have to go home. She never did send David home even though she would have to threaten us a dozen times each time a game came on.
One late summer day we found out that my family and I were going to move to Nebraska. I will never forget the sadness I felt that day I had to say goodbye to David. Our whole world would forever be changed. Being a thirteen year old teenager I didn't have any say so on the matter and voting was defiantly out of the question.
On the day my family moved, David gave me a hug and then he gave me one of his walkie talkies so we could chat one last time as my father drove away. Guys were not into hugging and stuff like that so David gave me a hug in private in his back yard. It was Harder to say goodbye to David than it was saying goodbye to Tina, my girlfriend at the time. I cried but managed to hide the tears by the time I got into my parents car, or at least I thought I did. Oh how I miss those days of innocents along with my best friend David. Some times my mind goes back to them days and wonders how they just slipped away. At the time I couldn't understand how my father could just up and take the only world my brother, sister and I knew away. Later in life Dad told me it was because of the crime and smog that plagued California.
David and I wrote a few letters but as always, time would pass by and life would go on while new friends came and went. I wonder if David ever thinks back to them days the same way I sometimes find myself doing.
Writing this story has taken me back to relive those days and visit David. As I write the last words of this story it has me wondering if David ever became a scientist or if he is even still alive.
I hope that every teenager has or had a friendship like Dave and I had. I truly believe that no one will ever have a friend like the ones we had as teenagers.