I Come From A Family Of Readers And Writers, And The Mob Was Part Of My Middle School

I picked my ten year old daughter yesterday from school, and she was walking with a book in hand when I went to get her. She had her finger marking the page she was at. Before I got the car started, she was buckled in and reading away. I asked her about the book she was reading, and was getting one word quick responses. I didn't press her anymore. She was wrapped up in the story and would tell me about it later, when she finished it.

After homework and snack she disappeared to her room to finish it. She told me all about the book over dinner. Later, she dabbled a bit on this very computer writing her own story about a teenager who could hold her breath underwater indefinitely.

She comes by it honestly.

Once a year my extended family gathers for a week long beach trip. I joke around that we are the only family that reads a combined 231 books in one week, and only take a break from reading to hit the bar for a few drinks.

Brandi, my cousin who edited Who Is Olivia Green, just wrapped up a re-write on a manuscript and is getting ready to query agents. I read the first draft, and am excited to get going on the re-write. She did an amazing job piecing some really interesting characters but I was more impressed with her development of some of the main ones. The book jumps from Before, After, and During, some major incident, that the reader has to keep reading to figure out what it is. It's really good, and I'm sure it will be successful.

Kayla, my other cousin is studying Creative Writing at Emerson, in Boston. I'm jealous, and wish I could come and sit in class with her. What's even cooler is you can tell how much she is enjoying school when she talks about it. I sometimes regret my time in the classroom was spent daydreaming of bikini's and kegs of beer.

My Aunt Cathy writes a kind of newsletter, sort of like a blog, and writes with an elegance I only wish I could somehow reach one day. She writes about her personal growth, what she has learned over time, that sort of thing. I find myself re-reading her posts often. 

And my mom and dad, while they don't write they were both very creative in their own ways. My dad has always been interested in photography and had some pictures published, and my mom was a teacher, and always pushed and supported any creative endeavors as kids. More importantly, they always pushed us to read.

So what does that have to do with the Mafia at William Farquhar Middle School? Well, let me tell you.

A few posts ago I briefly brought up how my first real kiss contacted me over Facebook and told me how much she was enjoying my book. We messaged back and forth a bit this past week. She knows a few people coming to Augusta to work this week for the Masters Tournament, and we were joking about the coincidence of her just reading my book and she has never really heard of the Masters.

We decided to catch up on the phone and talked for almost two hours. We probably would have kept talking, but I had to take the little one to cheerleading. It was great. I've reminded myself a few times over the last few days, if this book doesn't do anything else, catching up with old friends, providing a good story to some others, it's been worth every minute.

After talking around the subject we brought up our brief romance from the 8th grade. She went to a different high school but we still had mutual friends that kept us in contact periodically. It was funny, I was telling her on the phone how she was my first real kiss, and then she told me why she broke up with me. To be honest I didn't remember who had broken up with whom, I remember her as my first in-between-the-busses-make-out session.

But when she told me what happened, I was a little taken aback. She was new to our school that year, and I had grown up with the rest of the 8th grade. Like any school, there were the cool kids who pretty much ran things, and apparently, the cheerleading girls, all told her she had to break up with me.

What the hell.

Not only that, they told her she had to break up with me and start dating another kid from my same neighborhood.

What the hell.

Who does that? Apparently 8th graders in Montgomery County, Maryland do. She apologized, and like I said I didn't remember who broke up with whom, but I was more shocked that some of the kids were dictating who dated who. 

Here I was trying to move past first base to second, but the girls on the cheerleading squad had different plans for me.

Anyway, just another funny story that, without the book, I would have never known. And, if you are reading this Heather, there was no need to apologize. Like the last 41 years, I wouldn't change a thing.

I've been trying to post once a week but am going to take next week off for the Masters. This little town gets a bit crazy, and I'll be working insane hours beginning Monday. So it will be mid April before I post again. Hopefully my next post will be how the book has taken flight. If not that, I'd take just another story re-connecting with someone from my past. It's been a good week.