In this story (link) I wrote a funny tale of how for a brief moment I thought I might be blood related to my wife. It’s a funny joke sometimes shared amongst us ‘Hamiltuckians’ that we’re all related to each other and it’s appropriate that at the time of this release, I am spending time with Kim’s family, celebrating her mom’s birthday. Perhaps Kim and I are not blood related, but there definitely are a lot of strings connecting our paths.
The latest book I read was Stephen King’s “11/22/63“. The JFK story and the 60’s were such an important and turbulent time for those of my generation; it makes a perfect target to highlight the possibilities of ‘what if’. If just one circumstance changed, what would be the thousands of ripple effects? Are our futures preordained? Do you believe in chance or fate? The book I mentioned places a lot of attention on the threads that connect to each other and how if just one of those threads were broken, all future events might be changed.
When I joined Facebook, I had a very strong desire to reconnect with all the childhood friends from elementary school. Elementary years are ‘pre-divorce’ years and the kids I went to school with made me feel loved and special. Through my opening up multiple message discussions in Facebook and a little chatting with my wife, I was able to reconstruct a bunch of my own threads, threads that connect me, my wife and several of my childhood friends. They could all be just a bunch of coincidences, sure. Hamilton was, after all, a relatively small town. Still……
If for nothing else, I hope my kids one day stumble upon this and appreciate the sense of ‘destiny’ that it fills me with.
Kindergarten to fourth grade, my best friend is Timmy. At school during these years, my special friends are Tammy, Ricky, Cindy, Kathy D and Terry. Kathy B shows up in 7th grade. And then there’s my wife, Kim who I first saw when I was 14. There are other important names in my past, but a very small subset of names build a unique web of connections between me and Kim. Here they are:
First grade – I get my first kiss and first girlfriend, Tammy (link).
Second grade – my girlfriend is still Tammy. While walking home from school one day with Timmy and Terry, Terry accidentally pushes me too far into the street, into the path of a school bus (link). Coincidentally, Kim is having a rare open heart surgery at about the same time.
Second or third grade – Kim and Tammy’s families spend time together on a Gatlinburg vacation – this is when Kim and Tammy get to know each other. Tammy is my on-again, off-again girlfriend.
Fourth grade – my girlfriend is Kathy D and my best friend at recess is Ricky.
Fifth grade – my parents move us to the same elementary school as Kim. She lives only one block from me but we never meet. My younger brother one day points out a kid in his class he thinks is funny. This kid ends up being Kim’s brother.
Sixth grade – Kim moves away to another elementary school. Tammy and Terry are boyfriend and girlfriend.
Seventh grade – my first official steady is Kathy B (link). My best friend is now Terry, yes the boy from the bus accident.
Eighth grade – one day I’m with some friends and we’re cutting behind the local YMCA. I see Ricky there behind the plate coaching some younger kids at softball. I’m walking with Rick’s cousin Randy. On the mound pitching is Kim. This is the first time ever I see Kim in person. (Link) We were not in any classes together at Wilson Jr. and never saw her in the hallways. It was the queerest moment – it was like what is described in the books as ‘the thunderbolt’ for me. Rick introduces me. (Many years later Kim would confess to having a crush on Rick – all the girls did at some time or other).
Ninth Grade – one of the big deals at the roller rink was to try to meet girls by way of asking them to join us for a ‘couple skate’. One night Terry points out a girl he’s trying to get to skate with him. I see her and I tell him, that I don’t know her, but I know who she is, her name is Kim. Kim turns Terry down (link).
Tenth Grade – Mrs. Yonkers’ Mythology class. Finally, I’m in the same class as Kim. It’s my big chance. She sits close to the door and I’m closer to the windows (link). I have to walk really fast to catch up to her so I can offer to carry her books. After doing this for a week or two, she finally begins waiting for me at the door (I guess I’m growing on her….sort of like moss grows on a tree). Eventually I gather up the courage to ask her out. Our first date is to see the school play where Kim was working as one of the artists. The name of the play is “Bugs” and one of the stars in the play – Ricky. (Link)
Graduation – Terry graduates high school early. (btw – Terry never missed a single day of school ever in his life, never.) (link)
1977 – After graduation, Terry marries. He asks me to be his Best Man.
1978 – I marry Kim. Along a very similar time, Kathy B is married and Tammy is her Maid of Honor. (Yes, my first girlfriend is Maid for my first steady).
Later – Kim’s dad supervises the construction of schools that my boys later attend. My childhood friend has a cousin named Robin. Robin worked with my wife’s dad. Kathy D worked with my sister Lori. Circle of life man, circle of life.
Both Kim and I had a serious childhood traumatic experience. Either, (or both), of us could have died. We lived a block away from each other once and didn’t even know it. In 10th grade, I pursued her like a stalker and finally won her over and we eventually married and ended up one of the very few couples of our class that graduated together and never ended in divorce.
Ok, so I know it’s somewhat of a small town, but it’s not that small. I find the threads not only interesting, but almost as if there’s a unique path each of us should follow. We all probably have similar stories and relationships if we gain access to all of the facts. I find the threads that link us together with a few other people fascinating and almost spiritual on a certain level. I guess that sounds naïve or egotistical to some, but you have to admit it’s quite a nice little set of circumstances when you thread it all together.
To this day, I still feel that Kim is my soul mate. I believe that each of us has one – the trick is being lucky enough to stumble onto them…..sadly, many of us never stumble into the right place.
My advice? Start hanging out behind your local YMCA.