|English: Federal Signal Thunderbolt 1003 (dual tone) siren head mounted on pole in Louisville, KY (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
In some ways I was a pretty shy kid. It was not always easy for me to get close to other kids and make friends, but I wasn't the only one like that. Many of us would go to school and quietly make it through the day well behaved and striving for the good grades to please our parents.
When I was in the fifth grade, I was living in San Diego. This would have been in 1961, a tense time in the United States as we were in the cold war stand off with the communists. We kids didn't worry too much about the threat of war. The monthly air raid siren tests at noon, the duck and cover drills at school, and the war talk on television were just another part of life and didn't stop us from being kids.
That school year Eddy's family moved onto the street where my family lived. They moved in about seven houses down from ours. Eddy was the only boy in this family and he had three sisters. His older sister was a normal enough looking girl and didn't look anything like her siblings. Eddy and his two younger sisters were small and almost frail and sickly looking. All the kids were very intelligent and, like me, quiet and reserved.
Perhaps that's why Eddy and I hit it off so well. I passed by his house on the way to school and it was not long that we became walking buddies to school and back home at the end of the day. But there was one problem--not for me, but for some of the other kids in our class. Eddy did not pledge allegiance to the flag for religious reasons. He became tagged as a communist by some of the other kids.
For a while some of the more bully-like boys, mild by today's standards, but bullies nevertheless, began trailing behind us taunting Eddy about being a communist. I was a little afraid, but as long as I was by Eddy's side they only teased from a distance. Eddy had become one of my best friends and I accepted him for what I saw in him and the way he treated me. It was a mutual acceptance and our friendship grew stronger.
Eventually the bullies must have tired of harassing me and Eddy and it all stopped. Visiting Eddy at his house I learned about his interest in photography and film developing, radio building, and other scientific pursuits. To me he was like a genius and his knowledge fascinated me.
We remained friends until seventh grade, at which time my family moved to the Chicago area. In his last letter to me he informed me that his family moved to Costa Mesa, California. His last letter was our last correspondence. I never wrote back. I was bad about things like that.
So, Edward Ross--I'm guessing that is what you go by now--I'm sorry that I didn't keep in touch. You were a good friend to me and I think of you often.
"Love is blind" goes the old saying. When we can look past some of the things that might seem different, weird, or not in the norms of society, we can learn to accept others and begin to love them as friends. Those friendships are sometimes difficult to find and it's a shame when we let them slip away.
Love must involve acceptance.