As the last name indicates, this entry discusses Melissa’s parents and one of the four sets of parents I have had in my life. I felt this way very early on after meeting them, but more so after they allowed me to move in with them.
The day I met them, they allowed me to sleep over their house without dispute. I knew from the beginning that they were nice people who continually went our of their own way to help me or allow Melissa and I to go certain places. With me not having a license or car of my own, they offered to drive me home when that time came, and I never seemed to be a nuisance to them. They included me in plans that they had such as going to the campground or getting dinner somewhere. I liked the freedom they granted us in terms of allowing Melissa to use their car(s) to go places that we wanted to. Together they were nice, but they each had their own characteristics to be admired.
I liked Terry’s caring feeling for her daughter, a feeling that we shared. She made us call her when we arrived at and left places we went to make sure we made it. To some kids or young adults this seems annoying but I didn’t mind it. A simple phone call didn’t appear to be any waste of time to me. She also didn’t mind paying for us to go places, allowing us to have fun at carnivals and other recreational spots. I always felt welcome because Terry would always ask if I wanted to go wherever they were going. I was never left out.
Robert, or Ray as everyone calls him, was the exception to the typical father when it came to their daughter and dating. From the very first day, he was completely kind to me and it was him who gave the final OK to let me sleep over that first day. He has a stance which I hope to adopt as a parent, standing by his children’s decisions and allowing them to make those decisions. He supported Melissa and her choices and said he would always help where he was needed. Most of all, I liked his openness to me helping around their house/yard. This was the case when the heating vent underneath their house had caved in and Ray could not go under to fix it due to his bad knee. He instead allowed Melissa and I to fix the problem with the instructions he provided. It was one of those jobs that no matter what, I didn’t want to be rewarded for because it felt good just to be doing the work so their house could once again have proper heating circulation.
Together, Ray and Terry became parents to me just by being themselves. They allowed me to move in with them in January 2007 and if it were not for my own actions, I would probably still be living there today. In any case, I was thankful for that chance and every other chance that they have ever given me.
Marcus has always been a third younger brother to me. I mentioned T.J. in an earlier post and his affect on me, but it was his younger brother here that had a much greater influence. Marcus was always the first one outside when were younger and always eager to take part in whatever sport was being played that day. We always evened out our talent base, my younger brother Ray and I versus my other brother Matt and Marcus. It kept the games competitive and good natured. It also provided 13+ years of rivalries, all of which I loved.
Marcus allowed me to take a look at what I was growing up, sort of him being the living rewind of me. I watched him and his ability to always remain active and upbeat, and saw myself in those characteristics. Like I said in the T.J. piece, it was hard moving away after all those years, having our families separate after 13 years of being so close.
I got a bit of reward my senior year in high school, when Marcus and I were in the same gym class. The fun of our youth was rejuvenated all over again but this time we were always on the same team or side. We, along with Jim, Clayton, and Dillon Nugent, formed the “Mini Johanemans” floor hockey team and entered the tournament. Much to our surprise, we were crowd favorites and actually played very well. We didn’t win, but it was the best tournament and team I’ve ever been a part of. I asked Marcus to be on the dodgeball team that year too, supplying his jersey and everything. That tournament also ended in loss, but it was fun regardless.
I still maintain contact with Marcus, haven’t spoken in about a month but we still make conversation. He was the first friend of mine to contact me online and congratulate me on graduating from high school. It was friends like him that made me miss high school, a feeling that I still have, and probably always will.
Clayton, along with Jim and I, made up our triangle friendship. We started this grouping in 10th grade in English class and it just took off from there. The jokes were always there along with the friendly ribbing that went on. We hung out after school at Clayton’s house along with other people because Clayton didn’t mind inviting crowds over.
Clayton became a better friend after I moved in with his family. It was Clayton that helped orchestrate me getting that chance and I was very thankful (moving in discussed in upcoming ranking) for it. We joined a summer league baseball team the summer before I moved in and that added to our fun. We would joke around on the field as well as in the dugout. He helped me out with my pitching because he was a catcher, so that helped me in part become the pitcher I am today.
I haven’t spoken with Clayton in quite some time now as our lives have gone in different directions. I actually just sent him a Myspace message last night, leaving my phone number. I hope to maybe hang out when I return home for Spring break. We shall see if he responds.
I’ve gotten to the top 10 most influential individuals. I just want to make some small points before moving on. Every single person on this list is on it regardless of who else is, no person affects another’s standing. The only differences between the members of this ranking are the ranking itself and the individual affects on my life. It is easy to assume that number 1 is “better” than number 20, but this should not be done. Also, some of the affects up until this point have been hard to explain, as some people have had more of a “feeling” affect than one that I can put into words. The top 10 though, I speculate, will all be longer than the bottom half. With that being said, time to move on.
T.J. represents another athletic-based influence. I met him in gym class of my junior year. For some reason, we melded well, always choosing each other for the same team and things of that nature. We joined forces for our first dodgeball tournament, with him asking me to be on his team, which needed players. To me, we made the second best 1-2 punch in my gym class career in terms of knowing the other person’s abilities, excercising good teamwork, and overall statistics.
The greatest thing I took from knowing T.J. was admiring him and the work he did. I played my best when he did and vice versa. I felt glad to know him, due to him being part of the “cool” crowd, a group I wasn’t much a part of that year, so I felt accepted. I learned teamwork from him as well, helping other people out to make them better.
Andrea is the kindest non-family member I have ever met. She is one of those people that you know you can always go to if you want to talk. I learned of her kindness starting in 11th grade, when she helped me get a job at her workplace. We worked together at Silo Ridge and did the inside jobs. These were always fun because we were constantly talking and laughing, something she makes you do every time you speak. We would go to work directly from school and always got food on the way. It was just a trend she had to follow. Usually we picked up Dunkin’ Donuts or something small, and sometimes I had no money so I didn’t want to get anything. Andrea always insisted that I was going to get something and she would pay for it, never letting me be the one in the group not eating. It was these tiny gestures that showed she was a caring friend.
Andrea also was always available to just talk about things that were on a more serious level. She wasn’t the type of person to ignore the problems of her friends, always reaching out to them. My favorite times were twice when we just sat in her kitchen, just talking and eating a spread consisting of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bagels, and iced tea. These times were weird in a way because they happened the exact same but were roughly 2 years apart.
Oh well, it was times like those, and her amazing sense of humor, that make me glad to have Andrea as a friend.
When I moved to Dover Plains at the age of 4, T.J. was the first person I met. He lived upstairs and was 2 years older than me. I was drawn to him as a friend because I thought he was so “cool.” He always had the best toys and always seemed to be doing something that amazed me, so I joined in if I was allowed. I felt glad to even be in his presence.
The thing about T.J. that stuck out to me was his hanging out with me even when we were older, in our low to mid teens. It astounded me that somehow someone older than me by 2 years and with a completely involved life found time to hang out with me. He participated in games our others friends would be playing and seemed just like one of us, it never bothered him to get involved.
The affect T.J. had on my was being the bigger sibling I always wished for but never had. He always acted right and was never out of line with his actions. He consoled me on personal things and taught me to have respect for others. I saw him in college a year ago and it sort of amazed me. Here we were, years later, and he was the same T.J., greeting me by name as he passed.
We no longer live near each other, both of our families have since moved. The hardest part of that move was saying goodbye to T.J. and his family, who had moved in at the exact same time we had. Our families had known each other for 13+ years. This is why I am happy seeing or talking to them if I ever come across them, especially T.J.