Both of my daughters are at an age where I find myself reminiscing to a certain time period in my life, early teenage years. For some reason, I find myself focusing on Saturday mornings and afternoons. Typically, my daughters will either entertain themselves or perhaps spend time with a friend or two.
But back when I was their age, okay, a little bit older, I had just relocated to a new school. One of the first friends I made was Kevin. We had similar interests in music and bowling. More importantly, he made me feel welcome during a time that I had been forced into and to adapt to. Kevin actually lived in the neighborhood that I had just moved to also. I got to meet his family, a sister, and his mother and father. A very nice family who to this day, I hold them all in a special place in my heart.
During the school year, Kevin would drive us to a local bowling alley. We both bowled in a junior bowling league on Saturday mornings. I was good. But Kevin was better. We enjoyed bowling so much, that we both got certified to coach younger children in bowling. And we would coach the afternoon shift of kids from beginners to even fellow teenagers. Come to think of it, I was a good bowler, but I found myself to be a better coach.
As soon as we were both done with our shift of bowling, part 2 of our Saturday morning, meant a fun lunch at Kevin’s grandparents’ home, just blocks away from the bowling alley. Kevin’s grandmother would run to the grocery store, and come home with hoagies for us to eat.
We would do two other things along with eating. Every Saturday, we would watch the syndicated weekly pro wrestling episodes. Waaaayy before the WWE got huge, the WWF used to film in my hometown of Allentown, at our fairground property, Agricultural Hall. The WWF would film here every three weeks I believe, and break down those filmings over the next few weeks to be televised. We also had a unique connection to the WWF. The ring announcer was a long time staple named Joe McHugh. The connection was that his brother, John, was the principal of our high school. There was no Monday Night Raw or even WrestleMania at that time yet. So, the Saturday morning wrestling was pretty much all we had.
The other thing we did during our lunch break, was talk with Kevin’s grandfather. He was a very sweet man named Joe. Joe would tell us stories of when he was younger, including war stories. It was always interesting to hear the details he would tell of his experiences. To this day, I still enjoy hearing stories from my elders.
After lunch, Kevin and I would head back to the bowling alley and coach the final afternoon shift.
Of all things that I look back on from my youth, this is one of the times that I always remember fondly. As time went on, I would eventually combine with Kevin again, and his grandfather, along with Kevin’s dad and uncle, and we would make a pretty awesome adult bowling team. I believe Kevin’s grandfather was well into his eighties at the time, but he still enjoyed getting on the lanes.
Almost 35 years after graduation, I still keep these memories close to my heart. And I still consider Kevin a good friend.