Growing up in Mantua — #16

Not every day was sunshine and roses

Growing up is a challenge for any child. Even in Mantua. While I loved the neighborhood, and it will always have a warm place in my heart. Mantua still had it share of bullies and I certainly made some poor friendship decisions during my childhood years.

It is hard being a kid. Trying to figure out who to befriend and who to keep at arm’s distance is no easy task.

The year Aaron moved in next door, Aaron and I became friends. We got along well and played nearly every day until school started. I would say we liked one another quite well.

Then school started…

He and I were not in the same classroom and I am not sure what happened but my school friends did not warm up to him as I had and had even resorted to calling him names and the like. As a reserved kid who was already struggling with my own issues with friends. I had already had some older kids who had bullied me in first grade. I was a chicken. I distanced myself from Aaron.

Aaron and I remained acquaintances for the rest of our school years, with several attempts to be a bit closer over the years, but we never were as close as we were that first summer. It is a regret I have from my growing up years. Aaron was smart, funny, and a truly nice guy. A person I wish I knew better growing up. I wish I could give 8 year old me the courage to stand up for the friendship I made then. Instead, I chose some people who barely remember me today.

One blessing is that, thanks to things like Facebook, I am able to keep in touch with people like Aaron, and while we still are only acquaintances in one another’s lives, at least we can keep tabs on someone who knew us way back when.

I am glad I know you Aaron.

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