In early grade school, at the time I received the "Back-To-The-Future" nickname ALKIE, the guys all played baseball during recess. I was a 'country bumpkin', the local yokel, so to speak. Right off the farm, carrying a violin case, and I was what you might say, untrained (bungling, inept, clumsy) in sports.
So when it was time to "play ball", we first-graders would all line up, and the two 'captains' would start picking their players. Naturally, the best ones were chosen early, and the worst--me--would be standing after all others were being assigned their positions.
Then, the argument began (every day!) as to who would be saddled with Alkie, the guy who consistently struck out, overthrew home plate, missed fly balls, ran the wrong way, etc. Eventually, I was told, while at bat, just to stand there, "don't swing". And mercifully, they let me 'walk' every time, so at least I would get on base. This was real 'charity'.
One day I said to myself, "To hell with it, I'm gonna SWING." And I hit the ball so far, I could have run the bases twice! Thereafter, I was accepted as a possible outfielder, batting cleanup--fourth in the lineup.
But I would NEVER forget the feeling of being left out, being put down, being 'less than', being the clodhopper farmer, who couldn't "swing it."
Eleven years later I was a violinist in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. But that grade school crap long lingered. My self esteem had been injured beyond repair, except it went away when I drank, which by then was most of the time.
In early 2008, I had been informed that my grade school chums, of the class of (OMG!) 1947, would be holding a reunion in Cincinnati in late September 2008, (several weeks ago). I became so excited to see these people, see how they'd aged and I had NOT -GRINNNN- that I accepted immediately their invitation. Through the summer I thought carefully about going back to my home town/home school at this time. I've been there often enough, but did I wish to go THIS time? I have to admit...if this class reunion would've happened in Gatlinburg TN, or in NC Blue Ridge Mountains, I'd have BEEN there without hesitation.
Rightly or wrongly, I considered that if we made the' pilgrimage', I'd miss Blogging, the daily two or three meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, the 'comforts' of home, the wonderful, happy motor scooter rides, and playing at the Sunday masses one weekend.
So I did not pack up and make the reunion. I was missed. I've been sent pictures, notes, and stories, none of which really excited me.
Ya know what excites me? Your blogs and your comments on all the other blogs, and the sharing (never used to like that word) and real caring that goes on here. The side Emails which support us, the occasional phone conversation which ring tones of love, and daily communicating, all--for me--put together a family like which I've never known.
SO....even though my old classmates probably would have still called me "ALKIE", I would have made sure that they knew I am now ANOTHER SOBER ALCOHOLIC. Maybe that would have been reason enough to attend. Hmmmmm?
Thanks for reading--if anyone DID! -grin-