Some lessons in life can be brutal. Some "lessons" can be way off base as well. And some lessons won't really sink in for a long time after learning them.
Loyalty and friendship came as second nature for Jason. He was a very genuine person. There was nothing fake about him. He was the best, most loyal friend I (to this day) have ever had.
During the summer months prior to starting school, Jason and I had become BEST friends. We played so well together. I honestly can't remember ever having so much as a disagreement with him. We played together in perfect harmony. A boy and a girl... best friends. We had everything in common yet were totally different from each other.
When we started kindergarten, I remember being so excited when I found out Jason & I had the same class. Mrs. Gray's class at Hillcrest Elementary School. I knew that riding the big yellow school bus wasn't going to be scarey at all with Jason sitting on the bus next to me. I wasn't scared at all because my best friend (the one who had my back always) was in this adventure with me.
Arriving at the school and finding our classroom was easy. My older sister, Edie, was happy to show us the way. There were so many kids walking around, it would have been easy to lose track of each other, but Jason and I were practically joined at the hip and walked into our classroom together.
So many things to look at hanging on the walls of our classroom. It was sensory over load! The alphebet (each letter having a picture beside it to represent the letter) was hung over a big green chalk board. I already knew my letters and was eager to show off my knowledge to the teacher. There was a large globe on a side table. Pictures of animals, foreign places and children wall papered the walls. A chart with names on it hung on the wall and a sheet of gold, blue, and red stars were hanging next to it, waiting to be awarded to the children who's names were on the chart. (I knew the star system because of my older sister bragging whenever she got a "star" for the day.)
Mrs. Gray walked over and asked us our names. She introduced herself to us as she stuck a sticker, with our name on it, to our shirts. She asked us to please look on the desks and find the one with our name on the label. She then turned to another student who was alking in the door. I remember helping Jason find his desk before leaving him to find mine. I was sad when I found my name on a desk on the opposite side of the classroom.
The desks were arranged in small groups. Some groups had four desks together and some had three. I was placed in a group of three and quickly tried sounding out the names on the lables attached to the other desks in my group. Vicki Warnacutt (I had a real challenge with her last name) and Daphne Turnball were the other girls who would be sharing this area of the class with me.
I dug my things out of my back pack and stuffed my pencil box into the desk. I glanced over to see how Jason was doing. He was sitting in his seat, hands folded on his desk looking in my direction. I felt a huge weight lift of my shoulders when I realized I would have an unobstructed view of my best friend from my seat. We weren't in the same group, but at least I could look up and see his sweet smile whenever I needed to.
The rest of my first day of school is mostly a blur. I remember meeting Vicki and Daphne. I remember Vicki showing me how to "blow bubbles" in my chocolate milk until the bubbles ran out the top of the container and I remember Daphne choosing white milk instead of chocolate. But what I remember most about that day was that every time I got scared or over whelmed, all I had to do was look up and find Jason. Just knowing he was there, maybe not always looking in my direction, made me feel safe and secure. I had the best friend anybody could ever ask for and he didn't even have to do or say anything to make me feel better.
Friends are amazing that way. I may not talk to my friends everyday or even every week, but knowing they are there is a wonderful piece of mind. To this day I know that if I were to pick up the phone, Jason would be there for me. He's been a constant in my life... even if not on a regular basis... he is my friend. My lifelong friend...