I met Neal in 4th Grade, and we were friends off and on until 6th Grade, where we became almost inseparable. Then, like many kids in the area, his dad's work was done, and in mid 1981, he moved to El Paso, Texas. We sent letters. Letters became tapes, and for the next 7 years, we sent tapes back and forth. I practically grew up with him. I remember his first girlfriend, Alicia. I still have a photo of her somewhere. Neal impressed me with his wit, humor, and bravado amid the sea of non-nerdy types, he forged a path that led him to a semi-popular state, and he taught me one of my first great lessons:
You can always start over somewhere else.
Unbeknownst to me, he kept some of the cassettes, and at some point, started compiling a "Best of Grig." A few years ago, he sent me those tapes, which have been lying around in the same padded envelope he sent them in. I kept meaning to go through them, but I played one passage about gym which sent me into a spiral of depression for about a week. For about a year now, I have been "bracing myself," because I now going to meet my former self. From Junior High to High School, and possibly beyond. The tapes are in no real order, and they will be sorted by the random labels on them.
I will provide summaries and a commentary where needed. There may be huge gaps, since there are 6 tapes, all about an hour on each side. That's a lot to listen to, and I know most of it will be prattle I will not admit to. Assume most of my rhetoric is slightly tongue-in-cheek, because it's funny to see what I thought was SOOOOO important back then...
A side note: It amazes me how much I sounded like Neal in infection and tone. Maybe he DID learn things from me, although I still say I got my wit from HIM.
Now, for your enjoyment or boredom, I will start...
Punkie's Earlier Years: The Album
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