Over my four years here at Anything Goes, I’ve written a lot about my former nabes and their son, who is two years older than Nate. The majority of what I’ve written wasn’t always becoming to my former neighbors and a lot of times they really pissed me off.
I could say that they’ve raised a great kid, but actually, that great kid raised himself.
I never agreed with Cam walking home from school to an empty house before he was out of grade school. The excuse was that his mom would be home within 15 minutes, but a lot of times she wasn’t. Sometimes his dad didn’t get home until 6 and his mom didn’t come home until 9. And there was Cam, all 9 years old of him, sitting home, alone.
At the age of 11 or 12, Cam was left home alone at night while his parents went out to party. They would call to let me know they would be gone, just in case Cam needed something. I spent many a night at this computer, writing, until the wee hours of the morning, with the window cracked, the blind half drawn, so I could watch over this child. Often it was 1 or 2 o’clock before I would hear their dogs barking and the scrape and slam of their front door, allowing me the peace of mind to go to sleep.
By the time they lost their house a few years back, I had pretty much had enough. I knew something was going on over there, but not quite sure what it was. I’ve heard rumors but nothing concrete and it seems as though losing their house smacked some sense back into them. They’ve moved a few times since then but have finally settled in the Capitol City, in a not so great part of town, two doors down from where Troy used to live, and two doors down from one of the guys that used to work at the Shop (who AZ very recently had arrested for embezzlement.) Its a small world.
Cam, much more so than either parent, appears to be determined to overcome and achieve. In grade school, he failed a grade and was making straight F’s at one point. This all changed during middle school. He’s received two awards in school and regularly makes the honor roll. Again, head and shoulders above both parents in his will to better himself.
I pick him up every Friday night on the weekends that I have Nate, if possible. He went rockhounding with us and we went to the Black Walnut Festival together. He thinks going to Golden Corral is the shizznet. I had to work late one night, past 11 on a Saturday and Nate had said he would just stay at Cam’s for the night. No doing. Nate called and said, “Um, Cam wants to come to our house. Can you pick us up after you get off?” Of course. When can I turn down my kids?
For the most part, Cam is a quiet child. Although he and Nate can get going with the sword play and video games, he’s rather quiet around me, although I’ve known him over half his life. I think he likes hanging with Nate because Nate is old enough to be cool, but young enough that Cam gets to reclaim some of his own lost childhood. Cam has a quiet maturity that juxtaposes Nate’s still immature exuberance.
I still haven’t figured out what the difference is though in Nate staying there and Cam wanting instead to be here. Its always HERE. He wants to hang out with Nate, but HERE. Perhaps its because he used to live next door, and although things weren’t perfect, perhaps they were better.
This past weekend, he said he was ready to go home and Nate didn’t feel like riding, so I took Cam home by myself. I took a hold of that opportunity with both hands. I told him how proud I was of how he was doing in school and hoped he understood how important a good education is. He said he did and after a bit told me he wanted to go to technical school to learn about computers and how to build them. He’s talked before about being a video game developer.
I told him to look into going to vo-tech while he was still in high school and getting a leg up. I also mentioned he might want to look into WV Tech and getting a degree in some type of computer program they have there.
I asked him about Christmas and what he was wanting. He said, “Not much. I asked my parents for a 10 speed bike and (something I can’t remember! Damnit!). My bike is pretty bad off.” I have no doubt that he’s looking ahead two years until he turns 16 in August of 2010 to get a job and is thnking ahead for transportation.
I didn’t want to pry too hard into his head, like I said, he’s pretty quiet. However, I let him know that I would do anything I could to help him. He’s such a fine young man and he’s really been a great friend to Nate. He’s definitely not afraid to call Nate to the mat for being brattish.
I just wish I had the money for 10 speed bike.