A funny little memory hit me the other night when I was driving home from the train station.
My family moved from Pennsylvania to New York State when I was around seven years old. Losing my friends and changing schools was pretty traumatic. I don't think I or my parents realized just how much at the time. (I know. We're off to a hilarious start with this post.)
Anyway, during one of the early trips back to Pennsylvania to visit my grandparents, I remember listening to a radio playing in the kitchen. It was Sunday morning, and everyone was busy doing their own thing. My grandmother picked the station. It was some local-yokel AM broadcast. A little music. A little talk. Lots of back woods high society.
Some kind of talk show caught my attention. I really don't remember why, but I decided right there that I was going to call in. God knows why. I was eight at the time, and I had never done anything like that before. I didn't even like that kind of spotlight.
I scribbled down the number and sneaked upstairs to make the call. My mother called for me, but I pretended not to hear. After a couple of tries, I got through to the DJ. He ate it up. I guess little kid voices didn't often call the show. I ended saying something dreadful about moving and how much it blew. After hanging up, I just went on with my business.
A few minutes later, probably after commercials, the radio aired my recorded piece. Everyone downstairs was clueless, except my grandmother, who perked up for a moment, then said, "is that Jason???" A mad rush to find me ensued. I admitted to making the call, then everyone hurried back into the kitchen to hear the rest of my interview. They only caught the very end. After all the good stuff.
When they asked me why I made the call, I shrugged. I'm still not sure why I did it. I guess I simply had the urge to have my feelings be heard.
Fast forward to now. Our daughter in Kindergarten told us about a shy, new girl who just moved from South Africa (which actually turned out to be South DAKOTA). I told her about how it felt to be the new kid and asked her to do me a personal favor. I asked her to be the first one to make an effort to be the new girl's friend.
I'm happy to say that this girl was just at our daughter's birthday party. She's still very shy, but she enjoyed herself. Her parents seemed to be happy about that. Maybe, many years from now, she'll remember our daughter and how she made it easier. I know I still remember those who did that for me.