Chapter 1: Elementary School Years (K-6)
All of my elementary school years were spent in Ridgewood, New Jersey. I remember going to school everyday at Somerville Elementary. This is only significant because there were a bunch of different schools, all obviously having to do with where you lived. I think there were like 5. But also, all of my friends went there. It was me, Peter English, Dougie Burek, Ryan Monroe, Cooper Shreve, Matt Myatt, Ned Winner, Frank Melli, Brian Wennersten and Michael Springer. Somehow every year, at least 2 or 3 of us were always in the same class. I guess I was well liked back then, by both my peers and teachers, as I was always chosen to be the lead in plays, and to represent the class at things. In fact I gave an Oscar winning performance Santa in my 2nd grade play, Santa and his magical computer. I was chosen to play the role of "Old Man" in a play about China or something, don't really remember to be honest. But I did everything with those guys. We were always playing football, basketball, wiffle ball or something in someone's backyard.
In terms of learning during this time, it was all at a moderate pace, and I don't really remember having any problem keeping up. My Mom used to take me Hackensack Hospital, a learning center for people who had trouble learning at a normal pace. I never understood why I went there, until my parents told me I had a learning disability, which to me just meant I needed to work harder. My ADHD didn't really affect me in my daily life, I just remember getting really hyper from time to time, and that was remedied by being given But when it came to grades, I did pretty well, earning all Es (excellents) and Gs (Goods), with like one S (satisfactory) in handwriting. I actually was made a teacher's helper in both 4th and 5th grade, which meant I got to help grade papers, and help kids with their math, spelling, etc. Also, I was picked for Critical thinking, which was a big deal because only the "smartest" kids got picked for that, and there you got to talk about advanced things like, geometry and books that you had read.
Otherwise, I remember my elementary school years for the sports I played. I played Little League Baseball, Soccer, and Biddy Basketball. My mom wouldn't let me play because she thought, despite me being one of the bigger kids in school, that I would get hurt. I was on travelling all-star teams for all of the sports, and was thinking about sports 24-7 then. I played in 3 basketball leagues at a time, Biddy, YMCA, and my All-star team. In 4th grade my dad coached both my Biddy team, and my all-star team. I still like to give him a hard time about taking me out of a tournament game against Neptune, NJ where I scored the first 8 points of the game, in fact our only 8 points in the quarter to keep us in the game! Then he left me out until the 4th quarter. We ended up losing by 22 points. 22! I was feeling it, should've left me in. Also, the great thing about playing sports was that there were stats involved. After every game we played, my brothers and I would talk about what kind of numbers we were putting up. It was a big deal to outscore the others. At one point, I held the record for most points scored in an organized basketball game with 26 in 4th grade, which stood until my younger brother broke it with 28 points when he was a senior in high school. The first thing he did after that game? Called both me and my older brother at college to let us know the mark had fallen. We were a very competitive bunch. To this day, we talk about these things at Thanksgiving.
5th and 6th grade were very big for me in terms of change in my life. In 5th grade, within a span of 6 months I lost all of my grandparents, including my great Uncle Johnny. There are 3 days in my life that I remember everything I did the entire day, and my Grandma dying is one of them. The other two will come later. I came home from school, was sitting in...