When I started kindergarten, because my parents weren't very wealthy and there was no school bus, I had to walk to school
I was afraid to walk by this house where Mr. Thompson lived. People said he was an old kookie man so I thought that he was scary.
I tried to walk below the hedges but he saw me.
The old man said, "Hey there kid. Have a great day at school."
I ran off afraid that he was going to do something like kidnap me.
The school day went well, and I had to walk home... I didn't want to go past Mr. Thompson's house but I only knew the way home past Mr. Thompson's house. So I walked back that way, and sure enough he greeted me again, but this time he was going out to the mailbox.
I got a good look at him. He looked a bit like my Grandpa's brother from a picture I saw.
Mr. Thompson said to me, "Hello again. How was your day at school?"
I shouted, "MOMMY TOLD ME NOT TO TALK TO STRANGERS!" and I ran home. I didn't tell Mom or Dad about what happened.
Until the end of kindergarten I this was the daily norm.
My parents had finally saved up enough money to afford a car and then I would get a ride to school.
But when I got to school, I saw the janitor. It was Mr. Thompson. I thought he was stalking me, and every time I saw him, I'd try to hide before he'd see me... but if he did see me, all he would say would be "Hello"
One day... I ended up bumping into him in the hallway, I was so scared.
He said, "Hi kid. You remind me of my nephew."
I was confused and asked, "Wh-who is your nephew?"
Mr. Thompson responded, "His name is Gerald Richards."
I stammered nervously, ".... My last name is Richards..."
Mr. Thompson smiled and said, "I know, Alex, I'm your Great Uncle. Everytime I said hello, I didn't want to scare you by calling you by your first name. I just was going to ask if you needed a ride to school. But because you ran away, I wouldn't be able to tell you that I'm related to you so you wouldn't be scared of me."
I was relieved and I said, "Sorry Great Uncle Thompson that I ran away, I thought you were a stranger."
"No worries. And you can call me Uncle Roger."
Uncle Roger and I became close through out the course of the school year. My Mom and Dad let me visit with him. He helped me with my homework and he sometimes drove me to school so I could go on the monkey bars before the big kids would come and tell me to scram.
But then one day. Uncle Rogers had to go to the hospital. I was worried and I asked Mom if I could visit him. She said she was too busy. Then I asked Dad, but he said he had to finish a powerpoint presentation for work.
I decided I would walk to the hospital myself. I walked across town, to the hospital and went to the desk and asked, "Ma'am do you know where my Uncle Roger Thompson is?"
She asked me where my parents were and I said, "Lady! I walked all the way here because Mom and Dad were too busy, and I wanted to see my Uncle! Please take me to him!"
So she took me to my Uncle's hospital room. And I saw him. He was hooked up to all kinds of beeping machines.
I walked up to him and asked him what had happened.
"Oh... it's just one of my tubes got blocked up and my heart wanted to take a short nap." he said trying to make sure I wouldn't worry.
I hugged him and said, "Uncle Roger, don't let your heart take a nap again... I was worried you got badly hurt."
My Mom and Dad came to take me home, but I didn't want to go. I wanted to stay with my Uncle Roger.
But they told me I'd be grounded if I didn't come home with them... but I felt that if I left Uncle Roger would take a turn for the worse.
That night I woke up to my parents talking in the other room. I pressed my ear against the wall and found out Uncle Roger had something called a heart attack.
I started crying, and Mom and Dad came into my room
I asked, "Mom... is Uncle Roger ok?"
Mom replied, "Uncle Roger... passed away."
I cried and cried as I hugged my Mom.
My Dad said, "Alexander Rodriguez Richards! Men don't cry!"
My Mom glared at him and said, "Your son just lost his best friend in the whole world. Show some respect."
I didn't go to school for a week because I was mourning pretty badly...
But I knew that when I would be 65 or older, I wanted to be a janitor at my great nephew's school, so I could be like my Uncle Roger.