Sam Carsley, my life-long friend, and his lovely wife Lita. When I said "life-long" friend I mean it. We both met in the Clay Homes when we were toddlers. I was a "free-range" kid, going anywhere I wanted. Sam was under the eyes of a protective mother and grandmother and rarely got out of the apartment, and even then, with his mother or grandmother firmly holding his hand.
However, in their apartment I remember he wore socks without shoes. I thought that was cool. Much cooler than me barefooted without socks or shoes.
Sam never met his father. His father was on a Navy Ship when a Japanese Kamikaze - Suicide airplane crashed into his area. My father did what he could to so fatherly things for Sam.
When we were grammar school age one year Sam had a leg operation and was out for some time. He kept his studies and assignments going, thanks to me bringing his work to him every day. And another year in grammar school he had an eye operation, and thanks to me again and my pickup and delivery system Sam got through the school year with good grades, better than his personal postman.
In high school, we were secretly smoking then, I would go to his and his mother's duplex apartment on Hedges Street. She would stay in her back bedroom and we smoked with the front door open and a fan blowing out. I remember one time we ran out of cigarettes. We made an elaborate plan for me to leave and go get a pack. Theplan: Sam would say loudly, "HA! I am out of notebook paper, do you have any?"
And I would look and loudly say, "I'm out too. I'll go get some. I'll be right back!"
When the plan went into action, by that time I was lost in a problem. Sam said, according to plan, "HA! I am out of notebook paper, do you have any?"
I looked up from the problem I was working on and said, something like, "Huh?"
He repeated himself.
I said, "Sure!" and handed him a whole pack of notebook paper and went back to work on the problem I was working on.
Things got quiet. I looked up and he was glaring at me.
Then I realized I goofed. "Oh shit!" I said loudly.
Then we both bent over laughing so hard my stomach hurt.
Sam died in 2013.
Sam died in 2013.