We first met at a high school football game. We were in the 7th grade, our last year of grammar school. My friends and I would go to the football game to hang out. We had no real interest in the game.
Beside the cement seats on one side was a grassy bank. That was a hangout for 7th graders – high school wannabee students. At that time there were about 4 or 5 grammar schools in Marietta. And maybe of all those schools maybe each school had four or five 7th grade unauthorized representatives. There might have been as many as 25 7th graders on that bank, and all but your close friends from your own school were potential enemies.
That is what Tommy and I viewed each other as at first: potential enemies. It didn’t help that we got in some kind of scuffle and rolled down the hill trying to punch each other.
After about the second or third summit on the grassy hill it was understood we each came to face off…. But much of it was dares and dirty looks at each other.
The next year when all us ex-7th graders met under the one roof of the Junior High School I found out Tommy’s family was one of the most known families in Marietta - his father owned the Chevrolet dealership.
We continued snarling at each other, showing each other that each was not afraid. We had several pushing contests, which might equal to young male goats butting heads… but we knew when to stop and not get hurt or get into trouble.
Through the eight and ninth grades Tommy continues to be an asshole every time we passed in the hall way.
Tommy had two siblings, two twins a boy and a girl. I got along great with the girl. The boy twin was sort of timid and an introvert… so, we hardly ever got to know each other.
After Tommy turned 16 his father got him a 56 Chevrolet, green and white. I remember one time hitchhiking and he came by and slowed down like he was going to give me a ride and shot me a bird. That is one boy that held a grudge.
This animosity continued throughout our high school years. We never got close.
His father was a very gracious hard working man. One night during our Valentine’s Banquet, because it was snowing, I slid into a ditch. Tommy’s father materialized and he and a black man worked for an hour or so to get back on the pavement and then drove away before I could thank him property. That was his thing on snowy nights, is to ride around and give help to stalled and stuck autos.
Hardly anybody liked Tommy. They thought he was a snobbish asshole – what do I mean, “thought”?
I think his father had a heart to heart talk with him and told him if he wanted to hold his family position as one of Marietta finest elite he had to get in and do a little mischief with the locals…. The next couple of levels down in the caste system…. Show them you are one of them… go with them to tip a few cows over or something…. Win their respect.
One night Tommy was at the drive-in we hung out at. He was right in the middle of everything. He acted like we were best friends.
Recycled from a post on Chicken-fat in 2006:
One conversation led to another and before a few of us, including Tommy was making plans to hijack some watermelons off a watermelon truck. Back then there were no Interstate expressways. On federal and state highways with traffic lights and all. The Chattahoochee River separated Cobb County from Atlanta. On each side of the Chattahoochee was a huge hill. The US 41 Highway, coming out of Atlanta had to climb that steep hill. We have noticed that these loaded down flatbed trucks with watermelons could barely make it up the hill. Also, half way of the hill, was a driveway, going off to someone’s summer home overlooking the Chattahoochee.
The plan was for us to park in the drive way with the lights out. With the truck came struggling by we would simply pull out of the drive way, get behind the truck and a couple of us run along between the truck and the car and pull watermelons off and hand them off to who was in the car.
Tommy was to be one of the watermelon relayers. The planned failed. The driver must have looked in his rearview mirror. He stopped and jumped out with a iron pipe ready to defend his watermelons.
Which scared us, we outside scattered and the car fled like a scalded cat.
But the most important thing is that Tommy bonded with us.
Last year he died, it was rumored he died after being in a coma for a year "after that gun incident.”