Monday, January 10, 2011

Retreat into Dungeons & Dragons

Now that Velvet has gotten used to the idea that he's not going back to school this weekend, he's started hanging out with one of his friends from Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp, whom I'll call Hawk Eye because even though one of his eyes is glass, he's seen a lot.  He has been friends with a kid named Louey since preschool.  Velvet and Louey have been distantly friendly since ninth grade.

Louey comes from a wealthy but irresponsible family.  His mother is a shrink who is remarried and lives in Connecticut.  I've never met her or Louey's father who lives in pricey digs in the East 30s.  From what I have observed, they gave Louey a credit card when he was 14 or so and let him work things out for himself.  His social skills were such that no matter what the occasion, Louey managed to piss off at least half the people there. 

I never got the whole story of Louey's freshman year at college, but it began with him having access to $125,000 and ended with him busted for dealing cocaine and in rehab.  I think his father made him pay for his own lawyer.

I didn't get the whole story of Hawk Eye's college experience either, but I know it involves going to a Catholic College, taking up Bagpipes, marching down Fifth Avenue with the kilted bagpipe corps in the St. Patrick's day parade, heavy drinking, more heavy drinking and a mysterious disease that led to his withdrawal from school.  He and his big brother got their own apartment very far downtown on Water Street.  Louey got an apartment in the same building.

Hawk Eye started hanging out our place after his father died.  Hawk Eye and his father were scuba diving on a family vacation when something went wrong. Hawk Eye watched his father die.  He was 12 or 13.  Even though Buzz Kill and I were going through the divorce for those two or three years, Hawk Eye thought our house was jolly.  His mom fell apart.

A couple of years later, one of their buddies from Hippy Dippy Quaker Camp was killed in an accident.   They were all in Eighth grade at the time.   The next summer, the boy's family came up to camp and we all gathered to plant a tree in honor of the son.  We had a silent meeting, the boys who felt like saying something did, then we sang a bunch of Teddy's favorite songs, including this one:

While we were singing, I was standing next to the mom.  My own heart nearly stopped from the grief pouring out of her.

When the singing was done, we all tossed shovels of dirt into the hole around the tree. One of the boys put in a copy of the the front page of a Boston paper with the story that the Sox beat the Yankees in the Series.  Teddy loved the Boston Red Sox. After Hawk Eye put his dirt into the hole, he knelt down with his knife in his hand. I watched him closely because it looked for all the world to me like he wanted to slit his wrist - but it also looked kind of like he was saluting a comrade. 

What a day.

So Velvet and Hawk Eye have been through a lot together, and now they're playing D&D together again.  It's almost like they've gathered at base camp to center themselves in preparation for setting out into the Wide World again. 

In five weeks, Velvet leaves for Wyoming.


Vancouver Voyeur said...

"It's almost like they've gathered at base camp to center themselves in preparation for setting out into the Wide World again." You are such a wise woman. Most parents wouldn't get this. They might say they were "reverting to childhood" as if that were always a bad thing, but what is it exactly that you do when you revert to childhood? You go back to where you felt safe and stable until you are ready to go back out there. Perfectly normal.

Lisa said...

And once again I'm left breathless by your writing and the way you view things.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Good luck with those two. Seriously.

dissed said...

Regrouping. Good call. Could be a good idea, maybe not, depends on everyone involved. Watch closely.

Susan Tiner said...

I admire your ability to uplevel and take a wider view. I would just worry.

PENolan said...

dissed, as it happens, Louey was a couple of hours late the other night and stalled the game. The guys have grudgingly tolerated Louey's immaturity and self-absorption over the years, but now that he's held up a D&D game, they're on the outs again. If Velvet lives his whole life without ever seeing Louey again, it's okay by me.

Susan, now I'm wondering if I should be worried.

V.V. - That must be why I'm always watching Star Trek.

Lisa, you're very kind.
Doctor, we could all use some good luck these days, eh?

mac said...

I dunno, I might beat this kid of mine to death before he reaches college age ;-)

Wow, is 16 a hard year or what ?

PENolan said...

mac, when I was a senior in high school my mother decided that kids turn into demons when it's getting to be about time for them to leave home. That way, you'll be helping them pack instead of lamenting their departure.

The theory seems to be holding true.

MRMacrum said...

Once again, some excellent writing and great observations.

In my family the theory was to pre-empt the demon stage and ship us off as sophmores in High School. Either that or we three boys were ahead of the demon curve.

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