This is an absolutely true story Book Index
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Like its politicians and its war, society has the teenagers it deserves. annonymous
During this time my nephew Josh had come down from Kenosha Wisconsin for the summer. Just 15 years old with such promise ahead of him. And handsome with a weird little defect on one ear. Not too noticeable, but to him, it was. He was going to be a director. He loved to make movies. And we were subjected to these films with all the raw humor a young boy can give. They were detective type stories, who dunnits.
When staying with us, Josh got the opportunity to be an only child. Mel took him out in truck with her leg in the cast and let him drive. He was given hundreds of dollars in fireworks which he used responsibly, because he had no choice. And he met a young girl across the street from us who was very smitten with Joshua and initially, it seemed that it was mutual.
We had a party at our house that summer, just a small affair with several of mine and Mel’s friends. Joshua helped in the kitchen preparing hors d'oeuvres. He was quite demanding in the kitchen, he knew everything (but don’t all 15 year olds?). His mother, my sister, Mary, was a cook at many Houston establishments. Café on the Lake, Houston’s, just to name a few. So when she cooked, it was on more of a professional level. I was quick to remind Joshua that if I wanted food prepared in a professional fashion, I would have hired someone else to prepare it for me.
Andy Rooney once said “I don't like food that's too carefully arranged; it makes me think that the chef is spending too much time arranging and not enough time cooking. If I wanted a picture I'd buy a painting. “
He made rouvlaka, that is a chicken liver wrapped around a walnut and then bacon is wrapped around that then he broiled it and oh my God…. It was wonderful. He helped make little mini cheesecakes. My sister was a pro at cheesecakes and I believe she still is. He phoned home, and of course with all his braggadocio, he chose the most exotic. We made key lime – which I begged him not to, I was certain I wouldn’t like it. He also wanted to make an Amaretto cake, but I tried to deter him. While I was distracted with probably either peeking at my beloved garden in the back or perhaps showering, Mel let him drive her truck, with her in tow to get the liquor. And she didn’t drink. That is how charismatic he was. As for the Key Lime pie? It was luscious.
The guests loved him. He would talk to Jerry about music, Keith about the future of film on the internet and John about the problems in teaching. Quite the learned young person.
But the adult-child turned into a typical teenager at the mall. He loved polo shirts or anything Abercrombie and Fitch. I just wanted to give him money, let him shop and meet me back at the food court, but he insisted I come along which was very clever. Had I sent him, I probably would have given him $25 and be done with it. But having me go with him, I realized you could never buy anything other than socks at A/F, I spent well over $100. He was so happy, and so grateful. I felt all he was doing to maintain our familial happiness by taking care of Mel while I was at work was worth far more than the small amount I just spent on him. We left the store to head back to the car when he spotted a kiosk where they sold “Dots”. It was priceless to see the young child come out. I had never tried dots before. I saw them but had no idea what they were. But they were Josh’s favorite and folks…now they are mine. Try them. Schwann’s delivers to the home.
He called home and asked to stay another 4 weeks. My sister Mary gave the ok. It was a blessing for me because when I got home, I didn’t have to immediately start taking care of whatever Mel’s issues needed attending. That was the last summer he spent with us.
He enjoyed computers and I had my issues with him and the computer. I am a proponent of lockdown and total supervision when there are youngsters involved, but Mary allowed the boys to use it in their own private spaces. She needed me to come to Kenosha (for an event that will be detailed later). When I got there immediately she and the boys let in about the computer issues., and we weren’t out of the garage at Midway Airport.
They could never have detailed the issues and it took me an entire day to clean them out and give Mary reports of where they were while surfing the net. From that point, it was up to her to make a decision about where they would be doing their interneting.
I was sitting with Joshua showing him how to use the net as a resource to further his education. I had money at the time, so I told him I would try to help, but that we should seek scholarships. I believed that film schools would hold afford a different criteria than Harvard or Carthage.
Think of all think of the directors we know, do you think they are brilliant mathematicians or scientists? Of course there are some that stand out, but most are unconventional fly by the seat of your pants people.
When I spoke to him about this, a very close family member walked by and said that I should quit encouraging him, he wasn’t Devon. A reminder can instantly turn enthusiasm into aversion and spoil everything. And it did. But Joshua being the type of person that lets things like that affect him much like water off a duck’s back, got up, left the room, then left the house. But I was not fooled; the human psyche is easily fragmented.
An incident frozen in time. Two years after his visit to us in Spring, Texas, he would be taken forever.
My mother called and left a message on my answering machine:
“Dianne you need to call home Joshua is dead, he killed himself.”
By the way IISTG means If It Seems Too Good to be True