The best part about Prague, by far, was seeing my old childhood friend Lenny a.k.a. Leo. He is in the process of moving here to start up a new and exciting business. Seeing him brought many memories back from the past. Playing role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons, not to mention a few hours of Old Nintendo games like R.C. Pro-Am. It a was little racing game where you raced with remote control cars that could attack the competition. We played for hours on end. One time Lenny played it straight for 5 or 6 hours collecting the letters that spelled “NINTENDO” multiple times and the game race tracks started to repeat themselves.. There is no ending! Evil!! But I digress.
Of course there are all those memories of growing up that happen in high-school. They range from girls, to parties and bonfires, to heading off to that scary exciting thing called college. One of the strongest memories I have with Lenny is when we both volunteered to be away from home for weeks at a time for the first time in our lives. Imagine not having any parental units looking over you. I am talking about Camp Millhouse, in South Bend, Indiana, for mentally handicapped children. It was not until a few years later that the the more PC term “special needs” children came out. It was the year of 1989, the summer of 8th grade, at the tender age of 13 & 14. The next school year we would move from grade school, at Schumker, to the big new multi-million dollar mega-size Penn high-school across the street. It was an awakening age, that time of growth, on many levels.
We came to the summer camp as counselors in training, or C.I.T’S, and volunteered on and off for several weeks that first summer and in later years. One summer Lenny got away from his challenging family and became a full time camp counselor. We changed diapers on adults, fed kids who had no ability to feed themselves, met amazing people, not to mention girls. It was a time of many firsts. First make-outs and even more, like discovery of those yummy girl bits. There is so much that I could write tomes on it.
That experience led me to become a full-time camp counselor. I taught arts & crafts at various camps during the summer months while I attended university. In 1994 & 1995, I was at a YMCA in California and in 2000 I was at an “at-risk” youth camp in Michigan.
It was great seeing Lenny and hearing about all the things he has accomplished in his life so far. He was a great host showing us all around. We even got to meet some of his new friends. He and I got pretty drunk one night and saw some cool old bars in dark spaces and in under ground vaults. We both wished we had more time to hang out. We both made comments while in the states that we rarely visited each other and yet here we were in Prague on the other side of the world and we had made the time. Isn’t life funny that way?