My first friend, Evan, lived in a two-story house that sat
on this lot near the Sterling Synagogue, on the opposite
end of the block from me.
(This Blog entry was originally written on July 28, 2012)
My brother Mike stopped in the gas station tonight while I was working. I don’t see him often since he’d moved out due to a whole lot of work. So long, in fact, I had forgotten where he lived. I asked him if he still lived at the first place he moved to. Nope.
Then he said something about wanting to move into a brick apartment on 6th Avenue in Sterling. Not the large complex, but a red-bricked one that is located on the same block that our family used to live from 1988 to 1993. We lived on 11th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, and at the other end of the alley is the Temple Sholom. (Just reminded me of another story for another time).
I had asked Mike if he knew that the place he was looking at was the same block of the first house that he’s ever lived in. He doesn’t remember much of his time in this particular neighborhood, but I remember a few things about it.
The place that Mike is looking at is right next to a vacant lot which once stood the house of the very first friend that I ever had.
We are going back a little more than 20 years. I was five years old and a pre-schooler, and at that time I was interested in exploring outside of my own confines of the front yard. We lived right next to the alley, which served as my “main drag” of sorts. That, and the sidewalk along 11th Street were the bike paths I would go up and down on.
Apparently there was someone else that had wanted to explore more of what the world is like outside of the front yard. His name was Evan. Eventually we met up at some far away point outside of our mothers’ eyes. He was maybe 3 or 4 years old. I’d like to say we were along 6th Avenue when we met. There was another older kid that lived on the corner of 6th/11th, and it was probably through this connection. Evan had an older brother named Randy and an older sister (whose name escapes me).
He was the first friend that would come over to my house and play. Likewise, I would come over to his house as well. I would take the alley down to a cut-across behind the Synagogue and cross Wilson Avenue behind another house to get to his back door. What made things fun was that he was the only kid my age on our block. There were a couple of kids on 5th Avenue who were much older, about the same age as this one kid on the corner duplex.
Since we were the same age, we played with the same toys, and did the same things and other kid-friend things like that. I had already been well-acquainted with the original Nintendo system, and I likely introduced him to that.
The biggest “thrill” at the time was daring each other to walk up the fire escape of the synagogue to the 2nd story (remember, I was no older than 6 and he was no older than 5.). I don’t know who got up there first, probably me. We would do some other ruckus near the synagogue. At the back of the building there were some weeds – you know, the green ones that you could slightly bend and they were break in half. We would chop those down once in a while. Another synagogue memory involved this arborvitae tree with an opening on the side. It was climbable to where we could reach the top of the awning on the synagogue patio. Can’t remember if Evan was a part of that or not.
When I was in pre-school class, he was attending Early Bird. He was still attending Early Bird when I started going to Jefferson School for kindergarten.
If it hadn’t been for Evan, I probably wouldn’t have known what friendships were all about. It was in Kindergarten that I met my friends Nick and Josie, and later Seth – who I’ve known for years.
I moved to Rock Falls in August of 1993. I have never seen or heard from Evan since.