By Errol Hammond –
We all change when we grow up. Some change for the better, some for the worse. It really all depends on who you grow up with and how you’re raised. I lived in Willow Street but went to a Catholic school which was a challenge, because I wasn’t then and I’m still not Catholic. I felt like going to a really strict Catholic school was a waste of my sixth grade year. Don’t get me wrong, great schooling, but the people were somewhat stuck up. Kids went hard wearing Wallabies and Clarks, overpriced leather shoes that people wear when they have nothing else to do with their money. Being a senior now, it seems like it was swag or the swagger you have when you know you are rockin’ the best. But then, I would just think to myself ‘why would your dad get you the same shoes as he wears, just in your size.’ The kids in my grade who I hung out with and went to Penn Manor wore simple stuff. Nike shoe hand-me-downs, Air Walks, Moccasin, Slip on Sneakers, Sketchers, and other PayLess and K-mart brands like Route 66.
But really what 10-year-old doesn’t want to go to school where your neighborhood friends go. I mean it would be hanging with them all day, then waiting for them to come ring the door to go play outside. Pequea Elementary was where I belonged. My older siblings went there but I was the lucky one and went straight to (Catholic School).
I made sure my parents knew how I felt and suddenly they agreed, I could change – back to my neighborhood public school. I changed in other ways, too. I got fat. By the end of my sixth grade summer, I was a 190 pounds. That’s kind of fat. But in the end I went to Pequea ,so thats all that mattered at the time. Good change?
I was the big black kid that you just wanted to have as a good friend, not a enemy. But I’d say I was rather nice for the most part. Just bigger than most of my friends… Okay all of my friends… Never a physical bully. Unless the rare occasions when my friends would get enough courage to all attack me from different angles. Never actually went well.. For them.
It was great when three of your 120 pound friends have enough chutzpah to charge me at the same time. Especially when it’s your middle school friends Marc Summy, Cheyenne Weber and Matt Ulmer. Which it always starts off with everyone chilled out then turns into a war. Extra weight can come in hand other times, like for instance, just bouncing each other higher and higher on the 8-year-old worn and rusty trampoline until someone flies really high. But somehow we go from jumping, laughing and doing tricks, too being in a pitch black basement shooting each other with shotguns, pistols, snipers, and different (air soft guns). That’s when being big was good because the hard plastic bullets shooting at 10 ft per second would just bounce of my muscle. Well according to my brother, my muscle was “frozen fat.”
So when you say that you loved me more when I was a fat body. I don’t know what to really say to that… “Thanks?” or “Haha, I know right?” So it can sometimes be weird when I see family, friends and peers I haven’t seen since eighth or ninth grade. Yeah, I was fat even after sixth too, it wasn’t gonna lose weight in my sleep.
I’ve heard all the fat jokes… Yes, even the TV show comparisons like, Cory from “That so Raven,” Little Bear from Nickelodeon, sometimes Little Bill from the Cosby Books… when I had glasses.. even Arthur.
I changed up again by going to Lancaster Catholic for the great football program in ninth grade. I played varsity in 9th grade because I was big and strong enough to help the team win games. We were Section Champions and my 285 pound frame got to start in four varsity games. Don’t get me wrong I loved the football, but I felt the schooling wasn’t right for me and missed my Comet family. Plus, most of the people were still stuck up.
Sophomore year I did a repeat and came back to Penn Manor for the rest of my high school career, which I’m finishing my senior year. I now weigh 210 pounds and feel great. The choices I made I learned from and changed me for the better. I can say that the people that I grew up with helped me change for the better. Now moving on to another chapter of my life, I hope to change up things (again) and get out of high school.