When I was in high school this new "kid" showed up. Supposedly a junior. Short guy--maybe 5'4" or so. But I and everyone else realized he was no teenager. The guy was easily 22-23 years old. This shit never did compute for any of us. Everyone who met him commented on the fact that there was no way the guy was a teenager. We didn't shun the guy or anything, but it was so freaking obvious that he was not a teenager. However, there he was--enrolled in classes, making friends. We just all shrugged and said 'what the Hell'. What else were we going to do?
Neither I or any of my pals ever did figure out exactly what was going on. We'd hear stories, but nothing concrete. He had screwed up his life with drugs and straightened out and was given a chance to go back to high school. He was a narc. He was going to marry a girl with a rich father who was trying to instill a sense of purpose in him. All kinds of strange yarns.
This was a very small town--in fact, it was the town upon which James Dickey based his novel DELIVERANCE--Ellijay GA. Keep in mind that Ellijay in those days was just a freaking weird-ass place. Cut off from the rest of the world and kept in some kind of bizarre 1950s-stasis during the 70s when we lived there. This new guy also dated the daughter of one of the town's richest men, so we all assumed this had something to do with that. He showed up as a student AFTER he started dating her.
One thing that I recall is that he wanted to join the football team. I was heavily involved in sports in high school and I remember that he wanted to go out for the team and that the coaches refused to allow him to do so. After this, we all realized that he was far older than he claimed to be--any game would have been forfeited if the outside authorities discovered who he was and how old he was.
It remained a mystery of my high school days. I don't remember if he was around during my senior year--I didn't pay a lot of attention to the guy because I thought the whole situation was creepy. (And, yes, this was long before the '21 Jump Street' premise--but the thought has since crossed my mind that it could have been something like that . Small town though Ellijay was, it was not immune to criminal activity.)
I keep thinking about writing a novel of the things I saw in that town when I was a kid. But of course if I did there would likely be contracts taken out on me to have me killed.
|Class photo. 16 years old. Right.|