Weird Eddie

'Grasshopper Face' by Boris Smokrovic (unsplash.com)‘Grasshopper Face’ by Boris Smokrovic (unsplash.com)

My Real Memoir

Eddie was different. He sort of looked Chinese, and I liked that. He also talked different, and very little. And even though he was bigger, he didn’t seem as smart as me, but I didn’t mind. His mom seemed grateful when I visited, and offered non-stop treats. But Eddie had two big obsessions which kept us outside.

First, he collected string. Even the tiniest pieces were treasures. The moment Eddie found one, he’d add it to his humungous ball of string. Which I found kind of boring. But what happened next wasn’t!

One day, Eddie took his giant ball of string to a big tree out front, and began ceremoniously stringing it from limb to limb. He started with the lowest limbs, then climbed to reach the rest–and I got to help. After two days, the tree was a colossal spider’s web of string!

And then the fun began.

Eddie climbed up above the highest strings, and then dove down into the spider’s web, bouncing from level to level until he’d reached the ground! And so I did it too. It was epic! Once we’d reached the grass, we did it again! And again, and again, until we’d finally broken most of the string. Then Eddie began lovingly re-building his giant string ball for some future colossal spider’s web event!

Eddie’s other obsession was collecting grasshoppers. Cool, yes, but… He’d add the grasshoppers to his Red Flyer wagons after tearing off one of their legs in order to make them stay. “No!” I shouted, and ordered him to stop! But he absolutely refused. Which was not OK with me (remember the parakeets?).

So one day, while Eddie was inside, I pulled his wagons to the front yard and set all 200 grasshoppers free! When Eddie came back out, he was devastated. He screamed forever it seemed, and then sat down and began tearing up of handfuls of grass. I went home, thinking, Boy, Eddie really is weird.

I felt good, heroic, noble. So, even when Eddie’s mom told my mom about the Great Grasshopper Liberation, I refused to apologize. I was grounded for a week, but even then refused to relent. It turns out I rather enjoyed martyrdom.

Mommandad finally sat me down and explained: Eddie was what some people back then called a “mongoloid,” a type of “retarded” boy (he was much older than me), which gave him those “Chinese” eyes* I liked. He wouldn’t be going to kindergarten with me that fall, or ever, they said.

After that, I felt bad for Eddie and sort of apologized. On some level, it seemed, he was a one-legged grasshopper. But when school began and I found myself surrounded by “normal” kids, I suddenly felt like Weird Eddie myself. So from then on I made a point of befriending other weird kids…

Like me. 

My Real Memoir is a series. To read the next one, click here.

*Some people with Down Syndrome (the old term “mongoloid” was based on outdated, racist theories) have slightly upward slanting eyes.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Weird Eddie

  1. Pingback: My First Friend | Mitch Teemley

  2. I was a weird kid. But I’m certain that you’ve already guessed that. :-}

    Liked by 5 people

  3. What a great story! I had a big ball of string, too, but I never could think of anything that cool to do with it. My mother just cut off a piece every time she needed string, and it lasted her long past my graduation.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Eva Hnizdo says:

    Nice blog

    Liked by 3 people

  5. gpavants says:

    Mitch,

    Isn’t is cool how the Lord brings all sorts of people into our lives so we learn to share Christ with Whosover is ready?

    In Christ, Gary

    Liked by 4 people

  6. The spider web sounds like an amazingly fun thing for outdoor adventuresome fun. My boys did many outlandish things but that’s not one of them.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Dora says:

    Got strong Steinbeck vibes from this post. I’m glad toddler-you set the grasshoppers free and I wish this world was not so broken with suffering for people like Eddie, and I’m grateful to God for the wonderful parts of being weird . . . and alive.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Pingback: ReBlogging ‘Weird Eddie’ – Link Below | Relationship Insights by Yernasia Quorelios

  9. pastorpete51 says:

    I have some downs syndrome friends and am so glad that in some places down these children are being much more included. (Sad to say some seem to want them eliminated) Beautifully and honestly told. Blessings

    Liked by 3 people

  10. annieasksyou says:

    I like this a lot. With considerable economy and picturesque images, you described a profound social issue so the humanity of the individual and the special nature of your friendship stood out.

    I’m glad we’ve progressed so that in many places now, today’s Eddies are mainstreamed and can hold on to friendships such as yours.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Nancy Ruegg says:

    ‘Love how Eddie (even with Down Syndrome) fostered positive, life-altering change in you, making you sensitive to the misfits in the world. Beautiful!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Such an important life lesson from your friendship with Weird Eddie.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. hahahaha. You Enjoyed martyrdom. 😀
    great story! love it!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. pkadams says:

    We are the normal ones 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I love that story! God bless the Eddies of our day.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Kally says:

    Brilliant story!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Pingback: Expressing My True Self | Mitch Teemley

  18. What a nice story. Totally engrossed while reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Pingback: The Year I Turned Shy | Mitch Teemley

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