Monday, October 17, 2011
His name is Gary Kinzey, and although he died the other day (October 15) and his life became a "was", I like to think his name remains an "is".
It is in my thoughts, it is in my faded memories and it is in various records somewhere. His name and he will always be part of me until I also travel that last avenue.
This is the only photo I have of him as a boy, in the time I knew him as a friend. Film was costly then, to buy and to get developed. For that reason I didn't take as many pictures as I may have wished. It was taken in front of another friend's home, Stuart Meisel, looking toward Lancaster Avenue. The date I have on this is 1952, when Gary would have been 11.
There is a story about the bike. It will seem an odd one to the children of today with their tricked up little X-games stunt bikes, but that bike was too small. Things were larger then; cars were larger, bikes were larger. The bike may not look that small, but for it's day it was. Notice how the seat is pulled high up on the shaft. The diameter of the wheels on his bike were 24 inches; the rest of us had bikes with 26 inch wheels. Two inches may not seem much, but in those days when it came to wheels, size mattered.
And yes, Gary was sensitive about his smaller bike.
We often feel different in life over insignificant and unimportant things.
When I say he died "not so far away" it is because he lived on a street not so far from me and died at home. But I only knew he lived there and only saw him at a high school reunion a couple years ago. My friendship with him was from that now distant time of childhood, when we were sometimes close friends and sometimes not. So now after nearly sixty years much of those days has blurred and faded.
I know I met Gary when we were very young, somehow, somewhere. He lived in apartments a couple blocks east of me and then, I believe, in a small house near where the Farmers' Market stood just outside of town. He seems to have flickered in and out of my boyhood because he moved and I moved and sometimes we were near and sometimes not.
He played the saxophone and I the trumpet.
My room was full of comic books; his had stacks of Popular Electronics.
I thought him an electronics genius. In Junior High he came to class with a fountain pen in his pocket; except, it wasn't a fountain pen at all. It was a radio he had built inside a pen's shell.
His nickname was Sparky.
One of my last memories of Gary was also in Junior High. We were walking side-by-side between classes and for whatever reason, he began to punch me on the upper arm. Every so many steps down the corridor, wham, a punch to my arm. He ignored my pleas to stop and finally I turned and popped him back, at which point Mr. Caskey grabbed me by the shoulder and hauled me to the principal's office. One of the few times I ever got in trouble in school.
Strange the things we recall.
(Left - Gary in 2002 at Downingtown High School class picnic at Dave Fidler's. Photo taken by Ronald Tipton.)