Friday, May 12, 2006

“the kid that jumped into the bushes”

Many years have passed since Mark and I spent hours together talking, listening to music, driving around town, and “hanging out” with our friends but he never seemed far away because I thought of him so often.

Mark and I met in the early 80s while in junior high. I don’t remember meeting him or when we actually became friends but over time we developed a special bond that kept me connected to him over the years, even though we lost touch with each other after high school. I would like to share some of my thoughts and memories of Mark with you, the people who loved and cared about him, like I did.

One time, Mark rode his bike to my house and a bunch of us ended up playing football in the side yard. As most boys do in 7th grade, he was showing off. Someone threw a pass over his head and he ran and jumped to catch it. Unfortunately for him, he landed in the hedge and had to be pulled out by my father. Dad had to drive him home because he was all cut up. From then on, at my house, he was known as “the kid that jumped into the bushes”.

“Mark’s school picture from 1983 –
I believe it is his 7th grade picture.”

Mark and I were in the percussion section together at both West Junior High and Ashtabula High School. I was a year older than Mark and should have been coaching him in the band but that couldn’t have been further from what was actually going on. Of course, he was a natural and unfortunately, I wasn’t very good – I was lucky to hit the head of the snare drum without dropping my stick. Mark spent a lot of time helping me to “feel the music” - although my skills only improved slightly, we had a great time trying. He never made a negative comment about my lack of skills or about anyone who wasn’t as good as him, he just seemed to enjoy being around people who loved music like he did. Even though he was exceptional, he was also very humble and kind.

High school was a tumultuous time but Mark made it easier and more enjoyable. He was nonjudgmental, respectful, funny, thoughtful, dependable, loving and generous. Reading the other comments, I was pleased to see that his life was full of people who appreciated those things about him.

Often, Mark and I would sit and talk for hours - either alone or with friends. I can’t remember what we talked about but time always seemed to pass too quickly.

”Mark, Dave DeGeorge, Kevin Cherry, and me in 1987”

I will always cherish my time with Mark and think of him with a warm heart.

Rest in peace Mark.

- Stacey


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