It's amazing what brings people together and makes them friends!
|PROLOGUE: All I'd originally had in mind was getting one of those big, juicy, yummy eating oranges from a vending machine in the student center...
We met in a summer school class right after the Fourth Of July in 1975.
At the time, one of the vending machines in the student center sold fresh oranges (as in the kind you peel and eat) that were either ten or twenty cents.
I went to get one before class and found that I only had a twenty dollar bill and not enough change to buy the orange. As the bookstore wasn't open, I couldn't go in there to get change. I decided to ask different ones of my classmates if they happened to have change, but they didn't either--that is, with the exception of one young man.
He gave me the money I needed, and I promised him that I would pay him back as soon as the bookstore opened. He told me not to bother, but I told him that I owed it to him, so I would. After all, I didn't even know the guy, and I was perfectly capable of paying my debts. He certainly didn't owe me an orange just because I happened to crave one but had come unprepared to buy it.
As it turned out, the bookstore had opened by the time a break in class had arrived, so I made change. Mark (as I would soon find out his name was) had followed me over there, and I told him that I had his money. He kept pushing it away but followed me on into The Campus Cupboard where the vending machines were and where there were chairs and tables.
Although I was never able to repay his money, he did accept a couple of segments of my delicious orange while we sat there and got to know each other.
After class was over, I accepted his invitation to ride along with him and keep him company while he ran some errands. After that, he brought me back to campus so I could pick up my car, and we both then went to my apartment where we visited some more.
Originally, I'd planned on getting with different lab-partners as a way of getting to know more of my classmates, but I decided that, instead, I would stick with Mark as a lab-partner for the rest of the class (physics & chemistry).
I would later learn that Mark had been screwed over by several people and found it refreshing that I wanted to pay back a mere dime or two--so he'd decided that he had to get to know me better.
Anyway, the rest is history, as they say...
But a day or so after we'd met, he brought his "gee-tahr" to campus with him. After class was over, he went to get it out of his "bright-green pleasure machine" (his name for his car, which was taken from a Simon & Garfunkel song--the phrase, that is, not the car) and took it to The Campus Cupboard.
He told me that he wanted to dedicate a song to me and then sang (while accompanying himself on guitar) I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends. From that time on, whenever I hear this song, I always think of Mark and the summer of 1975.
Class--whatever tuition was and resulted in a D so that I was considered passing it and meeting the requirement of taking it in order to graduate when the time came to graduate (1976).
Orange--ten or twenty cents and well worth the cost. In fact, it was worth a whole lot more.
Meeting Mark and having a special friend for life--PRICELESS!!!