He was a year younger than me and we lived next door to each other since he was 4. In many ways he was just like any other boy. He would catch turtles, frogs, crawdads, fish, and any other creature of the creepy crawly variety from the nearby creek. He taught me where to hold a turtle so as not to be bitten. Taught me the different types of turtles and showed me soft shelled water turtles I had never seen or heard of before. He taught me that crawdads swim backwards and in order to catch one you had to have your net behind them.
He could walk, jump, and ride bikes with the best of us. He couldn't run very well, although his fist were balled up in front of him and pumping, his lower half didn't fully cooperate so he barely got up to a jog.
We played together often but as we got older I found less and less time for him. Truth was, as time went on I didn't like him much. I was getting more mature and engrossed in who liked who, and who said what about who while Bobby was still catching creepy crawlies. He was gross too, eating jelly and ketchup on eggs, rarely having his mouth closed. He would get off of the short yellow bus in the afternoons and if I was outside, he would declare to everyone that I was his girlfriend. At his house he would often come out of the bathroom without his pants. Though not something I cared to witness his was the first I ever saw of the male anatomy.
My Mom told me that Bobby was mentally retarded. When I asked what caused that to happen to him, she said these things happened sometimes when the Mother was malnourished during pregnancy. So I imagined my poor neighbor not being able to feed herself while pregnant and now having to pay the consequence.
This is what Connor has taught me;
1. That goofy run Bobby would do was the cutest, though I didn't think so at the time, I do now.
2. Bobby's Mother was not starved during pregnancy. She was/is a hardworking, brave, and caring woman that loves her son very much.
3. Either my Mom didn't like to admit she didn't know something or she was misinformed.
4. Autism and Mental Retardation are different animals when it comes to eye contact, communication, socialization. Bobby had no problems in these areas.
5. They are the same in that they both have special needs.
6. Don't judge a parent by the actions of a child.
7. I had been a very judgemental person.
8. Don't Judge!
9. I could have been a better friend to Bobby.
10. Sometimes it is the youngest and smallest that teach the best life lessons.