It was November 30, 1985 in the late afternoon. I recall that it was a cold day, and the almanac gets my memory’s back here. My birthday earlier in the month was the second-latest of all us sixth graders. (Ryan Lockwood’s was, of course, just before Thanksgiving). I sat with the Swell Guys and Ryan—and probably Bill Butler and Tom Clemons, and maybe a few others—in the center of a theater at the Chicago Ridge Mall watching two muscular, hairless men—one black, the other white—pummel each other on a giant screen. It could have been Friday, the 29th, but… I guess it doesn’t matter.
For this brief period, before the December and January birthdays began, we were all 11 years old. All the same age. All on the cusp of our teenage years. Yet one of us was quite different.