Friday, May 1, 2015

Reflection #14/40

Remember Choose Your Own Adventure books? Back in 1984, I was a big fan of them. I would check them out of the school library. One day, near the beginning of 4th grade, I saw that another kid had checked out Choose Your Own Adventure book #10, The Lost Jewels of Nabooti, by R.A. Montgomery. I asked him about it, and we started talking. And that is how I became friends with Dale Floyd French.

Floyd—he went by “Floyd” at the time, though later by “Dale,” and later still by “Floyd” again, depending on who you were—was confident, outgoing, and smart. He won the 4th grade spelling bee. He was an academic star. If that wasn’t enough, he was also a really good artist. The two of us started drawing comics, at first separately, to show each other on the bus in the morning, but later in collaboration.

Probably our greatest creation was the Barn Bots. They were heroic robot animals who could transform into farm equipment. To, you know, hide on the farm. Their base was a run-down old barn, that was secretly a high-tech fortress in disguise. They waged a never-ending war with the evil Swamp Bots. I was the one who came up with the name Barn Bots; Floyd created and designed the best characters, like Slop (pig who turns into a fence) and Rep-Turkey (turkey who turns into a snake).

In addition to comics, we also wrote our own line of books, cleverly titled “Pick Your Own Adventure.” We wrote tons of those things. They had names like “Wacky Weather,” “It’s Not True—Oh Yes, It Is!” and (my favorite) “Your Appliances Are Alive!”

It was with young Floyd French that I learned the joys of writing and drawing stories, something I’ve kept with me ever since. And, out of all the people I knew back then, he's the only one I've kept in touch with ever since. He's no longer the same self-confident, eager kid he used to be--"not self-confident" is quite an understatement--but he's a good artist, and all these years later he's still my friend. Thanks to R.A. Montgomery.

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