You would have been 19 years old today, buddy. I had a bottle of whiskey I was going to crack open with you today. It's a shame that I drank it six years ago, it would have been exquisite by now...
Another year has passed and lots of things have been happening. The biggest news is you're in a movie! I wish I could see your reaction to that. I had no idea your picture was going to be in it. The movie is called "Bully" and it's a big hit, so lots of people will learn about kids like you. There are thousands of them. I'm going to see it later this week, it's going to be awfully hard to watch, but it's something I have to do. Knowing I'll get to see you on the big screen has helped a lot.
You're not the only one who's in the movies, bud. Speak Out - The Documentary has won a Gold Kahuna at the Honolulu Film Awards! I wrote to the CEO of Gay Lea and sent him a link to the video. He was so moved that he offered to pay for Alix's flight, so he can go to the ceremony, and receive his award. Your story has that affect on people, son.
Just the other day, a lady came into my office wearing a Speak Out T-shirt. When I complimented her on it, she started telling me all about the movement, and why I should join the cause. She started talking about the video, and I just kind of smiled and gave her a minute to notice who she was talking to. It just about floored her when she realized, lol!
The story I wrote about you has been published in the book version of "Ironsides", as well. It's coming out June 1st, I can't wait to receive my copy! I'm so proud to tell your story to so many people. Tasha still tells people about you whenever she gets a chance to, she's doing much better now and thinks about, as she puts it, "all the good stuff".
Schools are starting to get the message, but we still have a lot of work to do. There are still kids going through what you went through. The most important thing is that kids are changing their attitudes, it's becoming cool to stand up and speak up for victims. Your story is part of what's causing that, Steven. I was recognized by a student in the pet food store last week. The girl behind the counter kept looking at me kind of funny, then finally got up the nerve to ask if I "was in a movie about bullying?", so the message is getting through to the kids.
Finster is still here, but he's really showing his age now. I have to carry him anytime we have to go up a set of stairs, and his walks are taking longer than ever, even though they're also shorter than ever. He still goes and sleeps in your old bedroom now and then. Even though your bed and all your stuff is gone, I think it helps him.
Btw, remember when mom told you that it had been known to snow as late in the year as today, and you didn't believe her? There's snow on the grass this morning! I took a few years, but it happened. Never doubt your mom, lol!
Til next year,