I am not sure if I mentioned this before but Lorenzo was originally born and raised in the boonies of South Carolina. The town is really called Kingstree, it’s about an hour outside of Myrtle Beach. It’s a small town, I mean, really small. There’s one main street with a Piggly Wiggly, and a Huddle House and not much else. Now, I know that both of my parents’ families are originally from different places in SC, but I had only been there once as a kid. The only thing I remember was 2 houses, a lot of grass, and a dirt road. I don’t remember how long I was there, but I know it was in the summer because my grandmother sprayed my sister, cousin, and I with Off bug spray every day before we went outside to roast like bacon in the sun. I had to be about 7 or 8 years old. But anyway, back to Lorenzo. I am proud of our relationship and tend to brag about how “on the same page” we are about a lot of different things, but I tend to marvel at how different we are when it comes to how we were raised.
Looking at Lorenzo you would think he was raised by an upper middle class family, went to private school his entire life, never got into trouble, and networked his way to a great company after college. That would be the opposite of his actual life. Lorenzo grew up in an area where having trailer homes is the norm, all he did as a kid was work with his hands- chopping wood, repairing roof tops, and working on cars. No movie theaters or bowling alleys. He’d worked his way through college with an art scholarship, 3 jobs, and a deployment with the Marine Corps. Looking at me people see a spoiled diva that’s never had to work for anything, doesn’t like to get dirty, and is kind of a brat. In all actuality, I’ve been working since I was 15, my sister and I helped my mother raise my 5 other siblings, I joined the Army at 17 to help pay for college, during which I also worked 3 jobs. There’s nothing spoiled about me: Lorenzo was country poor, I was city poor.
One of the funniest things about our relationship is that sometimes our conversations get lost in translation because of the slang and lingo we both have from our perspective upbringings. There are things that he says to me about his life that I just can’t visualize, not because it sounds far-fetched, but because I mentally compare it to my own childhood and it’s just so different that I think I stepped back in time to an old television show from 1913…on a farm or something. Lorenzo used to tell me all these random stories about his “crazy uncle” (don’t you just love those stories?) who had a pickup truck that didn’t go into reverse, once drove a tractor to church, and who’s idea of cooking was tossing a can of beef stew directly into the fireplace until it heated up. To date, the funniest conversation we’ve had went like this:
Lorenzo, my brother Kevin, and I were watching a football game and Lorenzo asked me how I got a scar on my eyebrow.
“When I was 2, I was being hardheaded, not listening to my father and I ran face first into a crate and busted my face open.”
“My brother Pedro has a scar like that on his face too.”
“Oh, did he run into a crate too?” I asked.
“No, he ran into a hog pen.”
“Wait, what? A hog pen? How..? Who has a hog pen?” My brother started to laugh.
“My uncle.” His eyes never left the television.
“Why does your uncle have a hog pen?”
“To raise hogs in.” My brother fell out of his chair.
“Ok wait. Maybe I’m not asking this right. Your uncle has a farm?” I asked.
“Okay, so can you explain to me why he has hogs?”
I’m ignorant, I know. Country living was completely foreign to me just like city life was foreign to him. The first time he’d visited my apartment in New Jersey he told me that the first time he’d seen that “knob thing” to control the temperature was in college. He said I was “so up North” because I asked why he didn’t just go to Home Depot and buy wood instead of chopping down trees to put in his fireplace. I’m still trying to figure out if that was an insult.
I could go on and on but I’m sure I’ll want to talk about some more stories later on.
In other news, for the next two weeks I am going to be away with my NJ unit for our annual two week training. I can’t say where it’s going to be, but know that I won’t have internet, so I won’t be able to post while I’m there. It’s going to suck…I know. I don’t know how people survive without internet nowadays, but I digress. I’m sure I will have plenty of crazy army stories when I get back, I always do, and I look forward to sharing them with you. 😉