Wednesday, September 27, 2006


When I was a kid, one of my greatest pleasures was to go to the library on Saturdays. The library was a solid couple of miles away from my house. Although the option of taking a bus existed, I preferred to walk. Sometimes a friend would come with me and we would get into tiny misadventures along the way.

My younger friend Richard and I walked to the library one Saturday. We had bought ice cream cones-- the kind that sat in the freezer with bright wrapping on them, vanilla icecream with a hard chocolate topping-- for a quarter a-piece, and we became engaged in throwing them off the bridge on Bloomfield Avenue overlooking Branch Brook Park. My aim was true and my cone flew into the open window of a car below. We ran away in our excitement conjuring up one very shaken driver and police patrols out looking for who did that despicable crime.

I was content with my own company also. Often on the way home from the library, I would buy a bag of fresh cherries from the fruitman. I enjoyed the sweetness of the cherries, the blazing New Jersey sun, the whirl of traffic heading towards downtown Newark, other occasional walkers passing by.

The library itself was two floors. Downstairs was the childrens' section. I read pretty near every book on its' shelves. I usually came home with the maximum number of books allowed-- I think it was four at a time. Eagerly, I waited for the time when I would be old enough to go upstairs to the adult room. Years flew by as I devoured words. On the proper birthday, I did go upstairs only to find disappointment. There was no excitement to be had. I never was able to talk my way into the stacks which I knew held the more interesting "restricted" books.
I returned to the childrens' room downstairs, telling the librarian that the adult section was "boring."

It is years later and I can still see the library in my mind's eye. I weave my way through the shelves locating favorites and bringing them to the long desk for check-out. I pass the water fountain on the way out the door and stop at the fruitman's stand for cherries. I walk up Bloomfield Avenue, past the bridge where Richard and I dropped our 25 cent ice cream cones, past the sidestreet leading to Ting-a-Ling's pizza, past the church, the football station, and Celentano's.

The neighborhood has changed but the skeleton layout remains. Bookstores have replaced my youthful fascination with the library. My love of words remains with me even now and I hope forever.

~sapphoq on life

Sunday, September 24, 2006

BILLY 9/24/06

There was a small apartment building next door to our house. Billy lived there with his parents and his chihuahua. I found an image of a chihuahua skull to tube and that got me thinking about Billy.

One time, some of the neighborhood kids and I were picking on Billy. This was usual for us, a routine. Although we didn't beat on him with our fists, we were hell-bent on keeping Billy on outsider status. He ran home crying.

I was the ringleader of what happened next. We picked some berries and put them in a tin pie plate. Then we covered the mess with whipped cream. I rang up Billy and told him that we were sorry for teasing him. And that we had ice cream for him to make up for it. He bought that story. His hair was still wet from the bath he had just taken. I remember that. He had changed into tan pants and a white tee-shirt. I remember that too. He came willingly with me.

Once in the backyard, my accomplices brought out the pie plate. "Eat it! Billy!" I mocked him. "Eat it!" He began to cry and look for a way out. I dumped the whole mess on his head. Again, he ran home crying.

His mother called my mother that evening. My mother's response was [always] to deny that I would ever do such a thing. Consequently, nothing happened. I had only my own conscience to tell me that what I did was wrong. I covered it up with a false bravado.

Eventually, I forgot about Billy. Life went on for both of us I suppose. I don't know if I will ever find Billy to be able to offer my amends to him.

Billy, if you are out there still, I hope that you found true friends who are able to accept you for who you are.

~sapphoq on life

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Illegal Drug Use Patterns Important to Adolescents When Selecting Friends

sapphoq life says: It's official folks! Some researchers have begun to figure out that teens hang out with other teens who use drugs [including the drug alcohol] at the same level that they do. I could have told them that when I was in high school finding my way into addiction.

Article was pasted from:

Illegal Drug Use Patterns Important to Adolescents When Selecting Friends

New York (MedscapeWire) Mar 30 — The findings of a new study suggest that among American teenagers, birds of a feather do flock together, especially in the area of illegal drug use patterns of their peers. The study in the March issue of Developmental Psychology, found that African American, Asian American, and European American adolescents and their nominated friends shared highly similar levels of illegal drug use. Similarity was greatest among teenagers and their friends who reported lower levels of illegal drug use and when cross-ethnic rather than same-ethnic friends were selected.

Study author and psychologist Jill V. Hamm, PhD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says similarity may be pronounced with respect to illegal drug use because of the potentially significant consequences associated with this behavior.

The study involved 6500 ninth- through 12th-grade students attending 7 ethnically diverse high schools in California and Wisconsin. The students in the study were African American, Asian American, and European American adolescents who could be matched to a best friend. Similarity in friendship was examined based on substance use, academic orientation, and ethnic identity.

African American, Asian American, and European American adolescents and their nominated friends shared highly similar levels of illegal drug use and moderately similar academic orientations. For both illegal drug use and academic orientations, the degree of similarity was significantly lower among African American adolescents and their nominated friends compared with Asian American or European American adolescents and their nominated friends. Although predicted to be important to friendship selection in ethnically diverse contexts, Dr. Hamm says shared levels of ethnic identity did not appear to be a major selection criterion for adolescents of any ethnic group in the study.

Dr. Hamm says these results add to a growing body of research indicating that adolescents from various ethnic groups differ in their selection of similar friends. Although no research directly addresses why ethnic groups vary with respect to similarity as a selection criterion, Dr. Hamm says it may be the case that "historical and cultural circumstances unique to each ethnic group lead youth to attend to different dimensions when selecting friends. An alternative explanation is that ethnic-group differences reflect different antecedents of African American, Asian American and European American participants' friendship selection."

The results of the study also show that adolescents do not appear to seek friends who are identical to themselves. Dr. Hamm says this finding has important implications for adolescents' adjustment. "Locating friends who are relatively similar yet not identical," she says, "may satisfy the need to find commonality with others and at the same time establish a unique sense of self." This may also allow adolescents room to negotiate views and explore values within the security of compatible relationships.

Dev Psychol 2000;36(2):209-219

Thursday, September 14, 2006


The people living in a small island community in Maine had the courage to dream a dream of having a place of their own. Chebeague Island used to be considered a part of the township of Cumberland. Today, Chebeague Island is separate from Cumberland. The Islanders are now free to pursue their own destiny.

It takes courage to dream new dreams...
and even more courage to pursue them.

sapphoq life
*pic taken by sapphoq of 4th of July parade on Chebeague Island*