I was 13 and at a friend’s house after school and Predident Kennedy had just been elected and his portrait was on the cover of a magazine.
It was cold and rainy outside and a good day to stay inside.
My friend’s older brother knew I liked to draw and handed me a piece of paper and the magazine and told me to “draw this.”
I spent a rather nervous hour or so hoping to impress him and when I was done he came in and looked at the drawing and proclaimed in a rather matter of fact voice, “Ricky is going to be an artist when he grows up….”
I was both surprised and pleased to hear him say this, because I was an insecure kid and not sure about a lot of things.
But at least that part of my life had been settled.
Decades passed and we all grew up. Well, he did, anyway.
I guess I had my first big success as an artist when Beavis and Butt-Head Comic Book came out in 1994. I was working for Marvel and living in New York City at that time but was back in Savannah visiting my parents and I happened to pass the pharmacy where I knew my friend’s brother was now employed. I decided to stop in and give him a copy of the comic book I had with me since he had been so nice to encourage my artistic endeavors 30 years earlier.
I hadn’t seen him in about 35 years at the time.
The lady behind the counter went into the back to get him where I imagine he had been counting pills and putting them into a little vial.
“Hi, Jerry….it’s me, Ricky Parker…you remember me, don’t you?
He stared at me momentarily with a slightly fearful, but vacant expression.
So I continued…..
“You encouraged me to be an artist when we were kids. I brought you a present.”
He reached out his hand took the comic book and looked at it with a rather preplexed expression. It was one of those awkward moments.
“Thanks, Ricky”, was all he said.