“I never had any kind of friends later on like the people I had when ns was 12,” Stephen King writes in ~ the end of his novella “The Body.” “Jesus, go you?”

When ns was 12, my human being revolved about piano lessons, version rockets, a tank of pets seahorses and a boy called Jim Wilson. We invested long hrs together, Jim and also I, acting favor goofballs: engaging in hot-sauce eating contests in ~ a place called Tippy’s tacos, listening come the roll Stones, feeding my Venus flytraps bits the cheeseburger. As soon as I made that laugh so hard that milk came out the his nose.

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The one thing we took seriously was the piano.

Jim was a prodigy. Sometimes he would sit down at my family’s baby grand and play Beethoven’s “Pathetique Sonata,” or Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” or something called the Bumble Boogie.” my parents, mine grandmother, my sister and also I would certainly sit in the life room listening come him, amazed.

As we settled into the dog days of quarantine, I began to think the the way the period of 12 is a bridge in between the human being you have been and the person you will become. Music is a sort of bridge, too, a trigger of memory. End the summer i hauled out my old man W. Schaum piano books from the early on 1970s. I discovered them inside the piano bench, the one that accompanied that old baby cool that i inherited from my mother.


There ~ above the pages were the pencil point out of mine long-suffering teacher, Mr. Copely. “Good!” he has written in the spare part of the music for “The dangerous Journey” (Oct. 25, 1972). Alongside the “Mexican hat Dance,” however, he has written, tersely, “Phrasing!”

Mr. Copely to be Jim Wilson’s teacher too. Occasionally we took lessons together. Ns was never fifty percent as an excellent a musician together Jim, but, after half a century, I can say the I’ve almost nailed the “Bumble Boogie.” in ~ times throughout this last terrible year, play the piano was every that maintained me sane.

•••

In the movie “Big,” Tom Hanks, that plays a 12-year-old whose wish to it is in grown up has him wake up up sooner or later transported into the human body of an adult, is walking with the brand-new York toy save F.A.O. Schwarz with his ceo (played by Robert Loggia) once he accidentally measures on a giant working piano keyboard on the floor. He begins to pick out the bass component of the standard piano duet “Heart and also Soul.”

“Piano lessons?” Mr. Loggia asks.

“Three years,” says Mr. Hanks.

“Me too,” Mr. Loggia adds. “Every day, after ~ school.” that then begins to tap the end the melody through his feet.

Thirty-odd year on, Mr. Hanks and also Mr. Loggia space still beautiful together, to dance on the keys. But I suspect an additional reason so many viewers to be touched by the scene is that they, too, when played “Heart and Soul” with a friend. As soon as I to be 12, i played the melody; Jim Wilson play the bass.


As that plays the track in “Big,” Mr. Loggia easy sings several of the lyrics, composed by Hoagy Carmichael and Frank Loesser in 1938: “Heart and also soul, I fell in love v you/Heart and also soul, the means a fool would certainly do, madly.

•••

Jim Wilson readjusted schools after saturday grade. After a while, we shed touch. Shortly I to be on to other things: J.R.R. Tolkien, bong hits, the thankful Dead. In the critical 45 years, Jim and I have actually seen every other just twice — once entirely by accident, once he verified up as the organist in ~ a friend’s wedding ago in Pennsylvania.

It’s strange how world who as soon as were the center of her universe deserve to disappear from your life.


Often, though, lock not shed at all. Critical week, in between Christmas and brand-new Year’s, my family had mac and also cheese because that supper one night. On the next we had a hot sauce accurately called Thor’s Hammer. I had a little, and also then mine daughter Zai had some, and also soon enough, our mouths were so ridiculously aflame the tears streamed under our faces; we were can not to stop laughing.

It wasn’t Tippy’s tacos exactly, yet it was close enough.

“Are girlfriend OK?” my wife asked me.

“Yeah,” ns said, ~ I’d regained the capacity to speak. “I was simply thinking about somebody.”

•••

The following day, I reached Jim Wilson by phone. The told me that he’d spent most of his life as a music teacher specializing in the Kodaly method, functioning in elementary institutions in Pennsylvania, no so far from where we both flourished up. My son currently plays the piano, ns told him; i learned his daughter does, too.

We talked about Mr. Copely, and my Venus flytraps and also the method my family members used come sit around the piano listening come him play. Us recalled a summer we’d invested together in ~ the Jersey Shore, his prowess in ~ Skee-Ball and the curious ingredients in my grandmother’s “hot dog stew.”


Then we started telling each other dumb jokes, act imitations. It was a an excellent thing that neither of united state was drinking milk, since it would have actually surely erupted from our noses. Us laughed and laughed, the two of us, like the pair that idiots we once were, young friend who had known and loved each other — even prior to we knew ourselves.

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“Damn,” stated Jim. “I’ve to let go you.”

It arisen to me that, together the years pass, we all end up being like the kid in “Big” — 12-year-olds mysteriously trapped in the bodies of adults.