This week marks the end of a successful school year for Bryce and Trent and the beginning of a surf summer.
On Monday, I chauffeured Trent and Bryce to and from school aboard “Rebel Child,” my former boss’s tricked out Jeep, modified for a form of extreme off-road driving known as rock crawling.
A show car, it’s a real head turner. While riding shotgun, Bryce remarked how much he loved stoplights, getting a chance to see everyone’s reaction to the “crawler rig.” I dropped him off to a group of jaw-dropped, screaming girls. I later picked up Trent surrounded by a group of on-looking buds. As Trent described it, he had told his friends that he had a surprise for them after school. One classmate guessed it would be a new dog (something Trent really wants). Exiting campus, one of his classmates saw the Jeep with its 40-inch wheels, full armor, and large skull decal emblazoned across its doors and proclaimed, “What a cool car!” Trent said, “I know,” walked up to it and opened the front passenger door. “NO WAY!!!” said his blown-away friends as he climbed inside. I have to thank Tommy again for letting me do that for Bryce and Trent. It was so much fun.
Trent promoted out of fifth grade yesterday. He adored his teacher, Miss Bird, who understood and appreciated his qualities from the first day at, what was for Trent, a new school. She made him feel valuable at a time when he was vulnerable. She inspired him to be his best self. He beamed as she talked with him after the ceremony. Trent leaves Pierpont Elementary having earned excellent grades (top scores for two quarters) and having forged several friendships, most of all, Charlie. We see Charlie several times a week, visiting his family’s beach home or having him on board Kandu. As part of the class of 2014’s mural, Trent and Charlie have their initials permanently imprinted on the school’s perimeter wall. The last week of school included a pajama/movie day, an all sports-day, a beach day, and finally, and after-graduation pool party. Leslie and I are so pleased for Trent, and very proud of what he accomplished this school year in Ventura at Pierpont.
As Trent did with Pierpont Elementary, Bryce entered Cabrillo Middle School with practically no connection to anyone on campus. But unlike must young people his age, Bryce entered with cache, boldly walking on with his colored duct tape bowtie (he would later be referred to by his classmates as the “bowtie guy”). He left yesterday with a yearbook packed with praise and well wishes. Like a typical guy, Bryce enjoyed woodshop and PE the most. With his grade point average having floated between 3.75 and 4.0 throughout the year, he made honor roll (and yes, we got a bumper sticker). His school treated the entire honor roll to a day at Magic Mountain’s rollercoaster park, bussing them there and back. Of course Leslie didn’t miss the opportunity to “chaperone” the kids, getting to ride all but one of the roller coasters while the students did their own thing. Also, classmates who’d heard Bryce perform months earlier at Ventura High for the school district’s talent show, encouraged (begged) Bryce to participate in their school’s talent show. Last Thursday, Leslie and I attended Bryce’s performance of Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister” as he sang against a karaoke track to the entire school, one grade group at a time. The seventh-grade class greeted his introduction with screams and cheers. As a token of his gratitude, the day before the last day of school, we helped Bryce make 90 of his banana cream pie doughnuts, a treat he invented in the fifth grade: doughnut-holes piped with banana cream filling, dipped in glaze and graham cracker crumbs and topped with whipped cream. His gesture of appreciation was well received as made apparent in his yearbook where many praised his talents as a singer, baker, world adventurer, and all around cool dude—a remarkable combination that represents just a part of what Bryce is capable.
Lastly, this week marked the beginning of what will likely be a surfing summer. After months of afterschool surfing soft-top short boards from Costco at Mondo’s Beach, proclaimed as Ventura’s Waikiki; we provided Bryce and Trent a private surf lesson from Jeff Belzer of Makos Surf. He taught much to us all: some basic surfing skills, practices, and exercises (and vocabulary); local surf spots; and the various characteristics of a surfboard and where to buy one. The latter sent us over to Robert Weiner, founder, owner, and renowned shaper of Roberts Surfboards. Rob patiently listened to what we learned from Jeff and to the boys’ opinions and hand selected two slightly used epoxy boards from his used board stock. Bryce and Trent surfed on them the next day. They liked one, but not the other, so we returned it as Robert suggested. Not having in stock another like the one the boys liked, he graciously pulled from his car his personal board and swapped it with the board the boys did not like. It not only matched the preferred board, it came with a dedication to himself embedded in the board: “Made for myself. Lord, thank you for this board.” With a surf camp starting next Monday, Trent and Bryce, and an invitation from Miss Bird, an avid surfer, to surf with her some day; the boys are well set for a surfin’ summer.