The Supreme Court hearing for Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh character and his youthful indiscretions under scrutiny for an alleged sexual assault of Doctor Christine Blasey Ford have brought up memories of my youth and memorable journal entry from August 24, 1994, my junior year at San Gorgonio High school. To understand this journal the backstory is necessary to understand.
Growing up in Highland, California I lived in a very nice mobile home park, and it was where I learned most of my earlier lesson about life. I wasn’t the most outgoing kid, but that quickly changed when I was reintroduced to the game of basketball.
I played basketball when I lived in Muskegon, Michigan. I was decent, but I wasn’t coordinated, and every time when I went to shoot the ball, I would go up and then when on my way down I would crash to the ground as if my legs wouldn’t work.
As much as loved basketball my parents ended up trying to get me involved in playing football and baseball. I was horrible at football and equally embarrassing to watch play baseball play. I just wasn’t coordinated, and furthermore, I really didn’t actually enjoy it.
It wasn’t till 7th grade the summer of 1988 that the desire to pick up the basketball again and really give it a try. Fortunately, my parents’ house was in the back of the mobile home park, conveniently 25-yards away from the basketball court. I spent hours on the court, night and day no matter the weather, I was on the court.
The reason I share this part of my life is that it stands as the moment in my life a direction would start to develop, and it would propel me for the next years in my life. So many decisions in my early life from how I would treat girls and even to the kids I would engage with.
In my youthfulness, I made some bad decision as most kids do, it’s not unheard of, it’s part of life and how we learn. Some of the choices literally to this day haunt my memory and cause me now as a father to do my best to educate my kids on how to act and take responsibility for the action you take.
My first girlfriend Missy by all means dramatically had an effect on many personal relationship guidance approaches. When I was 12-years old, I wasn’t running around looking for a girlfriend, but rather looking for a good game of basketball game to play. Eventually, while attending Serrano Middle School in Highland, California I came across two young men that I would grow up with and become friends for life. Mario Newell and Ben House, two black guys who through some good old peer pressure would encourage me to find a girlfriend. Saying, “Hardt, every basketball player has a girlfriend’s.” I replied, “Wait, girlfriends? It was a joke to me, but for them, they were way ahead of me in the girl department and other the activities that came with that.
On October 3, 1988, a Monday at school that I will never forget, and an event that would change my life forever would occur and set up events event later in life. The bell for the 3rd period just went off, and all three of us were standing in the hallway talking about a basketball and our favorite players and who was better than whom. As we walked down the hall, Mario stopped, so we all stayed as well. “What’s up, dude ?” I asked. He replied leaning into me. “That girl over there leaning up against the wall talking to Jennifer” “Yea, Her name is Missy.” He turns around looks straight at me and says “Hardt, you see that girl right there?.” I looked over at her and just as I did Missy glanced over. “Oh, crap she just looked at me.” Mario laughed and turned around “I got you, dude.”
As we started walking down the hall and made our way by he shoved me in her direction and said: “My boy likes you and wants to talk to you.” Mario and Ben walked away laughing, leaving me looking down directly at Missy chest. Slowly I looked up and locking eyes with her. For a long time, we had been eyeing each other as well as flirting with each other in class. I won’t go into great detail about all our love life secrets, just to say that we didn’t hide our affection for each other before I ended up in front of her that glorious day.
You may be wondering how this all this relates to the event that occurred on August 24, 1994? Well, it really does, let the story unfold.
The year that I spent with Missy, I grew as up quickly. I learned how to show affection in many ways, physically, verbally, non-verbally and through other awesome things. One of the most essential parts of the relationship was the Missy ability to tame my desire show affectation. Telling me to me to slow down and telling me she wasn’t going anywhere. We both were nervous, but she had complete control, and because of that I learned early the importance of not rushing and making the moment last.
Yes, at 12-years-old Missy and I lived the biggest secret two young people could ever have, that is until my mom found out when she found a letter Missy wrote me about an encounter we had on our 1-year Anniversary party at our friend’s house. My mom didn’t tell her mom, she wasn’t even mad, she actually seemed proud of me. She only said, “You better not get her pregnant.” and that was it.
The years went on, and we had our up and downs like every young couple. We made it out of Junior High School and into to High School. Our relationship was well-known and seen as the relationship most likely to get married. We both felt that.
It was summer 1991, and everything changed.
To be continued.