[Part 4 of a series of blog entries looking at the first year of my life spent in Princeton, West Virginia, in 2001. I'll look at my home life, school, pop culture, relationships, basically everything going on in my life one decade ago. Click here to read part 1. Click here to read part 2. Click here to read part 3.]
As we all know by now, my mom met a guy named Mark. He lived in Princeton. We wound up moving to Princeton to live with him. He was then sentenced to over a year in jail, shortly after we moved there. The two of us are now in Princeton by ourselves.
Mark lived in a trailer. More specifically, a trailer park. I had never lived in a trailer or trailer park before. I had some initial reservations about it at first, just due to the negative connotations involved. I will say this about it now, that trailer was bigger than the apartment I presently live in and it had two bathrooms.
Mark had lived there with a woman and her young daughter. I was getting the daughter's room. At this point, I still had not warmed up to the idea of living in Princeton. But, I had at least accepted that I had to. But, that didn't make me like it any more. I hated the idea of moving into that room. I didn't touch anything or move anything to "make it mine" for probably the first 8 or 9 months. That meant the giant poster of horses running through an open field stayed up. I wasn't ready to do anything to imply that I enjoyed living there.
As I mentioned in the previous post about music, I didn't do much at this point. I hadn't met any friends and would sit in the living room and watch television all day. Once or twice a week I would mow the lawn. Doing this led to my first-ever job.
I was mowing the lawn when these two women who lived 2 & 3 trailers down from me walked by. They waved and I waved back. I went back to work. I finished up and went to the back yard, where I saw my mom talking to the two women. One was named Jessica. I don't remember the others name. They wanted me to mow their lawns.
Jessica's husband was named Chris. He paid me $20 to mow his lawn. I remember when he handed me the money he said something about drugs, like jokingly telling me not to go buy any pot with it. We'll talk more about those two in a later entry.
Living in Princeton meant we needed to find out where everything was. We first moved down there and I needed a haircut. We had only been there a few days at that point (Mark hadn't gone to jail yet). Mark just had a buzz cut & kept the clippers at his dad's house. My mom said, "You want me to cut your hair?" This was back when I liked my hair pretty short and the length was bugging me. I said yes and she proceeded to cut my hair.
For the next haircut, we found a place off Stafford Drive (the main street in Princeton) called Tropical Sun. They did hair, tanning, and body piercings. I got my hair cut there for the next few years (and in 2002, got my lip pierced there). They eventually moved to a different location in Princeton. I recall getting my last haircut there in 2004. They eventually shut down.
One of the first things we found in Princeton was the library. We got signed up for library cards and checked out some books. My mom has always had this weird thing with the library - she loads up on books. Like she thinks she's not allowed to go back, or something. Like she thinks, "I have X amount of weeks, I can probably read X amount of books."
I don't think like that, so we have different library reading patterns. I picked out my two books and she loaded up on like 9 or something. Within a day and a half, I was done reading. She didn't want to go back to the library, since she wasn't done reading. So, I waited. And waited. And waited. Going to the library together turned out to not really be a hobby the two of us shared after that.
Speaking of reading, I recall reading the Bluefield Daily Telegraph a lot back then. One of the first "events" of the summer of 2001 was the execution of Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber. I read about it in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.
I finally started to accept that living in Princeton was going to happen for a while when it was time to get registered in Princeton's school system. The thing that I hated the most about this was that I was going to get a new lunch number. For those who don't know, you would say your lunch number, ex. 1234, and that number would get charged for lunch. You would then get your lunch bill at the end of the month.
In the third grade, I received a lunch number that I would keep until the fifth grade. For the fifth grade, I moved to a different school in the same county (Ravenswood to Ripley). They said I could just keep the same lunch number. I moved back to Ravenswood in the sixth grade. When they were putting me in the system, they told me I could just keep the same lunch number. The high school just took the middle school numbers. So, I had the same lunch number since the third grade.
It's something little, but at the time I was pretty upset about losing it.
The day we went to the school, I guess we had stopped at a Rite-Aid or something, because I had a new issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated in my hands. We went to Wendy's to eat lunch. I don't remember what I had, but my mom ordered a chicken salad. To say she was disappointed by the salad would be an understatement. She ranted and raved the entire meal about how bad it was and then swore off Wendys. "I will never eat at Wendys again," she said. To this day, I don't believe she has been back. And, I doubt she remembers why. If you ask her if she likes Wendys, she'll probably say, "Nah, not a big fan." If you ask why, she'll probably say, "I'm not sure. I just don't like it." But, I know why. And now you all do.
When we got to the school, they looked up my records to switch over and found out that there was another Chris Slater in the Jackson County school system. He was in elementary school. There are a few Slaters in Jackson County. My mom married a guy with the last name Slater, so we were only related by marriage. Kids my age, I knew John and Andy Slater. I didn't like them, but I knew them.
We got everything switched over and I was officially a Princeton High School student. We got back in that shitty red truck I've written about before. I picked up my issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated. I looked through it and learned that Eddie Guerrero had checked into rehab for alcoholism.
It's interesting the stuff you remember. Wrestling has always been a big part of my life, and it was in 2001. We'll go more into the state of wrestling in 2001 in a future entry.