Friday, October 31, 2008

Leif - The Cutest Devil - Halloween 2002?

I'm not sure precisely when this photo was takenm though I think it was October 30, 2002. It was on Leif's computer, along with a bunch of other photos taken at this party, which he apparently gave in Manhattan, Kansas in the house at 710 N. 9th Street.

I didn't recognize hardly any of the people in the pictures. Since they were all in costume, it would have been fun to show more of this one, which I think is really cute of Leif, Shazbot the snake in hand, placing devil horns on his head and looking like a happy rascal. As it is, I just cropped the picture to show just his face and hands.

Leif moved into the house on 9th Street for the second time in July 2002. We had purchased it at auction in 1997 for Peter W.'s mother, Ellen (Oma to our kids), to live in when we moved her from Monterey, California to Manhattan to be near us so we could care for her. When we first bought it in the spring of 1997, before we moved Ellen there that summer, Leif and Nikko lived in the basement of the house while we were painting and cleaning it and getting it ready for Ellen.

Ellen died September 22, 2002. She fell and crushed her femur in June and never recovered. While she was in nursing care during her last months, we didn't want the house to stand empty, a target for thieves, so we asked Leif to move into it. He had just signed a lease for his apartment on 11th Street, and had to break the lease in order to move into the house. But luckily for him, he went from a tiny apartment to a whole house.

Leif lived there from July 2002 until he moved with his dad to Florida in March 2005. During those years, he went through a lot, pulling out of the depression he was in when he came back to Manhattan from the army in May 2001, graduating from college in May 2003, meeting and falling in love with J. in the fall of 2003, when he was the happiest I remember seeing him since high school in Puerto Rico or when he first married Nikko. And then the heartbreak when the romance didn't work out and he was depressed again in early 2004.

He was involved in SCA, worked as a school crossing guard while in college, and then worked at what was then Western Wireless (now taken over by Alltel), and enjoyed the night life of Manhattan in Aggieville, where he liked to play pool occasionally. The trouble was, he felt he couldn't find women his age in the college town, that the "good ones" were all taken, and that he didn't have much in common with the college girls at his age. The career opportunities were slim, too, and he felt he would have a lot more opportunity in Florida.

Leif had friends in Manhattan and more of a social life than he developed in Florida. He also was heavily involved in ZAON. It's a shame he didn't connect more with people here. He was never very outgoing, an introvert, though when he knew people and liked them, he could be the life of the party. Meeting strangers was harder. I understand that very well. I think he got that "hang back and watch" trait from me.

But enough of all that. It's Halloween, a holiday Leif enjoyed. This is the last photo I have of him having a good time on Halloween, and I hope those who were at his party enjoyed it, too.

Happy Halloween, Leif, wherever you are.

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