Sunday, September 13, 2009

Leif on the Tropical Cruise at age 17

For some teenage boys, life seems to be a confusing mix of teenage foolishness and poor choices, developing talents, friendships, and a desire to be grown and sophisticated. Leif certainly fit into that mold. I thought Peter W. would be horrified at the story I posted yesterday about the candle-burning prank Leif's friends (with him along enjoying it) played on a teacher they liked. He pointed out that it could so easily have gone wrong, with a car accident, an arrest, being expelled from school, or worse, shot by a neighbor who thought they were doing something dangerous or illegal. The boys certainly never thought of it that way, but teens egging each other on to dares or pranks seldom think of those possible consequences and make foolish choices and use poor judgement.

That kind of incident, and the boys being out in a car on the loose in San Juan was one reason I was happy to have the opportunity to move Leif away from Puerto Rico when we did, even though I knew it was going to be hard on him moving away from his friends. I wasn't happy about him being out there in a car with someone else driving doing who-knows-what, and I wouldn't have been any happier with Leif driving our car and taking a load of boys with him. Leif didn't get his driver's license until the summer of 1992 back in Kansas. Although he continued to make poor choices (such as buying a motorcycle after he had moved out of our house, when he couldn't afford it, and driving it too fast), we at least avoided a disaster.

However, at the same time he was doing silly things that could have been disastrous, he was also wanting to be the sophisticated man-of-the-world. When we went on our first cruise, out of San Juan on the Carnival ship Tropicale, he was quite a handsome sight dressed up for the formal night on board. We took this cruise in April 1992, when he was seventeen, just three months before we moved him from Puerto Rico back to Kansas to stay with his grandmother and take driver's education in summer school. We moved back in August.

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