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At this point I was comfortably settled in to my new school, Benjamin Peabody High School, located in the East Liberty section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was making some new friends there, but I persuaded two of my newly formed close friends from Wilkinsburg to join me. In this picture is one of them, Andre Perry. The other was Shawn Mooney. Randomly a third Wilkinsburger would also become a close friend.

I remember the phone call to Andre and Shawn like it was yesterday. I excitedly talked about there not being any fights in the weeks I was there. Fellow students actually engaged in learning, unlike my experience at Wilkinsburg High School. It might have mostly my reality. I must admit, when I came to Peabody I turned over a new leaf and finally wasn’t as afraid of the girls. No more fighting and being a complete asshole. But close.

I was still an asshole in class, but on another level. I asked too many questions, too many of the wrong questions and finding a joke in almost everything the teacher and students said. Unless I was serious occupied with sketching in my notebook or something like that, I was in attack mode, picking the world around me apart.

This group of ladies were so special to me during my first year of Peabody. The girls at Peabody were every kind of girl you could imagine from the super-nerdy (there were a lot of those types, which was such a joy) to the fashionistas and the uber cool. So many of them engaged in study and were serious about their future. I soaked it up and made plenty of friends, adoringly so. That is, I adored them. Not to be mine, but to be friends. With one exception, but I definitely took a lot of time for that to become evident.

That particular girl that seemed to be around at so many intervals, including this picture. Somewhere off in the future we would marry and become partners in a successful business. Her name was Erica Shanwniece Prentice. She is now Erica Woods and she is in the lower left corner.


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