Conor Kelman comes of
age during a time when hyperactivity was unlabeled. Teachers and parents
considered him to be insolent, stubborn, and difficult to control. After all,
he never paid attention and was always in the wrong place. In those days,
parents and teachers used the switch, belt, and paddle to correct him.
teacher used corporal punishment. She called hitting students with her hand or
whatever she used, love pats. Conor’s best friend, Billy Dill, said Conor
was the most loved kid in fifth grade.
Conor’s first love was
a dog called Sport and Gabbie, the Gibson guitar he brought home from a
pawnshop. The ghost of Red Nolan came with the guitar, but Conor and the ghost
had a love and hate relationship.
The boy met Wylina in
third grade. Three years later, his childhood sweetheart introduced him to
coffee and cigarettes in an abandoned house in the apple orchard. They planned
to marry after graduating from eighth grade.
With no warning,
Conor's dad moved the family hundreds of miles away during seventh grade.
Wylina went to the
Caldwell Fair with another boy.
Conor gave up trying
to fit-in. Under a dark cloud, he searched for something to call his own.