The Back Pack Crew

Charlie: Grandma BJ says you stayed in your room the whole time when you were growing up.

Cassie: True – when I was a teenager. I was always studying….storing up information.

Charlie: So you would get As….like Chloe?

Cassie: Yes.

Charlie: You didn’t do stuff with your friends?

Cassie: Not so much. I was a bit of a loner. Not very impressive, huh?

Charlie: Too bad I wasn’t around to cheer you up and tell you jokes.

Cassie: That would have been great…to know a “Charlie” back then. Like “Back to the Future,” when he goes back in time and meets his parents!

I had some really good friends, though. There was Lauri, of course. My friend Guy, who lived in an awesome house in the fields behind our house. My friends Bruce, John, Kathy, Anne and Sharon.

Charlie: The “Backpack Crew?”

Cassie: How do you know about that?

Charlie: That was Uncle Jay’s name for all of you…cause you studied all the time. Boring! (Pause.) Uncle Jay is cool.

Cassie: Yep. He was and he is. I wasn’t very cool. Is that what you’re getting at?

Charlie: Yea. Pretty much. I love you a lot but you are definitely not so cool. Sometimes Dad is cool.

Cassie: He is. I do have “coolish” moments, though. Don’t you think?

Charlie: Ummm….not really.

Cassie: Well, I’ll have you know that all those people in the “Back pack Crew” are pretty cool. Two of them are extremely smart about computers. They are very successful in their jobs. Another one’s a photographer. Lauri’s a president, a PRESIDENT, in children’s book publishing. Guy’s a movie/television director.

Charlie: What did you do?

Cassie: Lately, I’ve been working on raising some cool kids.

Charlie: Which kid, out of all of us, is the coolest?

Cassie: Well, I don’t know. You are all cool, each in your own way. (Pause.) But if I had to pick one kid in this family who epitomizes the true definition of cool, that would have to be you, Charlie.

Charlie: I knew it. I wonder how I got to be cool…in this family?

Cassie: Maybe it’s a case of environment versus genetics…you know, it’s because of your surroundings more than your parents’ actual genes.

Charlie: Probably. I think it might be because of Uncle Eric. He’s a good influence on me for coolness. Remember how he wrote, “Uncle Eric is cool” on my chalkboard wall back in the NJ house?

Cassie: I do.

Charlie: I hope I don’t lose my coolness because we’re all the way out here in California.

Cassie: I don’t think you will.

Charlie: I’m never going to be in a back pack crew.

Cassie: Probably not.

Charlie: Phew!

Cassie: Phew.


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