I remember moving from Manchester Knolls, away from my super best friend Patty McCree, and my life long friend Alan Turner, to 18th and Seymour to the first house my mom got in North Chicago. There were many kids around my age in the neighborhood and surrounding areas to befriend. JJ Thompson, Mark Beasley, Derrick Dorsey, Paul Radovan, Shawny and Cortney Holmes, Smurf, Kile, Jimmy Coles, David Huggins and Roger Penny! Heck my mom’s house was down the street from my life long friends, Alan Turner.
My best, best, best friend became Ralph Sprott. This had to be around 1976 or 1977. We used to walk down to Glen Drive to get to the store that had the miniature football helmets. We tried every week to get the Bears, but ended up always getting the damn NY JETS. Till this day I hate the Jets because of that reason.
Vicky, who was Ralph’s sister, became my sister. I remember Ralph’s mom always saying if we were going somewhere, take Vicky with you. I love you Vicky. I love you Mr. Sprott. I love you Mrs. Sprott. You were like my second Mom and Dad. If my Mom’s cancer and Alzheimers didn’t have a hold of her right now she would have attended the funeral. My mom loved you Ralph and knew that you made me a better man.
Ralph and I went to Camp Kool together! Ralph used to come to my Catholic School football games on Sundays and we would have Sloppy Joes after the games at the Father Hiti Center! We spent the night at each others homes and did everything best friends did.
We played truth or dare with Rebecca, Vicky and Robin with crazy things. (I remember Ralph dared me to eat a frog….I did. I also dared him to eat some Tide Detergent…. He did..
We used to be scared of Johnny Johnson’s Doberman. We were all scared of Michael Colbourn, Our biggest scare used to be when our parents scared us of Alton Coleman. (The black serial killer who was found on the park bench in Evanston after killing people in Waukegan. (If we didn’t do homework, finish the dishes, or come in when the street lights came on, Alton Colemen was comin to get us.)
We didn’t care about girls at that time we only cared about Now-Laters, the NFL, and oh yeah I was a Cub fan and Ralph was a Sox fan. (The only disagreement we ever would have!)
Me and Little Ralph (as he was called), used to walk to Whiteheads to get wine candy. Then we would walk to Hillarys’ to get fries with the sauce. Then we would walk to Jewel to get the 10-cent Jewel pop. Finally after playing football in the street or strike out against the wall in the alley by Timmy Littlejohns’ house, we would all walk to the AM/PM Mini mart to get a Thirsty Thirty Two Ounce drink.
Man. I didn’t think our friendship would get any better.
But it did. In High School my Dad bought me a car when I was a sophomore. Then when Ralph got to the High School we added the third Amigo, James Stovall. That was it. Our terror on girls and the world started. I had the car, Ralph had the gift for gab, and Stovall was the pretty boy that got the girls to come over to us and talk.
We would go to a teenage club called McGreevy’s. That was our entree into House music. While everyone else in the school listened to Hip Hop, which we did as well, we had the love for House Music. The Coke Teen parties, La Mirage, Chic-Ricks you name it. If there was a party we went to it!
Ralph and I got jobs at Service Merchandise. You couldn’t tell us nothing! That little $75-$100 a week we was making might have well been $2000 a week. We got to go to the movies when we wanted, by Atari Games, and get all the candy man….
In the summers through the I.E. speech team and a great mentor and coach to us all, MR KOVACEK, we got scholarships to Bradley University. Imagine Ralph, Stovall, and I along with Terry Hudson, Gwen Lawrence, Lesley Barbre, and Pam Davis.
Long before the TV show “Friends” we had an adolescent bond between men and women that still exists to this day.
WE ALL KNEW WHO OUR BOND WAS….IT WAS RALPH!
I love you so much Ralph. You were my brother. You were my best friend. I WANTED TO BE JUST LIKE YOU. I was jealous of your ease at school, jealous of you having a sister, jealous at the fact that whatever you put your mind to you were able to achieve.
Your weight loss, your graduation from the University of Illinois, your Master Degree, heck you even done went out and pulled a Cutie Pie (Patricia Wade).
We all know how we felt about the Cutie Pies!
Every day since you’ve been gone I have looked at my phone thinking you were going to call. We spoke every day still till you passed. We had an almost 40 year bond. How many people can say they were friends with someone who they envied for 40 years.
My wife and I laughed because for a week straight you called me and told me to watch the movie, “The Millers”. You would call every day and ask if I watched it. Finally I saw it and you and I cracked up for about 30 minutes.
That was our conversations. We really said nothing, but laughed the whole entire time. When you are best friends with someone you never really have to say anything to that person. They know what you are thinking, know how you are feeling, know who you like, and know who you love.
Ralph Sprott loved him some Patricia Wade. I remember when I first heard they were dating I was like… WHAAAAAATTTT! Then I saw them out together at one of my events. THEY WERE IN LOVE. I SAW IT IN THE EYES.
EYES NEVER LIE.
He asked me to be the best man…Again…He went out and got a beautiful house in Waukegan for he, Patricia, and the kids.
Patricia he loved your kids like they was his. He told me…Damn near every day!
Ralph, the most jealousy I had toward you was the fact that you could have had the opportunity to teach speech and help kids in Lake Forest, Libertyville, and/or Highland Park, but you gave back, and came back to where the school, your parents, your sister, your fiancé, and yes your best friends needed you most.
You came home to North Chicago!
Now God has taken you home and now you and Mark Roman sit above us in Heavan and are either cracking on the outfit that I’m wearing now, or talking about what I’m gonna eat when I leave.
I hear you now…You Old, Black…
I feel you. I wish you were here so I can talk about you.
I am so sad I deleted your last voicemail message because I miss your voice.
Black men seldom have the opportunity to confess love for each other.
I love Ralph Joseph Sprott.
You were my best friend!
Rest in Peace. God has added another Angel.