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Old 06-12-2018, 03:41 PM   #1
ZacksSoUgly
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: San Diego
Posts: 78
Losing a Friend & Finding Nostalgia - Wilmington, NC

Iím flying home from North Carolina, and figured Iíd kill some time and get this post written up while I sit on the plane. The flight didn't get off to a great start. Iím sitting in a middle seat. Iím hot and Iím thirsty. I'm hoping writing this will take my mind of the misery of the plane. Yíall donít care, though. You want to see pictures, and I donít blame you Ďcos Iím pretty excited about this myself.

I didnít make the trip to NC for Turtle related reasons. They were just bonus reasons. I was actually there to try and see some friends Iíve known since middle school. Some neighborhood kids I was really close with until the military moved my family again. Of those friends, I was trying to spend time with one in particular. Said friend has been battling cancer for the last two years and his condition was worsening, so we wanted to reconnect in case his time was limited. His birthday was Saturday (6/9), so it made sense to try and visit him during a moment of celebration instead of being caught in the midst of the usual sadness cancer brings with it. I arrived in NC on Thursday and as I said above, his birthday was Saturday. My friend passed away Friday morning around 1:30am and none of the neighborhood friends (myself included) got to see him. He was 29yrs old.

Iím not writing this to bum you out. The reason I include these details is because my friend, like all of us, was a Turtles fan. In fact, it was one of the biggest aspects of our rekindled camaraderie. He had saw my posts on Facebook about my Turtles podcast (BooyakaShow! - which has been out of business for some time now - my apologies if you were a listener) and he was stoked that I was a dedicated Turtles fan. He would often text me and tell me that the pod and my Turtles Instagram (@ZOSOtmnt) inspired him to be himself more often and not worry about people judging his ďnerdinessĒ or ďimmaturityĒ. We like what we like and we live our lives, right? His kind words often pushed me to be more positive and expressive with all things not just my love for Ninja Turtles. He would send pics of new toys he found at a swap meet, or ask me what comics I was reading - but my favorite texts were always about the old neighborhood. Weíd reminisce in a group chat about all the trouble we got into, the girls we pursued, the games of manhunt, and the destruction of property that I will neither confirm nor deny. Our reconnection had happened at the perfect time for both of us, I believe. He appreciated being able to talk to someone about something he loved and something that wasn't about his illness. And I got to share more Turtle love with an old friend. Our friendship was airtight at one point, but had waned over the years. Our reconnection couldn't have been better. To quote the writing of Gordie from ďStand By MeĒ : ďAlthough I hadnít seen him in more than ten years, I know Iíll miss him forever.Ē

So now, here's the stuff y'all WANT to hear about and the reason I posted this in the movies thread. During the trip I was staying with a friend who resided in Wilmington. For some reason, I thought I had heard or read somewhere that the OíNeil family farmhouse from the original film was located in Wilmington. Itís not, but itís close. Itís located a quick twenty-ish miles away in Currie, NC. I decided I was going to go. The friend I was crashing with had to work ítil 1pm and that gave me time to get up, head out to the farmhouse, and then get back so we could get into whatever it was we were going to get into that night. I went on Friday with my friendís passing fresh on my mind and heart. It hurt, but it was also poetic. If his health had been up to it he definitely wouldíve gone with me, so why would I deprive us both? Heíd be with me in spirit.

Spoiler:


I drove out to Currie and found the farmhouse EASY. If youíre looking for it you wonít miss it. The maps app on my phone mapped me to the exact road it was on and all I typed into the search was ďCurrie, NC.Ē Thereís a fence that runs along the road and a couple trees that slightly obscure the gate, and also some trees that obscure the house if youíre looking dead on or coming from the right side of the house. My approach was from the left and again, if youíre looking for it you wonít miss it. I parked alongside the fence and approached the gate. Thereís a number on the gate, but Iím going to leave it a mystery so that yíall will have to adventure a bit too. It feels more worth it that way trust me. Thereís also a lock on the gate. I canít remember which Technodrome member made the trip and shared pics already, but he mentioned that the house is still used for filming and when thatís the case there will be security present. I had the place to myself. With that being said, I was also definitely trespassing - but I wasnít going to let that stop me. I was a beautiful day and I had found the OíNeil family farmhouse. I had to get close. I had to take pictures. I had to record videos. I had to revel in the moment and I had to share my story.

Spoiler:


Spoiler:


The house looks the same as it did in the 1990 film, but looks oddly maintained. I say ďoddlyĒ because it appears to have been painted a few times, but still looks to be falling apart a bit. The house is beautiful in its own way, but I couldnít help but feel it was a bit creepy too. I was there by myself in the middle of the day and due to the blinds/shades of the windows being open I couldnít help but feel like I was being watched. I tried to put that from my mind and just enjoy the scenery and fact that I was where I was. Looking at the house, the garage, the barn - I could see the movie taking place in my head. It wasnít exactly the same, but the magic was there. I could see Mikey (with Raphís voice) yelling on the barn. I could see Leo sitting under a tree meditating. As I looked across the field next to and behind the house I could see the four brothers training together. I wonít lie, it made me a bit emotional. Iíve been watching the 1990 movie since before I could understand what was going on, so being there felt special and meaningful. My own love and experience with the movie coupled with the fact that I had just lost my friend added gravity and importance.

Spoiler:


I took my pictures. I recorded my videos. I made an Instagram story to commemorate the adventure and show off the house to my fellow fans on IG who might not get to ever see it (or who may not care). I spent some time just walking around and taking in the majesty of it all. I walked around trying to place locations in my mindís eye - where did Casey and April argue on the porch? Where were the Turtles standing in the ďtime to go backĒ scene? I was trying to replay the movie in my head as I walked through the movie in real time. I wished I had a better camera. I was shooting all my pics with my iPhone and a disposable Iíd bought to take pics with the homies. All in all, though, Iíd say the visit and experience turned out great. I know I enjoyed it, and I know my late friend was somewhere watching over me as I explored this place that held meaning to us both.

Spoiler:


If yíall made it this far I appreciate you. Thanks for dedicating some time to read whatís probably one of the longer posts on the forums. Writing about my friend and my little TMNT adventure has helped. Itís definitely making this plane ride go quicker, but itís also helping to mend the wounds in my heart. I miss my friend. I wish he was still here and I know itís going to break my heart the next time the group chat goes off and thereís no messages from him. Itís going to break my heart when I get my SDCC NECA set in the mail and I canít text him about it. Itís going to break my heart when Rise of the TMNT starts and we canít exchange thoughts (good or bad). Time heals all wounds, though, and Iím stoked I got to visit the ďhouse that time forgot.Ē

If yíall want to see my Instagram story from the farmhouse visit you can find me here : @ZOSOtmnt. Iíve actually got another story to tell about another location I visited, but Iím going to spare yíall the time and energy and make it a different post. I'd also like to give a shout out to the homie Drew for helping me downsize and watermark the photos. He handled a lot of background work for me while I was traveling, and I'm truly grateful. Just another part of the experience that reinforces the strength of the TMNT fan community. You can find Drew on Instagram here : @tmntdrewizzle.

Thanks again, everyone. Have a good day. Turtle Power Forever!
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Check out TMNT articles I've written for The Hundreds :
TMNT Movie Rankings
Top 10 Comics of 2015
Kevin Eastman Interview

TMNT Collecting Social Media
Instagram : @ZOSOtmnt
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