top of page

First Kid?


It's absolutely uncanny.  Every time our Jonathan (foreground) attempts to fly, he inevitably gets knocked out of the sky by an errant soccer ball.

Joe - Jonathan First Kid?

Jonathan performed a "Card Trick Show" for seniors at the Maple Crest Assisted Living complex in Bluffton. (He had been practicing for the better part of a year.). Jonathan had, not only the cards in the palm of his hand, but he had the audience in the palm of his hand throughout the half hour performance. Afterward, a man with advanced dementia approached Jonathan, and for a few moments in time, the card tricks this man had known earlier in his life, miraculously came back to him.  And to see the smile on his face as he was demonstrating these, and Jonathan's rapt attention to what he was being shown by this man, was, to stay with this theme, a little touch of 'magic.'

Jonathan's team.

“So I decided to dress in this kind of weird way…”


Recently, Bluffton Middle School put on a “Flags of the World Event” in the gymnasium. Each student chose a country, then did various poster board displays that included a depiction of the flag, pictures from the country, facts and quirky oddities about the country, special food from the country… Our Jonathan chose the South American country of Chile, sort of. That is, he wanted to do New Zealand because his mom (read: “mum”) is from there – but one of the kids who got to choose before him took New Zealand.


Anyway, Jonathan spent hours and hours on this thing, and it really looked impressive. What didn’t look as impressive, at least at first glance (and before I heard his explanation), was the attire he decided on for that evening. As you can see from the adjoining picture, he went with a green suitcoat, a black “Under Armour” t-shirt, and a horizontally striped polo shirt accentuated with a diagonally striped, clip-on tie – none of which matched, anything.


I asked our ad hoc “Ambassador to Chile” about that. Jonathan responded that, although he found the country of Chile to be quite “interesting,” he wasn’t sure if many other people would, at first glance, find the country of Chile as interesting – even with his mum’s plate of pineapple, kiwi fruit and dates. (All, that’s right, indigenous to Chile.)


“So I decided to dress in this kind of weird way Dad,” Jonathan started. “Because I thought people might say to themselves: ‘There’s kind of an interesting looking kid who might be fun to talk to.”


I smiled and said: “Great point, Jonathan!”


And Liz (mum), who would have never otherwise let Jonathan even onto the driveway for fear a neighbor might see him dressed like that, much less into a gymnasium with hundreds of people, smiled too – and helped Jonathan carry his flag to the car.


Footnote: There was never a time during the evening when there weren’t people in front of Jonathan’s booth. He’s the one who probably should be running for president. And who knows, maybe someday he will. Actually, his outfit might work well during the debates. And if he gets a foreign relations question about Chile… he’s in! --Joe, Jonathan’s dad (read: “dud”)

Jonathan First Kid? - Joe

Jonathan 11 Years Old - Archive Audio

*Some of the best memories for our Jonathan growing up near Cleveland’s inner
city was the time he spent at the local Rec. Center. (See above.) He was asked to
write a poem for a class recently that revolved around “flashback.” This is what
he ‘flashbacked’ too.


The Michael J. Zone Center

by Jonathan Schriner
Cleveland is where I grew up

I spent much time playing sports at a local rec center

I met many friends there
It became the center of my world
Many memories we would share
All the talented players there
All taught me many things
Like playing with a special flair.

My friends and I would spend all day doing many different things
Playing basketball, flag football, and sometimes we would even try racquetball
Playing basketball was fun until one team became too good

Dominating the court like kings
And we couldn't play with the older players
Because, well, we were too short
And we didn't actually play racquetball
It was more like hitting it as hard as we could

Off the wall and dodging it
This, however, we basically made into a sport.
The staff was nice and they joined in the games
They gave pointers to us kids
And wouldn't get angry unless…
Someone did something the center forbids.
Occasionally fights would break out,
Usually because everyone was super competitive.
Customarily it was settled quickly with a game
To determine the winner amidst a crowd of witnesses

I made many memories at the Michael J Zone Center that I won't ever forget
The times we shed our blood, sweat and tears for sports and friends
We poured everything we had into all we did so we had no regret
I miss all the people there, they welcomed me warmly and took me under their wing

They helped me grow and become a better person
I will never forget the Michael J Zone Center

Fall, 2017.  Jonathan and I volunteered the other evening at a Youth For Christ outreach in a hardscrabble area of Lima, Ohio.  Before the meal and the other night activities, Jonathan and I played some basketball with the guys on an outdoor court there.  The court is generally dimly lit by a distant street light.  This didn't sit well with Jonathan (see sidebar article: Let There Be Light!)  Subsequent to that night, Jonathan gave a talk about it all and raised $300 for some court lights.

bottom of page