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Junior high is a sensitive age for many students, for many obvious reasons. If there ever was such a song, I could have written it. I began my sixth grade in a new school, with all new students. We had just moved to a country home in Oelwein in 1968 and due to the tornado that had just destroyed Oelwein, I was bused to Maynard to finish sixth grade and begin my seventh-grade education.

Starting over in a new school system is as hard as “bathtub gin,” a comparison I can make now but was unable to make back then. To leave all of your old friends and be placed in the middle of students you have never met before is tough at best. I did have something in common with one person in the class however, that being the math teacher Mr. Landas. He was knew to the school as well. On the first day, he took a roll call and one at a time, we had to say our names. When I told him my name (J.D.) he told me his close friend was named J.D. and everyone called him Jade. At that point, he always called on me, the stranger in the class, and he always called me Jade. He told the class he called on me, because I was the only name he knew in the class. The students followed the teachers’ lead and they too called me Jade. For two years of my life, in Maynard, my nickname had a nickname.

In 1971, I moved to Waverly in the middle of eighth grade. I hadn’t yet realized it, but “bathtub gin” wasn’t getting any smoother. Once again, I had to repeat the process of starting over in a new school system. Though I didn’t think it was possible, the downsides for me “grew legs.” When I moved to Waverly I used the name J.D. and lost my nickname’s nickname, Jade.

It wasn’t until four years later that I was called Jade again. While working at Bob’s Standard, a call came in that someone’s car needed a jump start at Carver’s Restaurant. I took the call and went to Carver’s to start the vehicle. When I got there, unbeknownst to me, Mr. Landas was the person that needed assistance with his car. He called me Jade, as well as J.D., but beyond that he even called me by my birth name, John Dalton. I have never gone by that name since birth so needless to say, I was surprised. I asked him how in the world he knew my real name as I had forgotten it myself. His answer was “teachers do their research.” I have never seen Dave Landas since. I have searched a little through the white pages and on Facebook and such but have never located him.

The name Jade has always had a special meaning to me and I always wanted to use it in some way. Eventually, through my various developments in Waverly I was able to resurrect the name permanently. All of my developments in Waverly are personal reflections of my life in some fashion. The names of each of those developments reflect that. Whether it be my children’s names, my parent’s names, my cars I’ve owned or restored for someone or a Neil Diamond song that had special meaning. On my third development, I tried to work in the name Jade as the name of the development. I remember my mom and I bouncing names back and forth for hours trying to work in the name. Naming a subdivision was crucial as I seen it. It was like naming a newborn child. The name Jade just didn’t work to my satisfaction so I scrapped the idea and settled on a temporary name on paper to get through the process with the City.

It wasn’t until my mom damaged her new Buick that I was able to determine the name of my third development. I went to her garage to survey the damage to her car. I was the one repairing and repainting the damage, so I raised the trunk lid to get the paint color and paint code numbers. At that point, I learned the color of my mom’s new Buick was called JadeStone. As they say, the rest is history.

For those residents who live in JadeStone in Waverly, my seventh grade teacher named me Jade and the color of my mom’s Buick was called JadeStone. If you ever drive through JadeStone, you’ll notice the street names are personal as well. My mom is Charlene, my late father is Dalton, my late brother is Frank, and my late uncle is Shepherd. As Paul Harvey would have said, “and now you know...the rest of the story!”

J.D. Francis is a businessman and developer who also writes a monthly feature called “Cattin’ Main.” He can be reached at jdfranpaint@msn.com.