GRANGEVILLE – Mark Boehmke and Elijah Rauzi have been friends practically since birth.
The two met at church and have been hanging out ever since. Mark, 13, is the son of Paul and Beth Boehmke, and Elijah, 14, is the son of David and DeAnn Rauzi, all of Grangeville.
“We like to play around outside doing stuff, and play video games, too,” they agreed.
“I think the things we do outside – those make more lasting memories,” Elijah said.
“Yeah – we build forts, make fires,” Mark added. “But I do like to play video games, too.”
The two enjoy strategy games, being with their families, and attending school.
Mark is in the seventh grade at Grangeville Elementary Middle School and said reading is his favorite subject. Elijah is a homeschooled eighth grader and enjoys studying history.
Elijah is currently taking a Russian language class.
“So he can be a Russian spy!” Mark said as they both laughed.
Elijah said he is blessed to have a good family and is thankful for the chance to receive an education and continue learning.
“My family doesn’t really fight. I’ve seen other families that do, and I’m just happy we don’t,” he said. His family includes two older siblings, Hannah and Jonah.
“I know I do get on their nerves and annoy them sometimes, though,” Elijah laughed. “I’m the youngest, so that happens.” He realizes, he said, that it can be important to see how things do or do not work out for his siblings.
“I see it with Hannah, then Jonah, then – oh, third time’s a charm with me,” he grinned.
He said he has a lot of people to look up to, but considers his karate instructor, Kelly Turney, a very good mentor. He also said he feels fortunate to have such a good friend in Mark.
Mark said he is blessed by parents who are together and have good jobs.
“Really, I’m just blessed in so many ways,” he shrugged. “I can’t even pick just one way.”
He said there were times he would have liked to have had a sibling; however, he’s “pretty content” with being an only child.
“And we’re like brothers,” Elijah cut in.
“Yes – brothers from another mother,” Mark said as they both laughed.
Although they have a while before they have to decide, each has thought about what he will do following the completion of high school.
“I think I may like to go to college, maybe be in some type of government position such as city council, or be a police officer,” Elijah said. “At least those are some of the things I’ve thought about.”
Why a police officer?
“They help people, keep the town safe, and,” he smiled, “well, when I was younger, I really liked the uniform. They’re pretty cool.”
He also stated there is a “lot of injustice in this world,” and he would like to help remedy that, at least in some small way.
Mark has given thought to college and then becoming an architectural engineer.
“I like to build things, design things,” he said.
The duo spends more than play and hangout time together: they are young entrepreneurs.
“We have a lawn mowing business,” Mark said. “It’s M&E Lawn Mowing Services.”
They have a lawn mower, weed eater and gas can, and do all their jobs together.
“We sometimes help out older people who cannot get out to mow,” Elijah said.
“It feels good to help people. It makes your kindness factor just go up,” added Mark.
The two agree that becoming teenagers has added more responsibility to their lives.
“There’s just a lot more to do, a lot more going on than when we were little kids,” Elijah said.
“Yeah, and you feel yourself maybe not getting along with all your friends as well as you used to,” Mark nodded, as everyone begins to figure out who they are and what they like. “And things are busier – there just isn’t as much time.”
Both young men chose kindness when asked what they would do to change the world.
“For people to just stop being jerks, stop being mean to each other,” Elijah stated.
“Yeah, just be kind, be nice to each other, and for everyone to believe in Christ,” Mark added.
They also agree that technology has been life-changing and has its draws.
“I mean, we can go to space, land on the moon – that’s incredible,” Elijah said. “But it’s also a downfall when everyone is so focused on their phones and computers.”
“I think I could definitely live without it – but I do like video games,” Mark said thoughtfully. “Still, I think I would be OK living more primitive, and feeling more accomplished by doing things with my hands.”
In the end, these two boys are true Idahoans.
“I’m an American!” Elijah pumped his fist in the air.
“And I like guns – don’t take my guns!” Mark emphasized.