When he was actually angry, or just looking to make someone laugh, Jesse Lewis would scrunch up his face, pull his pants above his tiny waist and hunch over into an old man's stance, walking around his house like a pint-sized Scrooge.
On a trip to the beach with family and neighbors, he was the only one to run straight into the water with all his clothes still on, which resulted in one soaked car ride home.
Neighbors who live along the winding, hilly street that ends at the Lewis' home - a modest one-story house with a ranch and horse barn - recall a young boy who was at times rambunctious and always perceptive to people's emotions.
"He was infectious," said neighbor Dave Foster, a neighbor and father of some of Jesse's playmates outside the Lewis' home Saturday afternoon. "You could be in a foul mood and he would come up with something out of left field to put a smile on your face."
The six-year-old Sandy Hook first-grader was the kind of person who could have helped his family through a tragedy, but perhaps not one as devastating as his own death, Foster said.
A gunman killed 26 people, including Lewis and 19 other children, during a shooting rampage Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Jesse's parents could not be reached.
Foster's 10-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son both played with Jesse and were shocked by the news of his death.
Christmas lights adorned the houses along the Lewis family's adjacent street, with some
"He was a very happy boy, definitely a character," she said.
He would make nicknames for people whose names he could not easily pronounce. Autumn Jones, an 18-year-old who lives on the block and babysat Jesse, for instance:
"He called me Ottoman - like the couch," she said with a chuckle.
A cell phone photo that Foster showed to a reporter, but declined to share, showed a boy giving what several said was his signature "grumpy man" face at the camera.