My brother Garvis was working in Huntsville, Alabama and was involved with the space program. Uncle Claude was positive that no person would ever walk on the moon. Garvis didn’t argue, but knew that it was going to happen soon. John Glenn did orbit the earth in a spacecraft.
This was the year of my first serious girl friend. It was an up and down relationship that would last for several years.
There were parties to attend on a regular basis and the same people were always there. There really wasn’t any place to go, unless it was the drive in or the movie house in Crossett, so having a party in town was special. When these parties actually started, I would walk or ride my bicycle. I didn’t realize it then, but I wore the same two sweaters to every dance. I thought I looked great and maybe I did. Who would know?
Even though Chubby Checker had a hit with The Twist, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. After practicing alone at home, I was told that I didn’t do it correctly. The Duke of Earl made the number one list and who among us doesn’t still sing along with that song when it is played today? In fact, I find myself singing it now!
My cousin Elaine and her husband Jack purchased a boat and told mother that if I got all my shots I could go skiing with then on special holidays and weekends. I got all the shots. I hate shots.
Good at her word, Elaine invited me to join then in the water. I eventually succeeded in getting up on those skies and out of the water. I enjoyed my time on the lake. Elaine was a very thoughtful cousin. She also took time to tutor me in chemistry. I know it was a chore for her, but she learned enough to get me through the class. It wasn’t that chemistry was so hard, it was related to the amount of time that I was willing to devote to the subject on my own. Elaine was a woman ahead of her time and she had red hair.
Algebra was another class that drove me to distraction. Coach Bierbaum was just doing a job and in my opinion not a very good one. Maybe my attitude was not the best, but with a little effort he could have done a job worth bragging about.
Coach got upset with me one morning. His class was the class just before lunch. He told me to stay after everyone left. On his desk was a sixteen inch ruler and he insisted on using it on my bottom. In the process of giving me a lesson, he broke the ruler.
That nasty temper of his was getting the better of him and when I laughed at his feeble attempt at punishment. Coach ordered me out of his room. That was the only spanking that I ever received in all my days at school. It wasn’t the only one that I deserved. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Coach as a person, but his best years as a teacher had evidently passed him by.
Mr. Hall enjoyed catching students as they ran to get in line for lunch. When he caught you running, three days were required at the end of the lunch line. You got to choose the days, but he had a list and three days or three years were not enough to make him forget.
I got caught many times and would often eat off campus and return for my stand behind the line. Mother would have had a fit if she had know that I was spending twenty-five cents for a hamburger, corn nuts, and coke when I could get more for ten cents in the cafeteria.
When I would enter the lunch room and was sure that my name was checked off Mr. Hall’s list, I would direct my feet out the side door without eating. I tried to be resourceful in my thinking. I learned a lot in high school.
Weekends were often filled with camping and hunting. I know it sounds strange, but the squirrels were in a migration phase, whatever that is. We seldom saw a squirrel in the woods and Tommy Evans and I spent a lot of time looking for them. We got lost in the woods several times. The sun was our only guide out. Those were the days. I knew that several of the boys were interested in drinking beer but we didn’t know anything about other drugs. Cigarettes were available for everyone and were not considered the threat that we know they are today. Life was simple or so we thought.
Albert Kursterine was a few years younger than Miriam and was an up and coming business man in Hamburg. He hadn’t arrive yet, but he was on his way. One afternoon when billiards was slow he asked me if I wanted to go hunting. Of course I did. We traveled out east of town and split up. I eventually stopped to rest on a fallen log.
The leaves had already let go of the trees and the ground was a rich golden color mixed with all shades of brown. As I got up to resume my hunting, my eyes fell directly on the copper head snake that was as frightened of me as I was of him. My impulse took over and I shot that snake without ever bring my gun up to my shoulder. I fired from the hip, as a reflex, and killed the snake. As I moved my eyes away and then returned then in the direc- tion of the snake, it was difficult to distinguish the reptile from the flora. I also shot and killed my first squirrel that day. It was a tasty treat!
Mother had a telephone in the beauty shop, but we did not have one at home. She said that if we had one everyone would be calling and wanting her to do their hair.
I talked mother into getting a car! It was a ‘62 Ford Falcon. It didn’t have a radio, but it would produce all the heat that a person needed in the winter. Mother said that she didn’t care what else it had, but a heater was absolutely necessary. She remembered the days of the rumble seat. Heat was important to her.