A Baby Boomer's Scrapbook

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Utah State of Mind:


Mike Kauppi has been one of my best friends from the first grade on but, between grades 4 and 5, his parents were divorced and he moved away with his mom and older sister, eventually ending up in Connecticut .  Fortunately for us, the divorce allowed Mike and his sister to spend at least one month each summer with his dad and, while he was in Michigan , I spent much of my time at his place.


Mike's dad was a chemist and executive at Dow Corning and, I think, one of the co-inventors of the silicone sealant that we all use around tubs and sinks and for engine gaskets and stuff. As a result, they were pretty well off, at least by Mills Township standards.


I think Mr. Kauppi owned more than a section of land surrounding the corner of Waldo and Baker Roads with woods and fields, a large, spring fed pond, a big circular drive to ride around with bikes and go carts and plenty of room to play and have fun.  It was also fun that Mike and his sister Natalie also had horses.

The Kauppis also had a part time maid and yard/house boy to take care of things for them.


By the time I got to high school, Mr. Kauppi and his second wife, Mary, also had two little kids, Eric and Martha.


Sometime in my Junior year, I think, the kid that did Kauppi's yard and home maintenance work quit for a better job and I took over.


It only paid 50 cents an hour but as long as it gave me enough money for weekend fun, like movies, dances and dates I didn't care too much. In the winter, I worked Saturdays or Sundays emptying trash, shoveling snow, and cleaning and in summer, doing yard work like mowing, cleaning out brush, weeding flowerbeds, painting and washing cars (a Porsche and a Volkswagen).


As the oldest of seven kids, the Kauppis knew I was well qualified so I also did a little baby-sitting. Their house was back in the woods a ways and surrounded by trees so Mary and Mike's dad took advantage of that and, summer and winter, I would watch the kids in the house while, as nudists are want to do, they often romped and played naked in their outdoor sauna, the snow or in the woods.


Although Mary would usually wrap a sheet around herself whenever I walked in, it wasn't unusual for me to walk into the house on Saturday mornings and find Mr. Kauppi sitting in his favorite easy chair, reading the newspaper in his birthday suit.


I was there so much that when Mike was home, I was treated pretty much like family. Sort of a well-liked Cinderfella. And, during the summer, Mike and I would often work together. Me for 50 cents an hour and Mike for just bein' their kid.


After I graduated from Meridian in the summer of '64, I really didn't have any immediate plans.  My dad was encouraging me to think about joining the Air Force but I wasn’t thinking about it too hard. Still 17, I knew didn't have to worry about the draft and Vietnam for a few months so, when Mike came back to Michigan for the summer after his high school graduation, I kept working for the Kauppis and Mike and I did our best to find fun things to do around Midland.


Anyway, to end this preamble on how I got to college, I think shortly after Mike graduated from High School he had been accepted at Utah State University in Logan , Utah . Although he could have gone to a closer school, he really wanted to get as far away from home as he could and since out-of-state tuition at USU was cheaper than in-state tuition at Michigan schools, he chose USU.  He had plans to enter their Automotive Technology program so he could continue work he liked to do with cars and get paid for it. But, by the time he'd accepted, he decided he didn't want to go way out west by himself, so he asked me to go along with him.


Even at less than $1300 a year, including room and board, my folks couldn't afford it so the Kauppis offered to help and, if accepted, I could go to Utah State with Mike. We scrambled to get the paperwork back and forth to and from Utah and, fortunately, I got an acceptance letter just before it was time to go.


When I think about it, I can still feel how exciting (and how cool) it was to pile all of our worldly possessions into Mike's old green '54 Ford sedan and head out on the highway into the great unknown.


My remaining memories of the trip out to Utah include the car ferry ride from Ludington to Milwaukee (a little boring but interesting, since we hadn't done it before) and when we stopped in Kemmerer, on the west border of Wyoming , and bought a big box of Cherry Bombs and some other fireworks.


We hadn't made lodging arrangements before we left so when we got there, we rented a hotel room until we could find a cheaper place to stay. 


There was no dorm space left and, although we looked pretty hard, we couldn't find an apartment right away and ended up spending more than a month in that old hotel.  Actually, although it was downtown and a little to far from the campus, it was pretty nice, with TV and maid service and all.  There were also a few restaurants within walking distance, which was good but it was also bad because we ended up spending a lot more money than our budgets would allow. 


We eventually found an apartment in a subdivided old house about 4 blocks from the college.


The first quarter of school went fairly well ( Utah State had quarters, not semesters). I ended up with a B average and I think Mike did a little better than that.  But, com pared to high school, our social lives were pretty dull.  That was kind of depressing.


The apartment we lived in was part of a house that was separated into a one-bedroom side and a two-bedroom side (about a 1/3-2/3 split size wise).  We had the small side and the other was occupied by 4 guys from New England who, I think, had been moving around the country going to school together for about six years.  At the time they were all doing their best to stay in school in an effort to keep their draft deferments. 


The guys next door were interesting characters, of legal drinking age and real party animals.  On some weekends it was pretty hard to get any sleep from the noise through our com mon wall.


Since we'd spent most of our living money much too soon, we spent some of our spare time looking for part time work but didn't have much luck.  I had filled out bunches of job applications that all asked the question "Are you LDS" and answered “No” out of ignorance until I finally asked someone what "LDS" meant.  As you may know, LDS means "Latter Day Saint's" (Mormon) and in all likelihood, if you weren't Mormon, you wouldn't find a job. It was an interesting lesson.


We were able to find a couple of day labor jobs though through the school bulletin board. One job was for picking apples and the other was for digging up potatoes.


The potato pickin' job didn't go very well.  They gave us a belt to wear that had a large hook on it.  A large gunny sack was hung on the hook and, as we bent over to pick up the potatoes, the sack was dragged along between our legs while we loaded the open sack with potatoes.  We got a nickel for every hundred pound sack we filled and, at first, we could do about 25 bags an hour.  It's a good thing we were young and strong because it was, literally, a backbreaking job.  Unfortunately, after about three hours, the potatoes petered out (too small and too far apart) and we had to stop.


When the farmer said that he couldn't pay us because there weren't enough potatoes to make any money on, an older student got angry and told him that, if we didn't get paid, he would tell the school and the farmer might have a real hard time getting help in the future.  Fortunately, the small protest worked and after he left for a little while, the farmer came back with our meager wages.


The apple pickin' job went much better but only lasted a couple of days.


We were unable to find any more work for the rest of the school year.


In addition, the Mormon culture was a bit of a shock and our social lives were the pits. I'll give you an example.


On Halloween we were looking for something to do and decided to go to an advertised Halloween dance at the Stake House on campus. We didn't know what the Stake House was but, hey, a party is a party so, in an effort to look somewhat costumed for the occasion, we blacked our faces and dressed down to look like bums.


The ticket seller for the dance sat at table on the sidewalk at the entrance to the Stake House and when we pulled out our money he kind of looked at us funny and may have said something like "Are you sure?". We should have asked "Why not?" but he took our money anyway and we went in.


Well, if this was a Halloween Dance, the whole room looked like it was filled with Penguins and Princesses cause everyone was dressed in suits and gowns. We stood there for a few minutes until we noticed that many people had turned their heads our way with strange or amused looks on their faces. We left quickly. We were hoping to at least get our money back but the money taker out front had conveniently disappeared.


The first quarter ended just before Christmas and Mike had the money for a trip home but I didn't so I was alone for the two or three weeks between the first and second quarters.  I still didn't know anyone yet so it was a pretty lonely time for me.  I was invited to the landlord's Christmas party, which was interesting.  They were either non-Mormons or Jack Mormons so I had a little too much to drink. I accepted an invitation to com e next door by a pretty girl who was a tenant in an upstairs apartment also owned by my landlord.  It turned out that she was really a pretty "lady of the evening" and when she found out that I was just another college student with no money; she politely led me back to the party and went on her way looking for other prospects (I assume).


One night I went to the downtown theater to see "The Pink Panther" and on my walk home, since it was almost a mile, I was glad to accept a ride from a guy driving a nice new Chevy. I'd done a lot of hitchhiking in Michigan and it was pretty cold so I didn't think twice about getting in the car with him until he asked me if I was interested in "fooling around" (he may have been a little more graphic than that).  I suspect I told him in some way that I wasn't interested in that sort of thing and asked him to drop me off at the next corner and he did.


Not too long after that, armed with a couple of checks that I got in the mail for my tuition, room and board, along with a naïve hope to get a part time job, on whim, I offered to buy a nice blue 1936 Ford that my landlord had for sale for $200.  I didn't have enough to give him the whole $200 so when I handed the landlord $100 and an IOU, he let me take the car until I could com e up with the other $100.  



This is not the '36 Ford I had but it does look just like it and is the same color.


A dumb thing to do but hey, it's a kid’s job to do dumb things, right?


When Mike got back, I think he was a little shocked and surprised that, considering our previous financial straights, I would spend my money on a car but I also think he liked the car so he didn't say much.


The second quarter saw a little improvement in my social life when I met a girl but was that was the start of a downhill academic slide. Socially, Mike's didn't do as well but managed to keep his grades up.


Without the extra $100 that I spent on the old car money, though, and no job opportunities to fill the gap, things got pretty tight. Mike kept bugging me to ask my folks for money from home but I was too embarrassed or ashamed to do that so we began to run out of food. We ended up by eating macaroni without cheese, salad without dressing, and as many untasty staples as we could afford. It wasn't enough and we got desperate.


Thus began my life of crime.


The food store where we shopped used stick-on labels to price their goods. So, when no one was looking we would switch labels on the cans of stuff we wanted to buy. Like taking the 29-cent label off a can of corn and putting it on the 49-cent can of tuna. I think we only did it a few times but I still feel lucky that we weren't caught.


Another occasion where an opportunity for crime reared it's ugly head was when, at the Laundromat, one of us noticed that the big glass ball that held the gum in the bubble gum machine was loose and when we wiggled it, the ball came off and a lot of the gumballs fell out on the floor. Of course, we didn't want to put all of that dirty gum back (too, unsanitary... some poor little kid might get sick) so we dumped them (along with the pennies) into one of our laundry bags and took them home.


Later, at that same Laundromat, we discovered that, although we had enough quarters for the wash, we didn't have enough dimes for the drier. We did have lots of pennies from that gumball machine though so, while the washer was going, we sat on the floor and, by rubbing them on a rough cement pad under the washers, ground enough pennies down to dime size so that we could finish our laundry.


Fortunately, our money for the next semester eventually came and, since I didn't have the extra $100 to finish paying for the 36 Ford, the landlord was willing to accept a deal to take car back and keep my $100 for the last month or two of rent.  That mostly ended our desperation and along with it, my petty criminal career. The only consequence was a lifetime of petty guilt.


Anyway, to go back to the beginning of the second Quarter, somewhere about that time, I met a girl. To protect the innocent, I'll change her name to "Linda".


Anyway again, lots of high school girls would com e to the few dances that were held in the College Student Union building and I met "Linda" there. She was 16 and a Jr. at Cache Valley High. I learned a lot about life and a little about Mormons from "Linda" and her family. Not allowed to smoke or drink (even Colas) or party hard, about the only fun thing left for Mormon teens was dancing and sex and even the dancing was as limited as possible.  A clue to the acceptability of sex as entertainment for Mormons was a marriage age in Utah (at the time) of 15 for boys and 13 for girls. Not too long after we met, I learned that "Linda's" 15-year-old brother (I don't remember so let's call him Ted) was about to be married to his pregnant 14-year-old girlfriend. "Linda's" parents seemed happy to fix up Ted's room so that his new bride could move in and live with them while they waited for the "blessed event".  Ted was still in High School and had a job as an usher at the local movie theater. I didn't envy his situation at all but I did envy him for his real clean '51 Mercury sedan.


I didn't suspect their motives to “convert” me at first but "Linda's" parents were very nice and invited me to com e over any time. Although a prohibited activity, like teenagers everywhere, most of the kids did there best to get someone to find booze for them. "Linda" liked Sloe Gin so, if I could talk one of our "over 21" neighbors into it, I was sometimes able to buy a bottle for our dates. This actually wasn't as bad as it sounds to me now.  With her many friends, the bottle usually got passed around so much that nobody ever got much more than a little tipsy.


A bottle of Gin even saved my buns one night. "Linda" and I were standin g alone in the parking lot at a local high school dance one evening when a group of guys that "Linda" knew gathered around us to talk. When they found out that I was a Utah State student, someone decided that it would be fun to beat the crap out of a college guy.  It is doubtful that I would have survived without severe bruises and contusions had "Linda" not sweet-talked the biggest guy into trading our escape for half-a-bottle liquor. "Linda" was a pretty smart gal and also very passionate. We spent much of our time together "making out" whenever and wherever we were.


As I said, I didn’t do too bad during the first quarter and ended up with a “B” average, I think.  After I met “Linda” in the second quarter, my interest in school started to slip and so did my grades. I think I ended up with a “C” average in the second quarter. I didn’t have much trouble with the Automotive Technology courses but, because I didn’t plan on it, I didn’t take any college prep stuff in high school and had a rough time with most of the generic “101” and “102” courses. In addition, because I just took easy courses, high school was such a piece of cake that my study habits were not just bad, they were non-existent.  In hindsight, laziness from lack of interest didn’t help much either.


Academically, Mike did a lot better.  He was a better student than me to begin with and, though he tried as hard as I did to find a girlfriend, he had no luck and was forced to avoid that distraction.


It also didn’t help either of us, career-wise, to read some posted letters from former Auto Tech students who described their job experiences.  One guy was working for an automaker (Ford or GM) and it sounded like his job was more like a high tech mechanic than an engineer.  Another guy explained that he was working in the exciting new field of “emissions control”.  To macho guys like Mike and I, who were typically more interested in power and speed, emissions control sounded awful boring and we began to look for other fields of interest.


Another unpleasant choice of classes was physical education.  It was required for first year students and I took swimming the first quarter, which wasn’t too bad.  For some reason, in the second quarter, I ended up in the Air Force ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corp) program. I didn’t like that at all and I was glad I didn’t join up after school as my dad was encouraging me to do before I got the chance to go to Utah State .


A memorable experience with AFROTC was when we were asked to “volunteer” for the campus blood drive.  We were standing in formation and told that those who volunteered to give blood could leave but those who chose not to “volunteer” must remain standing at attention for the remainder of the hour.  After recovering from hepatitis at age 15, I was told by a doctor never to give blood for fear of infecting others so I chose not to “volunteer” and remained at attention.  After standing in the field all by myself for several minutes as the only one who didn’t volunteer, and after some harassment, the group leader finally broke down and asked me why I wouldn’t give blood.  When gave him my reason, he thought about it for a few minutes and then left me standing there alone.  When he returned, he said that he’d talked a Dr. who told him that they would test my blood first to see if it was acceptable and if not, I wouldn’t be asked to give.


A very old white haired doctor tested my blood and said it was OK to use for plasma (whatever that means) and I did give ‘em a pint but I think my initial refusal to give put a black mark on my record and soured my attitude so my ROTC grades weren’t too good after that.


Tiring of the automotive curriculum, Mike and I both changed our majors the third quarter. My grades had dropped to a “C” average anyway and I was hoping a change would revive my interest in school, at least a little.  Mike changed to Sociology (I think) and I changed to Landscape Architecture.


It turned out for me that Landscape Architecture was even less fun than Auto Technology and my collegiate interests began to fade even more.


Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, as my school experiences deteriorated, my love life improved, or visa versa.


Whenever possible, I would borrow Mike’s car and pick “Linda” up after school (my ’36 Ford broke not too long after I got it but I couldn’t afford the fuel pump part needed to fix it).  Actually, her last class was not at the high school.  Most students who were Mormon took an hour of religious instruction each day at the Mormon Center across the street from the high school. That was “Linda’s” last class and where I would pick her up.  Sometimes she’d skip her religious training class and we’d go somewhere and park for the hour or so before I had to take her home.  Once or twice when I picked her up we went back to my apartment, if I knew that Mike wouldn’t be there.  I wasn’t interested in religion but I guess you could say that our after school rendezvous were sort of a religious experience for me.


Sometimes, when I dropped her off at her house, I would go in and visit. The most interesting visit was one day when I took her home and her Mom wasn’t there.


Her back yard was fairly secluded so we went through the house out to the swing set located near the garage.  “Linda” was leaning against one of the swing set’s legs and, after several minutes of serious necking and petting, with the breathing getting pretty heavy, I looked up to see “Linda’s” mom standing with her hands folded across her chest silently watching us from behind the screen door.  I have no idea how long she had been there. 


As I slowly began to remove my hand from deep inside “Linda’s” pants in the hope that her mom wouldn’t notice, “Linda”, not knowing that her mom was there, grabbed my arm to push my hand back in.  When I whispered that her mom was watching, her gut reaction then was to jerk my arm out which, unfortunately, must have made what I was doing extremely obvious to her mom.


I thought my goose was cooked until, after a few seconds, Mom gave me sort of a Mona Lisa like smile and turned away from the screen door.


Nothing was said as I passed through the house on my way out to the car and, although we were much more cautious about showing affection for each other when at her home, “Linda” never told me if her mom ever said anything to her about that day.


But, “Linda” and I didn’t slow down much when we weren’t at her house.  More about that later while I cool off from the memory.


As I mentioned, at school the Landscape Architecture curriculum wasn’t what I expected.  There was more landscape than architecture to it and I ended up having to learn about plants and trees and bushes and such and I was bored to tears. 


Of course spring was in the air as well and with “Linda” to distract me, my attention to schoolwork deteriorated even more and, by the time the school year ended, my grades had dropped to a “D” average.


My last day at school was the most memorable. Mike’s last class (final exam) ended later than my last class so I picked up “Linda” from school and brought her back to the apartment for what I hoped would be an intimate farewell.  I wasn’t disappointed.


I’m lucky to have been able to make love with three girls in my life.  I’ve had three first times, so to speak. Unfortunately, all three first times ended the same way.  “Linda” was the first “first time” and just as we got to the most passionate part of our goodbye, there was a terrific banging on the door.


Anxious to start the trip back to Michigan as soon as possible, Mike had finished his last final exam and quickly as possible and got back to the apartment early.  He couldn’t get in because it was locked (for obvious reasons) and mercilessly continued a non-stop banging on the door and yelling to open up and let him in. We got dressed as fast as we could but by the time “Linda” got to the bathroom and I got to the door, the Mormon neighbor lady was also screaming across the yard “He’s got a girl in there, he’s got a girl in there!!!”.


The car was already packed so it took only minutes to get going. Mike drove “Linda” home on our way out of town so we didn’t have a chance to say much before we parted. I don’t know if I left the impression that I would be back in the fall but I’m sure when we left that Mike and I were pretty sure that we wouldn’t. I’m also pretty sure that “Linda” was expecting me to return.


I got a letter from “Linda” not too long after I got back that said she was “knitting booties”. Fortunately, for both of us, that turned out not to be true. Mike did go back out west to school in the fall but switched to Northern Arizona University .  On a break, he drove up to Logan the next year did see “Linda” and said “Hi”. After my last letter in the summer of ’65, I never saw or heard from her again.


The summer of ’65…


The trip back to Michigan from Utah State was quick. I think it took us only about 24 hours. Mike drove most of the way and I don’t think we stopped for anything but gas and food until we got home.


After a short recovery time at beaches and drive-ins, Mike and I went job hunting. One of our first job leads from the employment office was at a store in downtown Midland . The job was tarring a roof and when we accepted, the foreman told to grab a tar filled mop and get started. We were dressed in white shirts, dress shoes and slacks more suitable for job hunting than day labor and told the guy we’d be back after we changed or clothes.  He said something like “Never mind then” and we left thinking that the guy was some kind of jerk but I guess it was a good lesson for us.


Mike eventually got a job helping to install new lanes in the bowling alley. Mike didn’t like it very much but it paid enough for Mike to buy a car (an MGA sports car, I think) so he stuck it out until he was ready to go back to school in the fall.


Just before I got back from Utah , my mom had taken a job as babysitter for one of our neighbors and traded some of her time and some cash for a 1955 Plymouth convertible that she gave to me. It wasn’t the coolest color or the hottest style but it sure was great transportation for a teenager just out of school.  


Again, not the '55 Plymouth convertible I had but just like it except for color.


Joe Hansen was a neighbor who had an Insecticide/Herbicide business and he offered me summer work for a buck an hour so I took it. Although I’m pretty sure Joe had another crew besides us, Joe’s 16 year-old son Larry and I worked together and I think did most of the work. Joe seemed to spend most of his time going from bar to bar to find customers. That seemed to work OK until the end of the summer when the bugs and weeds went away and Joe slipped me a last handful of cash and told me that he didn’t need me any more.


I think that even before we left Utah , Mike had decided not to go back and, during the summer, made an effort to find another college. I don’t remember why but he chose to go back out west and got accepted at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff . After he left for Arizona , I didn’t see Mike again for another 3 years or so.


After Joe let me go, I was able to get a job as a gas pump jockey at the Bay Station near McDonalds on Saginaw road and, shortly after that, had to make a decision about school. After one year of school I began to assume that a college education would probably give me a better (or easier) living than a blue-collar factory job but I felt guilty about my first year’s performance and didn’t want to borrow more money from my former benefactors. It was a full time job but the gas station owner was willing to let me work around a school schedule so I signed up for three classes at Delta Com munity College .


I was only making minimum wage of a buck and a quarter an hour and, with school and my job, working lots of hours, but none of that seemed to hard to do at the time. Living for free at home still left me enough money and no apparent obligations to anybody or anything left me plenty of time to party and roam. Life was good…


For a while…


I knew it was a risk to take only nine credit hours at Delta and, sure enough, within a couple of months of starting school, I got a notice that I had lost my deferment and was eligible for the draft. I was kind of expecting that so, at my dad’s encouragement, I’d already visited the Air Force recruiter to see what it would take to dodge the draft by joining the Air Force. The recruiter arranged for me to take a day trip to Detroit and take some tests to see what kind of training I would qualify for.


While I was waiting to hear from the Air Force (or the Draft Board), I partied on…


Knowing the end of my home life was near, whether I was drafted or got into the Air Force, I dropped out of school so that I would have even more time to party.


One night I met Sue Hand at McDonald’s while she was driving around by herself in her brother’s ’64 Chevy. Sue's brother had gone off to the Army and left his car at home. It had a 327 engine and a 4 speed transmission and Sue was very brave to let me drive it (I hope her brother never found out).


Anyway, once I got behind the wheel, I decided to drive around to try and find a good place to park. Not knowing Midland very well in the dark and in a hurry to get the smooching started I tried to find a good spot by turning up every promising looking alley and side-street. We must have been on the good side of town because every alley and side street turned out to be some rich folk’s driveway. I don't think we ever stopped to park and it was after 4 in the morning before I got home.


I was supposed to be at the Ashman Street Bay Station to open up at 6AM that morning but thought I could get at least an hour’s shuteye so I laid down. I didn’t wake up till almost 7 and, lead footing it down Eastman Road, I passed a car on a small hill just as he was turning left. The force of his impact aimed me at some gas pumps at a grocery store on the left side of the road and, though I smashed into them pretty hard, a tall cement abutment that the pumps were setting on kept me from wiping out the pumps and the potential fireball that may have resulted.


I wasn’t hurt much but that nice Plymouth convertible was totaled. It was about as far from a chick magnet as you could get but I managed to buy an old 52 Pontiac from a neighbor for only 50 bucks and was back at work in no time with almost no consequences. 


52_pontiac[1]_crop.jpg (15938 bytes)

'52 Pontiac 4 Door Sedan



The accident was my fault so I got a ticket and had to go see the Justice of the Peace. After a stern scolding and an $85 fine, I found out that the Justice of the Peace was also the head of the Draft Board. I asked him how long it would be before I was drafted and, without hesitation, he said 45 days from the notice that I’d lost my deferment. I told him that I’d been talking to the Air Force and when I asked if I still had a chance to avoid the Army, he said “Well, if you’re sworn into the Air Force by the day you’re supposed to climb on the Army bus, you can tear up your Draft Card.” I should have ignored that suggestion…


The Air Force was doing it’s best to accommodate draft averse kids like me and I squeaked in just under the wire. I was supposed to report to the Army on January 5th and was sworn in to the Air Force in Detroit on January 4th. Fortunately, the Air Force didn’t have room for me even then so I was given a delayed enlistment date and didn’t have to be at the Air Force base in Detroit until February 6th of ’66. This gave me a little more time to get into trouble before I left Midland .


Knowing my time was short and having no idea how my life would change when I left for the military, I tried to pack in as much fun (and female companionship) in my last days as I could afford. The Pontiac was an OK car but wouldn’t start when it was hot (I had to either leave it running or wait a half hour for it to cool down) so I bought what I thought was a cool a Renault Dauphine. It was actually a “cold” Renault Dauphine that burned a lot of oil and was the most un com fortable ‘date’ car I could have had. I think I kind of froze out Letitia Burkhardt on my last date with her. I ended up driving the Pontiac again more often than I wanted and, luckily, was able to talk the Bay Station manager into letting me borrow a nice rental car off and on for much of the last month I was at home.


I did get in at least on more date with Sue Hand . At her suggestion, I think, we went to someone's wedding reception. There was lots of dancing and music and at least one punch bowl that was well spiked. I probably spent much more time at the punch bowl than I should have and, as a com mon topic at the time, someone started to talk about Vietnam . That was when I decided that it might be fun or funny to burn my draft card.

Being in what may have been an American Legion or VFW hall, several other guys didn't think it was so funny and at least four of them picked me up by the arms and legs and threw me out into the snow. My loud protestations that I had already signed up fell on deaf ears (well, the music was sort of loud) and made no difference.


I was eventually able to convince the doorkeepers of my innocence and was allowed back in but I think we left a short while later. I don't remember what happened with the rest of the evening but my memory loss may have had something to do with my numerous trips to the punch bowl. Fortunately, Sue doesn’t remember either so at least I didn’t do anything more that was so bad that it was memorable to her.


My free time during my last few weeks in Midland were spent dragging the drive-ins with friends and in a frantic search for the that one girl that I’d write home to (and get the Dear John letter from) while I was stranded in some far off distant land (Well, Wyoming is ‘kind of’ far off!)


Luckily and sadly, I did find that one girl and did get that ‘Dear John” letter (actually, a ‘Dear Max’ phone call) but that’s another story…


If you have anything to say or ask about what you see or read here (or find mistakes that need correcting), 

send Max an email at mbishop5@cox.net ...