The Almost Daily Thread

musings from the blue chair

Cars and boys but not just teenage things

on October 22, 2014

I fell out of a car once, a moving car! Carrie Lee and I were in Ashland, the nearest town from our small village of Russell. And although we went to church in downtown Ashland, did all of our shopping in Ashland and had great relationships with the Tomcats in youth group, we were venturing into hostile high school rival territory. The rivalry had recently gotten ugly at a basketball game where a row of Tomcat football players jumped down from bleacher seats onto a row of Red Devil boys who then cascaded onto the Russell High School Band. Trombones and flutes and backpacks and purses and children flew. Police escorted bloody victims and a community was in shock. The follow up was stern police warnings for students to stay in their own territory until things calmed down.

Soon after, a girl rubbed a greasy BBF hamburger on our windshield one Friday night we were daringly stupid enough to venture outside there. Then ten or so girls surrounded our car and wiped nasty hamburger and catsup and whatever all over the windows. The 5-6 of us inside knew we=d pushed the envelope too far. We went to the nearest gas station and cleaned the windows. The attendant told us to get ourselves back to Russell. We drove straight back home to the Outpost to shriek our injustice like only pumped up teenage girls can do. We incited our boys to the defense which lead to retaliation, vindication, and more than a few bruises and bloodied noses. The boys continued to taunt each other, challenge each other fights, and to count their victories by drag race.

We did, however, win that basketball game and even went to state that year and several years after. Russell briefly knocked the Tomcats, the biggest, most winning school for many years, off their throne.

So, in the heat of the rivalry the two of us going to Ashland was a daring adventure. Carrie Lee was driving a maroon Chevy Impala, one of the many cars her big brother Tommy crashed up. While still driveable, the passenger side was beat up significantly. He hit a mailbox while delivering papers.

Oh and the other part… Our Red Devil boyfriends did not fancy their girls going into Tomcat territory especially to wave at boys at the Bluegrass, their Happy Days hangout complete with speakers and curb dog delivery. (The Outpost did not have speakers.) This well established teen hang out was the place to drive around and be seen. And drive around and be seen. And drive around – well you get the picture. (One time, much later, Sally and I drove over a hundred miles going from the Outpost to the Bluegrass when we were supposed to be at the library. Who knew her mom was checking the mileage?) The routine was drive around a few times, park, order probably a Flying Saucer, onion rings and milkshake, to enjoy while watching the cruisers. Then become the cruiser. Gasoline was $.28 – $.30 a gallon. Yep, it’s a fact.

So…Carrie Lee and I NEEDED hose and makeup for Homecoming and we managed to get a car for an hour. We cruised the Outpost – always the first thing to do when commandeering a vehicle. Then off to Ashland.

First stop Merle Norman. Carrie Lee pulls up in front of the Arcade for me to run in and after pushing and shoving, I can’t open the car door. I try and try. The car behind us honks so we go around the block. She pulls up to the same spot. Door is still stuck. She puts the car into park, hops out, comes to my side, opens the door and I get out. She slams the creaky door shut. She runs and gets back into the driver’s seat and drives around the block. She gets out of the car. I get in and we drive a block to our next stop.

Onto the next block to Parsons, for hose. The door remains stuck from the inside. Same routine. Car into park, hop out, pull open cranky passenger door, shove passenger door shut, hop back into driver’s seat, drive around the block, get out of car, Susan slides in. We take off.

Why didn’t we just park the car, walk through town to both stores? I suspect we sped through our mission so we could cruise the Bluegrass and have a vanilla coke before returning home in time to dress for the dance. I also suspect there is a slight possibility we were being the daring, sneaky, you-can’t-tell-me-what-to-do 16 year olds. Just saying.

Hose, makeup mission accomplished we are off to teen mecca way up on 33rd and Winchester – way out of our safety zone, but we have some minutes of rebellious freedom even if it’s in a banged up Impala.

Confidently and quickly Carrie Lee backs into a spot on the front row, without hitting the speaker or another car! (Maybe she is a better driver than Tommy.) We lucked into a very cool parking spot even if it’s early on a Friday evening when not many are hanging out. We recognize no one, not even any of those really cute church boys. With a little trepidation and cockiness, we order and sit, holding our spot for a while, knowing that soon we would have to parade out of there with our Greenup County license plate and really be seen.

Carrie Lee starts the car, pulls out and we turn toward the 33rd street, and the car or Carrie Lee must have taken on its dragster Tommy persona. “I’m going to peel out,” is the last thing I hear before my ass hits the ground and I scoot in the opposite direction the car is squealing into. Dazed, I sit for a second only to realize she has thrown the car into reverse and a red fast moving machine with the door hanging open is heading straight for me. I roll over in the street. She stops beside me and I crawl in, my face in the seat because by now the pain in my buttocks starts screaming. I do get the stupid door shut.

And as we drive away hysteria ensues. Laughing. Crying. Laughing. Spitting. Choking. Laughing. And a couple of blocks away I realize the hose and makeup are missing.

We are forced back to the scene of the humiliation. Maybe the items are lying on the street and no one even noticed. And so maybe no one even noticed the giant screeching rubber peeling sound or a young woman sitting in the street and a big red car backing up about to run over her.

No package. And no more money or time to repurchase said items.

Driving and laughing our way down Winchester Ave towards home we stop at a light only to see the driver in the car behind us holding our packages out his window. I refuse to even touch the door again and besides that, I can barely move my lower half. I am still face down in the seat. So, she puts the car in park, and goes back to retrieve the goods, only to face the witnesses who are also laughing hysterically.

I literally keep my tail tucked and we drive home laughing so hard we are speechless most of the way.

Ruined was my favorite pair of dark green wool bell bottoms that zipped up the back. The seat scorched through to the lining. As my pride slides down the street, in sashays laughter that hasn’t yet stopped. In fact, we laughed when I called to tell her I was writing this post. And not just a chuckle, a real belly laugh.

The boyfriends who both eventually became husbands failed to see the humor then or really anytime thereafter we laughed about it! My mother didn’t think it one bit funny. And it did affect my dance moves that night although I couldn’t sit down so I guess I tried to shake a little that evening. But, my shake had been rattled and rolled!

End of story? Nope. Just when some of the humiliating events of one’s past seem to fade into oblivion a 15 year class reunion is held and out of the blue a class mate asks, “Wasn’t that you I saw fall out of a car at the Bluegrass one time?”

Yep. That was me. I loved those pants.

I would like to dedicate this blog post to:
Thomas Leland Moore, Jr. November 8, 1947 – December 21, 2013.
Tommy had the best duck-tails ever. He could throw his hip out while he slicked his side hair smoothly from the top of his ear to the base of his neck.
He perfected the Outpost strut. He walked the swagger; a tall, blonde, handsome boy with a tantalizing, mischievous smile.
He was my first husband’s BFF for many, many years, through many, many trials. And they served in Vietnam about the same time as helicopter crew chiefs.
Tommy loved cars. He liked to build them, and fix them. He raced them. He watched them race. He helped others race. He also wrecked cars. He wrecked a bunch of them. He also gassed them when he ran the gas station. I wonder if he created Morehead Auto Parts to have all the wholesale venue he ever needed?
I like to think that all those times in life he ignored the caution flag he was clutching to win all he could out of this life. I like to think he crossed through the Pearly Gates carrying the checkered flag proudly one more time.

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8 responses to “Cars and boys but not just teenage things

  1. Sherrt says:

    Thanks again for writing another very enjoyable blog. I continue to get to know better a beloved cousin of mine.

  2. Is this the same Sally mentioned in your book? Except I think you spelled it Sallie. I grew up with going to Parsons and remember going to many basketball games where we played the Tomcats, and they were still on the winning streak. This is right out of American Graffiti.

  3. amanda1mc says:

    I was laughing so hard! *tears rolling down my cheeks* Love this one!

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