Being teenagers in a gang of country boys could be exciting. It was nothing like the “gangs” of today. We did do stuff that got us shot at on one occasion, though. We like riding motorcycles at two am in the morning through the neighborhood and it wasn’t taken to well to by the folks trying to sleep. Especially when the motorcycles had no mufflers. Back then Honda was just coming into their own with the 150’s and 175’s. Me? I had a 98. It was a small bike, but it would do sixty.
But on to what sparked this writing. We had a group of guys numbering somewhere around twenty or so. All of us ranged from mid to late teens or all high school age any way. We were from different backgrounds. Some of us were farming families, some of them had dad’s that worked construction at the local mining facility. We had an open pit mine for phosphate. It was our only industry besides farming.
One of the families contributed two of the guys in the gang. They were A.B. and Levi. Their dad was sort of the odd man out. He was a car salesman over in Bayboro. He eventually bought the business and when the son’s grew up they worked it too. I’m rambling. Sorry.
The reason I mention these two is because beside their house was this old run down two story house. It was an old clapboard farm style house with a front porch that ran the entire front of the house. It was close to the dirt road that ran in front of it. Most roads back then were not paved.
The gang was looking for a place to hang out where we wouldn’t be bothering anyone and this place was off the beaten path save only A.B. and Levi’s parents next to it. Even at that there was about a hundred feet of woods separating the two houses.
We found the guy who owned the house and we talked to him about using it. He said outside of us using it he’d probably just let it rot down, so he gave us permission to use it. It wasn’t originally wired for power. That was done after the fact. He did tell us if we wanted power we’d have to be responsible for the power bill and we’d have to be the ones who had it turned on. So even as old as the house was the power company didn’t require an inspection or anything. They just came out and turned on the power.
So, this was our official hangout. We even had guys come over from other areas to visit. Our only problem was one of our own. His name was Billy. He had a habit of being an instigator. He tried to get Al, a guy from a neighboring area and me to fight by telling each of us separately that the other had talked trash about the other. It didn’t work out though. Al and I compared notes and Billy narrowly missed getting his chance to have his ass whipped by Al and me.
Billy had it coming, so here’s what happened. Billy tried some stuff on us late one day and we told him he wasn’t coming into the house that night. A bunch of us were going to be staying over that night. We traveled out from there for our night prowling and would sleep there. But Billy was determined he wanted to stay with us. After dark we locked the door and we were playing cards or talking trash about the girls at school and Billy comes up out front and steps up on the porch and knocks on the door. We told him to go away, but he refused and started banging and kicking on the door. We started laughing and taunting him and told him to get the hell on down the road. After a bit he left only to return a couple of more times later in the evening. We didn’t relent.
So, well into the night we decided if he came back after we bedded down we would fix his fat butt. A couple of us went over to A.B.’s and got two buckets of water and came back through the back door and placed them by the front door. A couple of us stayed downstairs and the rest of us bunked down upstairs.
So, true to Billy’s persistence he came back around one or so and began banging on the door again waking us up. We told him to go away, only this time we told him if he didn’t go away he’d be sorry. He yelled back he wanted in the house or else.
Oh well. The two guys got the buckets ready and one the others of us told him we’d open the door if he’d just calm down. He promised to do so. Then we opened the door, but to his surprise we soaked him with two buckets of water and shut the door and told him to get the hell on down the road and don’t come back. Needless to say he was screaming bloody murder, but he did leave. We had broken him of coming back for rest of the night. It didn’t break him of causing trouble though.
That’s funny! I had a classmate named Billy who was kind of wild too. He and I attended a Christian School (Church of Christ), whose principal was Mr. Luster. Mr. Luster was okay, but he took his job too seriously, he was really in the wrong line of work. One day Billy and I decided to see if we could cause the urinals in the boys’ restroom to overflow, by constantly flushing them!
Of course we got caught. Mr Luster gave us a choice of punishment–three days of after-school detention, or three licks by his paddle (nicknamed “Woody”). He suggested we choose the three licks, to get it over with more quickly, and we chose that. Hurt like hell, but it was just three licks (Mr. Luster was harsh, but fair). Then he said, in his typical Medieval manner, “Be gone.” And we left his office, and we never did that again!