“I was lucky to have great friends in my hometown. Growing up in small towns in the 50’s was so different from today. Friendships were bonds that will never grow old. Though many have passed on, my memories from those years will never leave.
A group of us kind of stuck together all throughout our school years. Partners in crime, you might say. We’d gather either before school or after school and plot our plans. Sometimes our plans went haywire, and we’d wind up in the office of our high school principal, Mr. Glenn. John, Jack and I had Scooters. They were the 50’s version of a “hog.” Mine was red.
In the 50’s, having a bomb shelter was something many people did. The threat was real. Mr. D, Jack’s daddy decided to build a bomb shelter. It was basically a hole in the ground, with a 55- gallon drum for the entry way and had a lid for the top. There was a ladder going down into the hole, which was stocked with some rations, water, a couple of cots and blankets. It even had electricity. Survival kind of stuff. It was like a small room but with a dirt floor, dirt walls, and a ceiling reinforced with railroad ties, then tin roof and dirt. It became our “hide-out.” Or so we thought.
One day, after we checked in at homeroom, we slipped out a side door and headed for our hide out on our scooters. We scooted down the “hole” ladder and began making our plans for our next venture. All of a sudden, a horn is blasting up top. Somebody said “shhhh” and we all fell quiet. Jack eased up the ladder, raised the lid, and right there stood Mr. Glenn. Apparently, he had followed us from school. “Alright boys, I know you’re down there, come on out.” He followed us back to school. This earned us a few days of washing windows, taking out trash, and cleaning blackboards after school. We got off lightly that time.
Another day, the three of us decided it was warm enough to slip out to Coleman’s Lake. Once again, about the time we cross the bridge, kicking up dirt, we looked around and there he was again. “Alright boys, where y’all think you’re going?” He followed us back to school. This earned us more window washing, blackboard washing along with a few days’ detention. Mr. Glenn was a fine man. He just wanted to keep his herd together and there were no lengths to what he would do to make sure we stayed in the herd. I’ve often wondered if he didn’t have a good laugh at the end of the day about our little adventures.
I also recall, however, that Mr. Gambrell showed us what the business end of a paddle was used for and so did Coach Schwabe, but for the life of me, I can’t remember the offense. I’m sure it was a similar circumstance a few of us thought might work out for us but failed.”