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Fred's Story > Chapters > Growing up through high school

The rest of the high school years 

Date Range: 09/01/1953 To 06/15/1956   Comments: 2 Views: 20036
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Ok, I had  a car before I had a license and my travels were somewhat restricted until I received my full permit. As every male knows, the process of receiving a driver's license is like the right of admission to manhood. It is an eventful day for which every boy longs from the time he's six or so. 

They give you the little driver manual you're supposed to study and you quickly glance through it as all that stuff is for kids, not professional drivers like you. I really thought I knew all that stuff and the written part of the exam was a breeze. Now comes the driving part. One goes to a driver examination point where they had a course set up to go through the motions of showing some grumpy old man that you could really park and steer and do what comes naturally. Wang, bam - I'm through the course as if it was made for me. "Ok, young man. I want you to come back when you learn how to follow instructions." Whaa? What happend? I did everything you told me to do. "Yeah, next time you're told not to put your arm on the window, maybe you'll listen." Son of a bitch! The man did tell me to keep my hands on the wheel in proper fashion and not to put my arm on the window opening. My mistake was putting my arm, elbow, whatever on the open window opening after I was finished driving and felt wonderful for having driven so well. It was a mode of satisfaction after the fact. I guess I was just a little too cocky for the man and he made me pay for it by delaying the great event another week. What a jerk. 

I really learned to dive by watching others drive. It was the most natural thing in the world.  Nobody ever taught me anything. You can rest assured I was a perfect driver and by the book the week after that and passed. Halleluja. I was a man!

Sophomore 12 was one of 25 or so classes for that year. By the time we graduated three years later we had 1110 seniors left. It was the largest class ever at North: the Class of 1956. Each class had sixty some students most of whom wore leather jackets, had pegged pants and strange waxy hairdos - the DJ. It was the 50s.
Initially I was the odd man out as I didn't have any of those things. It didn't take me long though to get my mom to fix my pants and for me to buy a leather jacket. The hair I never quite went along with. There were lots of rough kids in school but in my class environment we had the better students and these were OK. I say OK because I didn't really have any good buddies there but I got along. School in general was a fearful place with very strict discipline. You had to wear a tie. Even with a flannel shirt you had to wear a tie. It didn't matter, that was the uniform. I'm trying to think why I took the trolley so often when I had a car. I think it must have been my dad who started to claim the car as his own as I wasn't making the necessary payments any more. Or maybe it was the cost of gas? The trolley only cost 7 cents on a student ticket and I suppose thats it. In those days I had a terrible problem with erections whenever I saw a girl which was just about all the time. It just happened and the more books I carried with me the better it was to enter and exit the trolley car. It was an embarrassing time. I was a good Catholic boy and didn't even think any bad thoughts but there it was. I guess that's why they only had boys in school otherwise the attention span would be like zero. 

I had chosen to take German in high school as my modern language beside Latin. I'm glad I did as many foreign students quickly forgot their native language without practice. They could speak it but whern it came to writing, they couldn't get a good sentence out. My parents also thought it was good to keep up with my German, besides it was an easy A. I also helped our teacher, Fr Wexler with some of his corrections of papers and home work. My biggest fear was English. I wasn't with the nuns any more and now quite on my own. Surprisingly it came quite easily to me. I could write a pretty good essay with only a year's practice in the language. My difficulties came in Math. Geometry just wasn't my thing but I managed to fake my way through as usual. Latin was also getting tougher. One really had to study for this stuff and who had time to study? Once school was out there was so much to do and home work became of very low importance - until it was due. Gosh was that always an emergency event! Study assignments were generally not done and one would hide from the view of the teacher somewhere in the back in order not to be called on. What a game that was.  

We had moved to 4357 N. 4th St and from there Erich U. and I would do the sillyest things instead of homework. He was a year behind me and still attending St Henry's. We would hop rail road cars to see where they would take us. We would cut school and go climb trees and steep hills instead. It must have been also during this time that we did something really bad. We went out at night and stole hub caps to fit my Olds. The new 1953 Olds had full wheel hubs and they fit nicely on my car. That was not nice and the instigation came from some other kids from the area but we went along for the thrill of it. Stupid stuff. The car was a constant money machine from the negative sense. Something would break or I needed new skirts or whatever it was. I also cut some speakers off a drive-in and tried to make them work to get stereo. Some of these things may have happened in the following year but I was constantly messing around with the car. I tried painting the dash wine red and get the seats upholstered with red leather and plastic seat covers  over it. 

That 49 Olds was my life. I can't really describe the feeling of racing around the neighborhood spinning wheels and looking to pick up girls. I was always shy but usually there would be somebody else in the car who was not afraid of girls and who would talk to the girls. 

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Member Since
Jun 2008
Xan Li Hartfield said:
posted on Sep 09, 2008

There is a lot of sadness in your stories yet they are so full of live, love, family, and little boys being little boys.

Member Since
Aug 2007
Agnes Williams said:
posted on Oct 18, 2009

Mr. Fred, we've missed you.

With regards,
Archibald Sharron