Sunday Fight Behind the Root Beer Stand

The Fight. Let’s get one thing straight right now. I wasn’t involved in The Fight. I was an accessory I guess, though.  More on that later on.

Sandy VanOrman and I hung out together the last couple years of high school from time to time. We had some interesting things that happened to us together. Here are a few recollections of those times. I remember we used to make tapes together with music and our own broadcast. Such as a newscast that would stop and then a current song was stuck in there to fill in the words we wanted to say. An example might be…. ” Here we are on Michigan Avenue in Chicago” (then the song Walkin’ Down the Street singing do-wah-diddy-diddy-dum-diddy do) and “look there is a man with a gun coming towards us” first would be athe song…(there’s man with a go over there) and followed by (song We Gotta Get Out of This Place, if it’s the Last Thing we ever Do”) We thought they were hilarious.

We both enjoyed music. In fact on February 9, 1964 we went on a youth group trip on the train to Chicago to see a play that was chaperoned by Carol Kreiling. We got home about ten minutes until seven to my house and no one was home. On the TV that night was The Beatles making their first visit to the Ed Sullivan Show. We got two badminton rackets and played along with them in my living room. That was for every song they played and we knew all the words to it. We loved the British Invasion.

Some Sunday Football

Sunday afternoons were spent playing football. We would sometimes play behind the Lutheran Church in Manito with Kirk Hilst, Nello Rossi and a host of others. We would play tackle and it got brutal but we never  broke any bones. On occasion we played on the side yard of Sandy’s house (the one he stills lives in). That lasted for a pure two hours as we started at 1pm and ended at 3pm. This gave me plenty of time to still get to Linda’s house.

Algebra 2 Test

There was only one time I remember doing a bad thing while in high school. I worked the last three years in the principal’s office running errand and doing the leg work instead of going to study hall. During my junior year it was around Christmas time and final exams were upon us. I had ONE teacher in high school in my four years that I didn’t like. I didn’t like him at all. He taught Algebra classes and Geometry. He always had a smart alec thing to say to me. So this Christmas he ran off copies of his Algebra II test and put it in his mailbox. I wasn’t in that class as it was some of the upperclassmen. I swiped one of the tests the day before and decided to give it to Sandy. Lo and behold what did he do? He had a study party somewhere and invited many classmates over to “review” for the test. I was stunned and expecting the word got out. Nope. Sandy never told them where it came from and they all did very well on that test. I dodged a bullet and knew at that moment Sandy had my back.

Drag Race Nationals

I knew nothing about cars. Let me repeat that. Nothing. One day Sandy got tickets to the National Drag Finals in Indianapolis and made plans for us to go. His plans we no lodging, no plans, just go. That first day he was in heaven as we wandered the pit area and he knew every engine and stuff around. I just followed. He talked to everybody and everybody talked to him. About 6pm it was time to get some food and park his car in a bank lot and sleep. Sandy wanders over to me and says, “I got us a room tonight.” Whoa, we were staying in a hotel? Then he says that one of the crew members (4 of them) had offered us their floor to sleep on and he accepted. Did we know these guys? Well, at least I didn’t. Sandy was unfazed and we went to their hotel and slept ( I think my eyes were open all night) on the floor. It was a nice gesture but I had visions of being chopped up while I attempted to sleep. Nothing happened and they invited us to stay close to them all day down in the pit. I can say I went to a Nationals Drag Race but I can’t say I learned much. But Sandy Ford ( he loved his middle name) had a blast and we came home in one piece.

ACT Test Day

Sandy’s mom was a really nice lady but she worried all the time where he was and what he was doing. One particular night we had been out hanging around with Kirk Hilst and wandered back to his house. They had a ping-pong table in the basement and we played and played. It was also the night before Sandy was to take the ACT test. He didn’t tell Kirk or I about that. It was almost 2 AM when we heard footsteps coming down the steps and there was Sandy’s mom, in her housecoat, looking for her son. She saw him playing and stopped in her tracks and exclaimed, “Sandy, you know what time it is? You need to get home, you are taking the ACT test tomorrow.” He told her he woud be home right away. She left and the three of us stood there staring at each other when Sandy exclaimed, “Bup, I think I better go home.”

 

Forest City Church

This is a short story as several youth went to FCCC on Sunday and youth group. It was the boys duty to take the church collection every Sunday. Several times I decided not to go and I always would get a call about 15 minutes before the collection was to be received. They urged me to come and help as there wasn’t enough help. On some occasions Sandy and John Eubanks would stand up front with the money as the preacher gave a prayer for the offering.  They would try to see who could blow out the candles on the alter table (our backs were to a praying congregation)without anyone knowing they were trying to do that.

The Fight

SandyFordVO I think it was a Fall Sunday when this happened. It was likely late September or early October as the weather was pretty decent. This day it was planned. I don’t what started it or anything but today Sandy was schedule to fight Jim Avery behind the root beer stand in the alley in Manito at 2pm. I was going with him. Sandy wasn’t a person that just looked for fights but he didn’t mind sticking up for himself. (my parents asked me later if I know this was going to happen and then they weren’t very pleased with me).

It was 2pm and about 20 teenagers were hanging around in a circle waiting for the main event. Sure enough it started. They danced around and smacked each other with some hard blows but no winner. The crowd was cheering almost non-stop. We were not paying much attention to anything else when the Manito Police car came down the alley and some scattered while others stayed put. The police chief, George DeCanter, got out of the car and asked who was fighting and both of them spoke up and admitted their particiapation. George put them in the police car and told the rest of us to leave or be arrested.

I had one problem. I was 15 and didn’t have my license. You see, I could get several places I wanted to go to without being on the main road. Just take the backway and you can be there. My parents didn’t mind.  Just before they left for the police station, Sandy had George give me his keys and told me to pick him up at the station when things were over. I drove around Manito without a license for a good 80-90 minutes. I probably drove by the police station 10 times waiting for his release. Finally, Sandy got out and he took the wheel. I was feeling like a big shot criminal but never got caught.

We headed out of town and Sandy drove to Havana. He was still talking a mile a minute about the fight, the arrest, the stuff that when on at the station. He drove down to the river to clear his head. We got out and looked away from the car and then we heard the sound. His Ford was rolling down the hill and heading for the river. Luckily, when Sandy got out he didn’t shut his door. We both ran after the car and Sandy jumped in and slammed the brakes about 3 feet from the edge of the water. That would have been something to explain.

 

We had some good times together!

 

 

Previous Blog Posts:

Remembering My Time Around Easton

“Oh Well, I Will Strike Her Out Anyway”

What Were Our Parents Thinking?

Call the Sheriff

Kilbourne Condom

I’m Still Paying For It

My First School Basketball Team

The History of Me- My Birthday

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