This is the first of three parts, chronicling the three-week odyssey five of us took, leaving late the same night we swaggered across the stage.
As life events go, striding across Bishop Amat’s stage at graduation was enormous, providing memories these fifty-one years. As liberating as the moment was, another life event also commenced for me on May 31st, 1970, one that was to provide far more memories-and freedom-than leaving Amat. I embarked on a three-week journey of discovery with four fellow graduates, bound for the Northland.
Camping is what we had planned on, but our overnight sleeping accommodations included a variety of unorthodox venues. We spent one night in the vestry of a church, one in the heated bathroom of a brand new, as-of-yet-unopened resort in the mountains of Eastern Oregon, and one night in the parking lot of a K-Mart, just because it was there.
|The top o' the morning to you!|
Now Steve’s dad owned a grocery store, so hey, that was his ticket to ride; we could buy supplies at cost. And high on Bill’s list of qualifications were his mad skills as a driver. We would end up traveling more than 3,000 miles, so Bill was welcomed aboard.
I did not have a license and because I was so small, I sat most of those 3,000 miles on the engine cover between the driver’s and passenger seats. In those pre-seat belt years, it seemed so natural. Now? Not so much.
We made lists, gathered supplies, organized our camping gear, met with the parents and had the Marquess of Queensbury rules dictated to us. These included but were not restricted to a) absolutely no consorting with females; b) attending mass on Sunday mornings and c) no alcoholic beverages whatsoever. Make no mistake: The greatest of these was A. There were to be no chicks, no foxes, no babes, no chicas, no tatas, no chickadees, no hoochies, no floozies, no arm candy and no home girls.
For the record we did attend mass on Sundays.
|Tall Oly's: |
Who knew why?
How were we to know that our seven home-girls would take it upon themselves to read our minds, and then journey up from SoCal to Plaskett Creek Campground, in the neighborhood of Big Sur? To meet up with us? For a whole weekend? We hadn’t even included this component in our wildest fantasies while planning our adventure.
OK, that last bit is obviously a lie.
We did get a postcard somewhere along the line informing us of the plan, but what were we supposed to do? How could we have prevented this rendezvous at Plaskett Creek with these seven girls, even if we actually wanted to? It never occurred to us to try and stop them. This was beyond a dream come true-sorry parents-but there was nothing we could really do.
Where was email when we really needed it? Oh, yeah. And no texting or messaging, either. And yes we could have phoned-everyone knew that after eight the rates dropped-and talked to one of the girls. We could have tried to convince the girls it was a bad idea to come up for three days of sun, fun and celebration of freedom from Amat.
Yes, we most certainly could have and probably should have, I guess. I mean, maybe. Wouldn’t that have been the right thing to do? According to our parents? We just didn’t know. Not for sure. And besides, we justified matters by simply decreeing that it was out of our hands. I mean it really was. Wasn’t it?
Next: "Goin' Mobile"