A terrible night

7th gradeTHE KID IN the middle is me, and I am sporting white-topped loafers. I was 12 years old and in the 7th Grade.

Yes, it’s another photo from my sister via my daughter.

I do not recall the specifics of the occasion, but I recognize the other four youngsters because we all continued through high school together. There is one sad tale included here, that boy on the right.

I am 99 percent certain that is Larry Isbill. Three years later, I believe it was, in the 10th Grade, some school group organized a hayride. A flat-bed truck was rented, and it was filled with hay for the boys and girls to sit in and make out beneath the moonlight. I was invited, but I did not go. I don’t remember why.

The truck broke down on a dark highway along the beach near Jacksonville, Florida. Perhaps there were no tail lights. A speeding car rear-ended the truck, and Larry was injured badly, losing one of his legs. Another boy, who was a pretty good friend of mine, Tony Betts, was killed.

Larry’s misfortune did not end there. He died in 1991. The obituary read simply that he died “suddenly,” which usually means a heart attack.

He was only 46.

Photos bring memories, and sometimes they are sad ones.

18 thoughts on “A terrible night”

  1. While I don’t have the photos, I do have the Internet. Every so often, a name from the past will enter my head, and I’ll have to Google to see what some person I haven’t given a thought to since 1976 is doing. And too often, what I find is an obituary.

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    1. Ms. Shoes: My 50th high school reunion was held two years ago in Florida. I did not go, but I did sign up with a website that was created specifically for the occasion, and I caught up on lots of gossip. The website was where I saw Larry’s obit. I was surprised at the high number of folks who do not walk among us any longer. Some died in Vietnam.

      A notable case was a fellow I remember well who became a pilot and was shot down over a jungle in Laos. His body was never recovered. I liked him.

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      1. A number of my classmates in high school were killed in Vietnam. I took a nap Sunday afternoon and when I woke up I thought of an old friend who was my roommate in Germany. The last time I talked with him was about 12 years ago when he lived in Marietta, GA. I looked him up on the internet and discovered he moved back to his hometown in Sylacauga, AL. I called him this week and talked with him for a few minutes. I asked him for his email address and he said he doesn’t have a computer.

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          1. I visited my friend, Robert Craig, once in the late 1960s in Sylacauga. It is a nice little town, but it was in a dry county.

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          2. Becky: I looked into this. Sylacauga was settled in 1748 by Shawnee Indians from Ohio. And it’s not that far southeast of Birmingham. Live and learn. So maybe you and Ray have Indian blood like Elizabeth Warren. Heap big important. Run for office on oppressed minority ticket!

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            1. Yes, it’s known as “The Marble City” now, due to the beautiful white marble quarried there; but it was originally “Buzzard’s Roost.” haha. And Ray actually does have Indian blood, but I don’t think he has political aspirations. No Indian blood in me — a pure whitey with red hair.

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  2. Sad… Several of my sons’ friends have died, and some of mine. And, we go on until it’s our time…

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  3. Gee, you were quite the social conformer, parties, dances, etc., at that age. Mr. Social and, as the years pass, to quote a song … Just look at you now!

    Being a nerd at school, never once went to a high school dance, then made up for it later. You bring up memories. Mine was a Triumph Bonneville, surprised I never killed myself.

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    1. Tancho: You never went to a high school dance?! What happened? No Russkies allowed?

      I had a Triumph too, but in my early 20s. Not a Bonneville, but a Tiger. I think it was 500 cc.

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  4. When talking to a relative a few weeks back, the topic came up about aging. I approach 70 one month before you (the Army is always ahead of the Air Force). My answer was, I see the next 10 years as 10 silver dollars, and what is the best way to spend them. In the paper yesterday it said the average age of women here in Canuckville moving on to the Great Shopping mall in the Sky is 84. For men, it’s 80. It’s is a sobering thought. I was at my granddaughter’s track meet yesterday. I probably won’t see her be 20, or be married, have kids or hear of her travels. I check the obits most mornings. More often than not, there is a connection (a parent of a student or a student from school) that has caught my eye. I still ride my bike, drinking and riding has passed me by, I like the solitude of it, personally.

    I never thought I’d see 50, then came 60, then 65. Now 70 approaches. Maybe I’ll be like Moses and stay around forever. Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch.

    So, after July, I will begin to spend my silver dollars. I hope I spend them wisely. Right now, I’m pulling weeds. They will be here long after I am gone.

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    1. Bob: I think we’re spending our silver dollars right now. Next decade we’ll just be spending two for each one we’re currently spending.

      As for the army always being ahead of the air force, that would be true if we were comparing apples with apples and not apples with turnips. While the Canadian Army may be ahead of the Canadian Air Force (Is there such a thing?), the Canadian Army would be on a line with a troop of U.S. Boy Scouts, I think, certainly not the U.S. Air Force.

      You Canucks are funny.

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