The day before we graduated from the eighth grade, GaryAlbrecht and Bobby Joe Runningwater and I decided the occasion called for a party. So next morning Gary borrowed his big brother Cat’s ’38 Ford and we all left notes on our kitchen tables telling our folks not to worry, we’d be responsible for our own meal and be back home by the ten-thirty curfew. Our plan was to drive to Pocatello for a celebration, maybe have some Aero Club Beer and Lucky Strikes for supper, and then start back home a little after midnight.
We had to change our plan, because after we trotted across the stage to fetch our diplomas and they handed out awards for Best Dressed and Best Sense of Humor and Best Athlete and Most Likely to Succeed and juvenile crap like that, I happened to think that we only had restricted licenses, meaning we needed somebody who could drive after dark. So I invited Billy Bauman along. But this didn’t sit too well with my pals, because BB couldn’t always be relied on to keep a secret and besides, BB was BB, a nickname Bobby Joe had pasted on Billy due to the size of his brain. We had to have a strategy session about whether to cancel my invitation. I pointed out the problem with the restricted license but Gary said Cat would kick some butt if he knew Billy so much as touched the wheel of his automobile. I argued that Billy deserved a party as much as anyone, he had spent ten years in grade school and this was his second try at graduation. Gary finally agreed with my kindness but Bobby Joe didn’t.
So I pointed out that we needed somebody who looked old enough to buy the party favors and Bobby Joe finally saw my point and said “Well, okay for this one time but let’s not make it a habit.”
Then we decided that if we were going to get back before morning it couldn’t be Pocatello, it had to be Beaver Falls. So off it was to Beaver Falls with Gary driving and Bobby Joe slouched down in the passenger seat and me in the back with Billy, who was my guest, as Bobby Joe pointed out, so I had to sit with him.