My 50th East High School reunion is coming up next year, and I was reflecting back on a graduation party I attended at Eklutna Lake Campground on Thursday night, May 25, 1972. For those wondering, East High School is in Anchorage, Alaska.
I was at this party with best friend Jeff Thimsen in my purple 1954 Chevrolet “Highboy” Hot Rod. It was drizzling rain and very cold that evening, with newspaper archives showing 39 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, so it would’ve been below freezing when the sun went down. A group of maybe five graduates was parked close to us in a VW van. I remember most of their names yet shall keep them nameless.
A popular and attractive blonde walked over to our car asking if we had any papers. Being quite naïve, neither Jeff nor I had a clue what she meant. Thinking the gal might be contemplating starting a campfire, I told her I had some newspapers under my car seat. With puzzled look and Cheshire cat grin she replied,
The pretty partygoer quickly scampered back to her vehicle, empty handed.
Jeff and I hung around for maybe an hour trying to figure out why the party hadn’t started. We were expecting a barbecue. Feeling hungry and finding no hot dogs, hamburgers, or Cokes, the two of us hightailed it to Leroy’s Pancake House. There we joined other stray cats from East.
I vaguely remember it being an all guy endeavor. The atmosphere was lively yet somber. Clinking spoons and forks hitting cheap porcelain plates could be heard throughout the room. Trying to liven up my own dampened spirits I splurged and ordered ‘Pigs in a Blanket’. The breakfast fare was a favorite at Leroy’s and still is. After eating, a group of us decided to head to Flapjack Jim’s down the street for dessert.
Somewhere around 2 a.m. after consuming ample slices of apple pie alamode, our basically mundane graduation party ended without fanfare under inclement weather. We were bloated from excess sweets and also very tired from doing nothing. No pomp and circumstance played as we exited the joint, and the waitress didn’t even say congratulations. To her it was just another night at the greasy spoon diner. For us, we hadn’t a clue what the future had in store.
By the end of summer I’d wised up considerably where street smarts are concerned. I figured out by then what papers my former classmate was referring to. She must’ve been talking about TP. Evidently the girl was too embarrassed to spell things out.
I’m sure those crumpled-newspapers under my driver’s seat would’ve worked just fine. Why she didn’t accept them will always remain a mystery?
Excerpt from my new book to be released in 2022, “ORDINARY AVERAGE GUY – Uncensored Memoirs of a Trailer Park Refugee.”