For What It’s Worth.. 62.. November 2, 2011

RICH and DAWN 48073 .. this one’s for you and the kids.. no names for anonymity..

Sad to say.. no one.. can be in more than one place at the same time.. I would dearly like to be ..  HERE IN INDIA .. in Royal Oak, Michigan.. and in Alaska.. NORTH of Fairbanks.. as I write.. it is now over fourteen months since I have been home in Alaska with some months yet to go before I get back.. probably .. April or May.. one can NOT easily insert ones self into that winter .. you really need to grow into it.. the first frost.. the first days below 20F.. the first real snow.. then below 10F.. then below 0F and so on.. you need to aclimate to winter .. to short days and to long nights.. and to driving the 160 miles to Fairbanks for supplies..

I am here in INDIA because .. at age 75..  you have to do what you can do when you can do it.. and India is one tough and one difficult ‘gig’ .. when I was called last August 8th .. I had to seize the moment.. and here I am..

What we are about here is HALLOWEEN .. I grew up on West Houstonia in Royal Oak in Michigan.. I went from birth to the one home I grew up in and which I now own..

HALLOWEEN is a BIG DEAL on my street .. Patti and I had not missed a HALLOWEEN in five years dating from 2006 through 2010 .. on West Houstonia WEST of the railroad tracks.. on HALLOWEEN the residents normally get.. over three hundred trick or treaters .. THIS YEAR Bill and Cheri and Beth said they had in the vicinity of three hundred and fifty children..

Well Rich 48073 sent me a great e-mail.. an e-mail you rank as .. this is as good as it gets .. and in his e-mail.. Rich talks about the children and who was what for HALLOWEEN..

Well one of them dressed for HALLOWEEN AS a ‘greaser’ .. evidently he had seen the movie.. The Outsiders .. and (I do not know this movie) evidently it was about the 1950’s.. so I e-mailed back Rich and said.. “Rich.. I lived the 1950s.. starting High School in September of 1950 and graduating in June of 1954.. then on to University for more 1950s living..”

I attended Royal Oak High School (ROHS) with ‘greasers’ ..

SO HERE RICH.. IS THE REST OF THE STORY.. AND IT IS FUN..

In ROHS .. at least from 1950 to 1954.. there were several very distinct groups of students.. there were the scholars.. the brainy ones.. there were the athletes.. there were the College Prep students who planned to go to college .. and there were some other less distinct groups.. some were more financially well off that the rest of us..

I hung out with the college prep students  and the athletes..

ah yes Rich.. then there were the ‘greasers’ ..

GREASERS were into ..  cars .. oh WORSE RICH.. MUCH MUCH WORSE. .. GREASERS were into.. MOTORCYCLES ..

They were ‘greasers’ BECAUSE their hands and their fingernails were filthy and ‘greasy’ from working on cars and motorcycles.. they were ‘greasers’ BECAUSE they wore ‘New Yorker’ hair styles.. long on the sides (full of hair grease) and very short on the top..

They were ‘greasers’ BECAUSE they wore Black Leather Jackets and Motorcycle Boots .. they were ‘greasers’ BECAUSE THEY (with their girl friends) .. (did IT ! ) ..


Well the KING OF THE GREASERS was TOM ..  and Tom was from a car family.. who owned car dealerships on Detroit’s East Side.. still do.. the name is still well known ..

Unlike me..  I too was from a car family.. my Dad was an executive with General Motors for forty (40) years.. Tom embraced the car thing.. and I did NOT .. what the hell does dad know about anything anyway.. who wants to be involved with cars anyway.. taa taa de taa .. dad’s car money by the way paid for three and one half years at the university of michigan .. for yours truly ..


Tom was big.. tall.. good looking.. and Tom was really cool.. low keyed.. soft spoken.. Tom did NOT have to do drama.. HE WAS THE MAN in the ‘greasers’ and that-was-that ..

Tom should have gone out for sports.. Tom could have gone to any college or university that he wanted to attend..

June 1954 I gradutated from High School..  ahead of me was the University of Michigan..  ahead of me was the United States Marine Corps.. ahead of me was a commission in the United States Navy Seabees ..

AND AHEAD OF ME LAY..

PROFESSIONAL AUTOMOBILE RACING AT THE VERY HIGHEST LEVEL(S) ..there’s ONE KING.. and I was fortunate to work with THE KING for my last seasons in racing..

MOTOR CYCLING ALL OVER EUROPE FOR FOUR YEARS..

And ahead of me was a stop in Phoenix, Arizona, on some obscure Friday in the mid-1970s someplace.. and a visit to the Sears and Roebuck Department Store to buy some tools in the tool department ..

and God’s truth ..

TOM ..  (Tom from Royal Oak High School in the 1950s.. Tom KING OF THE GREASERS.. THAT TOM.. see above) was working in the Sears and Roebuck tool department..

I instantly and immediately recognized Tom ..Tom was still Tom.. tall and good looking and very self-confident .. to be honest (this is a program of honesty isn’t it ? ) .. it shocked me (AND of course pleased me) when Tom also recognized me and called me by name..

See Tom was THE MAN in his crowd.. me.. I was in the middle of the pack.. an average student.. and average athlete.. being born in September I was the youngest in the class.. far behind the March and spring birth kids.. I was invisible in the crowd..

Well Tom and I had a GREAT VISIT.. I told him .. “Tom.. you would NEVER BELIEVE what I ended up doing professionally.. !  ”


And sadly.. that was that.. I left the store and NEVER saw Tom again.. at a later class reunion I asked about him and was told that..” Tom had passed away some time ago..”

To think.. I ‘ OUT greased the KING OF THE GREASERS ‘ ..

who’da ever thunk .. my life is just a little less because I did not get to know Tom better or really.. I did not get to know Tom at all.. I know we two could have been great friends.. hell I had the tattoo and Tom did NOT ..

Rich 48073.. THANKS FOR THIS BLAST FROM MY PAST..

much love to you and to Dawn and to the children.. over and out from Agra Cantt.. halfway around the world from you guys.. I sure miss you all.. cap..