Lesson In Integrity…………..#63 (the 50’s)

A very frustrating situation for a sixteen year old Gary Willson,  finally having a driver’s license and not having a conveyance to register it with,  the use of the family car was ambiguous at best.  Gary was hoping that his Dad would  establish a set of parameters so he could determine an advantageous means of circumventing the use of the car rules.  He never subscribed to the axiom,  ‘rules are made to be broken’, but  a better aphorism,  “rules are made for innovation ”  or  notably if you find a need to question.  The youth discovering in formulating specifics, there always exist the possibility of alternatives, especially with a little improvising.  His Dad implementing a request and use rule,  meaning you have to ask and you have to state your purpose.


With the advent of his senior year,  Gary discovering himself devoid of a transit convenience to  school.   His portage provider and neighborhood friend Hank Ball having graduated and moved on to college in Illinois.   Gary having  to approach his Dad as his only provisional transportation benefactor, his mother a non-driver, the families 48 Chevrolet sitting idle at home, Dad traversing  to  work in the 41 Chevy pickup.



The senior entering into a father son discussion presenting his circumstance and to his surprise, an agreement coming to fruition.  His Dad laying out two prerequisites that would be augment his use of the family car for school transportation.  The first was to give his sister Kay a ride to and from school if desired, the second stipulation was dreaded,  the car would be parked upon his return from school.  Gary concluding that his Father’s decision was paradoxical,  good in the respect,  that he would have transportation, bad in that he couldn’t cruise after school, at least for very long.


          Dale Spady, a onetime classmate and cohort friend since junior high, having moved to Castro Valley.  Dale had a different a set of transportation circumstances.   The accosting difficulty was, his mother was a driver,  thus limiting his use of her car.   Dale finding a remedy, procuring a two-wheeled motorized appliance, a used 5 horsepower Cushman motor scooter,  which in the proper weather conditions provide dry transportation. When Dale visited, Gary found there was room  to sit on the rear jump seat, not exactly cool, but still a means for traveling between their two homes.  Gary noticing,  although the Cushman speedometer registered as much as 60 miles per hour, in reality,  top speed was about 45,  so when traveling to Castro Valley, they would avoid the MacArthur Blvd and it’s Highway 50 interchange,  taking the back way, up Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro to Lake Chabot road,  and around the lake to the towns back door entrance.


On occasions Dale would spend a weekend night with Gary in Oakland, Gary’s hillside home was one of the older ones in the neighborhood, built in 1927.  his room was downstairs in a heater less once rental area that could be accessed from the back yard outside door, or the stairs down thru an unfinished connecting basement.   For some reason Dale would never accompany Gary down through the darken basement to his room, preferring to go outside and around to the backyard,  entering through the outside entrance.   Apparently Dale had a fixation about walking through a darken basement passage late at night.   Things were different when  spending the night at Dales much newer home in Castro Valley.  His bedroom was just off the dining room and on a Friday night,  Dale could roll their dining room TV to the bedroom doorway and the two could watch Johnny Carson.


The two teens were pretty much compatible, but unlike Gary,  Dale wasn’t a die-hard classical music proponent and for the most part kept his music choice to himself,  but they found  something in common, both admiring Richard Strauss’s Suite from Der Rosenkavalier.  Gary having noticed, Walt Disney’s Fantasia was showing at the Castro Valley Theatre, and being familiar with much of its music, Dukas’s, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Mussorgsky’s Night On Bare Mountain, Beethoven Pastoral Symphony and featuring the endowed conductor Leopold Stokowski. Not hesitating,  mentioning it to Dale, the two deciding to attend.  Seated in the theatre waiting for the presentation to begin.  surprisingly the theatres speakers making an announcement,  that fantasia was basically two hours of animated classical music,  and a refund was available for those who wanted to leave.  The two watched as a good portion of the audience, mostly teenagers, filed out.


Gary spending a Saturday night at Dales, the two having formulated a plan to ask for the use of Dales’ Mothers four door 1954 Dodge.  Dale mentioning that he would like to attend the Lutheran Church in San Leandro,  the one the family attended when living in Oakland.  Dale’s parents agreeing to the use of the car for the boys to attend.  Sunday morning found the two sitting through the first service of the San Leandro church, but prior to the start of  the second service, deciding to leave.  With an hour to kill, deciding to do some cruising, so they could arrive back at Dales at the appropriated time.


The two deciding to get somewhat innovative,  telling Dale’s parents they wanted to attend the services of some of the other church denominations,  detecting some skepticism.   The teens finding it easy to verify their church attendance,  upon entering,  they were handed a printed program of the Sunday Service, and when returning to Dales at the appropriate time,  they would casually lay the church service program down for all to see.  All was well with the Sunday morning cruising until Dale’s Dad,  unbeknownst to the boys,  performed an audit of the fuel consumption, and mileage of his wife’s car.   the boys being told,   if they wanted to attend church they could joined the family at their Sunday Service.   The Teens feeling amiss for their deed,  but,  because they were never really questioned, thus no answers had to be given,  they came to the conclusion.  their act of duplicity ended up a lesson in integrity.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: