Howitzer over Suberbia

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
These are short stories about my life growing up in a small town in Washington State

Submitted: July 12, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 12, 2017



Table of Contents (Stories to follow)

Needs Editing


1.  Howitzers over suburbia  c

2. Yamaha Moto bike  c

J3. Blowing up the Unger’s mailbox  c

4. My dad can sell anything beef jerky  c

5.Killing the turtles at Winjum's  c

6. Snowball fight in the house

7. Icing the hill for sledding c

Kindergarden  c

8.  Pop roc sales a NVE  C

Pee on E fence  c

9. Sleeping with a brick c

BB gun shooting arcade stile and old world turn draw  C

Father macallan singing in church

Fight in middle school

45. Sauerkraut canning at home c

46. Washing weenies

10. Baby food surfing


11. Cleaning and repacking baby food for Charlie

Mark lights off bottle rockets, falling over and killing dad after stoke

12. Indian halibut fish trip

13. Mail truck sunk in the mud

14. Jumping the mail truck

Mail truck basketball champs 1982 seattle chinese fire drill

15. Mail truck cat skateboard

Mail truck surfing

16. Mail truck jumping over wall

17. Mail truck and the  helicopter

When drinking and driving was leagal

Robert and the vw bug

Shooting the transformer

Russell leg cut off while logging.

Train to Montana

Levi and irrigation pipe.

Boot camp

Iron on the chest in BEE

19. Allen krainbuel and the naked girl in my locker

USS Fanning

Las Vegas trip

Brown. Jim

Par up girls.  

Cigarette girl. Vegas


Broken yoke

Dentists Trisha the dish.  

Quads racer



21. Wild turkey first time

22. Ordering 24,  55 barrels of oil for the sps40

45 shell dropped in et shop. ST and the DOT blower

23. Hanging mike f Leake

24. Styx calibrating the shm

25. Blow the dca  

26. Signal gen up the mac

27. Gear closet and the EMO

28. The hurricane in Alaska chilkoot Charlie’s and the bus incident

29. The visit to Portland for the rose festival and the 10 people in the CRX

30. Flashlight in SD bay


West PAC

32. Navy and the condom hatch incident

33. Wog day

Man overboard in the IO

34. I speak a good English”

35.  Visit to India king cobera  

36.  GQ  in the Persian Gulf


39. Passing food down the conveyor with the ph chief

40. Playing rugby with the Singapore national team

41. Las Vegas 2 weddings 1 invited

42. Passport Seattle Boss is an ass on the street corner. 3 woman smoking, Iknow them?  

43. Father truck in camp campground

44. Iron on the chest in BEE

45.  Losing pants on mission beach in SD




San Diego and 4x4 crash.  

HowImet Tami Boner and all

Lunch w a serial killer


37. Cat in the dash laptop RFI

38. Brut hairs having his way with me at the flat

Dad condoms in glove box.

Mail truck backet ball Seattle





It was a cold day in January in 1965  Iwas born on the 1st day of the year My father tells me there was a great Rose Bowl on that year but he never saw it on account of my mother, she could not keep her legs closed for a few more minutes. if she had he could have seen the game and not had it interrupted by the baby being born thing,  you see in our house a baby was old hat we had a carload of them and 1 more was nothing new, just 1 more mouth to feed. Iwas the last of 8, 9 if you count the one my mother lost, and dammit, it was the first time my dad was able to sit and watch tv {the game} don't get me wrong my dad loved kids but Michigan was playing Oregon and we live in the northwest you to have to have your priorities straight.  It doesn't really matter much Oregon got there Ass handed to them.

But I had arrived

We lived in a small town next to a much larger city; it was established in 1925 and has a long heritage of fishing, logging, and shipbuilding.  It was the kind of town where you know most people, there was a baseball field in the center with the pool that I learned to swim at. My father used to take me to an older gentleman downtown to get my haircut at the barber shop my dad and I would get a trim and I usually would have it shaved off in the back and on top like an aircraft carrier. After we got our hair cut we would walk up to the Food King and get an ice cream, then head home. The town was a bedroom community from the shipyards and the sawmills, people would work all day building or selling something then drive over the hill 3 miles to our little town to live.  It was and is a nice place a small town with lots of character.


I was the last in a long line of 8 children born to a house of Catholics. My cousins who lived ½ a mile away my dad’s brother had 7 in their family we did all kinds of things with my cousins throughout my whole upbringing we went camping together we went everywhere with my cousins.

I remember we had been camping on the Olympic Peninsula and it had been raining for the better part of the week until we all just gave up,  Go figure go camping in a rainforest and expect it not to rain, my dad As a kid we all drove vans Dodge vans it was the only thing in 1969 that could, Cary, a lot of people but our vans had only 2 seats two in the front the back was all covered in plywood as they were used in my dad's business to haul food so all the kids were running free in the back of the van. The first van with the first 10 pulled into the little town of Forks and the only burger joint open. There was nobody there but a young girl and a high school kid we ordered for us and our uncle 5 min behind us on the road. 20 cheeseburgers 20 french fries 17 cokes and 4 cups of coffee. The poor people in the restaurant were going to have a coronary I think they were going to close up and go home before we showed up.

As I grow older I think about all of the times in my life that I could have been killed and it is staggering I should be dead at least 1 once well maybe 10 times but who's counting.  

In my youth we are talking 4 or 5 I am told that my sister ran over me not just once but twice.

It was a nice day in the northwest we lived in a new house that my parents had built.

My older sister just received her driver’s license now imagine a Dodge station wagon parked on a hill in our driveway.  My sister was going to back out and I noticed that my tricycle was behind the dodge wagon I ran out to pull my tricycle to safety while my sister was backing up, of course, you guessed it she hit me and ruined my scooter. I fell down and she continued to back up the scoter made a screeching noise as she backed over it, she stopped and went to look seeing that the scooter was under the bumper I guess not knowing I was under the car. The only thing that kept me from the wheel squishing was that I was in the center under the rear differential.  

She decided to pull forward to get the scooter off her bumper.  Imagine here surprise after she pulled off of me to see me laying there behind the Dodge. Near death experience number 1

After a quick check by my mom the nurse I was deemed ok. And told to pay more attention you did not want to get hit by a car.  Off my sister went with her first accident out of the way.

Being of school age  I was off to my first day of kindergarten at Narrows View elementary and I did not know this until much later but I was the last in a long line of Engle’s to attend kindergarten and go through the school dist. You see my older brother attended there in 1954. there was an Engle of in the school dist for 30 some odd years there from my dads family or my uncles and it was my first day of school my sister told me about the teacher in kindergarten Mrs. White she was mean and to watch out.  I learned what was in for me on the first day I was in class and Mrs white was taking roll and was reading the names Tami Critchlow, here was her answer and so went the call till she got to my name Paul Engle being scared of what my sister had told me I said here under my breath here Paul engle again I said here louder. mrs white stopped taking roll after hearing my response and put her pencil down then looked up at me. let me tell you I was in terror now and she asked me are you one of the engle boys don and stan children I replied yes, she asked me if I was going to be in as much trouble as your brother Mark.  my response was I don't know. she then told me if I was like him I would spend a lot of time staring at the corner with the dunce cap on. yes, she still had a dunce cap and you were punished by standing in the corner. she was the old school I tell you started teaching in the 30’s and was soon to retire after she had us all. I knew I was in trouble I already had strike 1 and I had been in school for 45 min.

There were 2 kindergarten classes at NVE Mrs somebody and Mrs white the kids who got Mrs somebody got to go to school and have fun Mrs. White’s did not.

I will give you an example we had to line up outside of the door by height before we were allowed to go into the room. she used to use a yardstick to whack the back of our hands when she deemed us doing something wrong. I did not spend a lot of time in the corner and over time she may have even liked me.  

I was a little kid with older sisters 2 of them right above me next in line, and I was a pain in the ass I would follow them around bothering them and their friend from across the street.

On this day my parents were off to work at my dad’s company a food distribution business that was still in its infancy. My sisters and her friend were playing in the backyard with their horses, you may remember them they were little plastic ones that looked real and about the size that a GI Joe could ride. And I was back to bug them 5 min after they paid me off with a nickel or quarter to go away.  I should have held out for more money but I was only 6. I remember standing on the grass asking my sister watcha doin, whatcha doing with much abandon my sister Lisa told me she was going to go get me a drink of Kool-Aid the drink of the gods to a 6 year old, I was thinking cool so her and the friend that will go nameless went into the kitchen and got a glass of kool-aid and then added a few scoops of drainO, Pinesol etc which was under the sink in the kitchen, this was the 70,s there was no such things as child locks.  Why we don’t need them the kids are old enough to know not to touch the stuff under the sink. There was a whole plethora of cool stuff for a kid to play with Drano, bleach, soap and let’s not forget my favorite ammonia. You know if you mix ammonia and bleach it makes chlorine gas, cool huge I found this out when I tried to do a nice job leaning the windows of the house. that crap stinks, I don't recommend it unless your outside of course.

My sister picked Drano, Pinesol to mix into the kool-aid as it may have had a nice aroma when mixed will the cool refreshing drink.  Let’s fast forward to the backyard again all three of us standing there my sister handing me the lovely kool-aid concoction she had just made. I was lifting the glass to my mouth to have a long drink I got about an inch away from my lips when a hand came out of nowhere and slapped the drink away, I screamed at my sister why did you do that I don’t know to this day why she knocked it away but I guess I should be thankful as it would have at least caused some throat issues. And the only help we had help was the phone in the kitchen to call the fire department you see 911 did not exist in our area yet we got that in the 80’s.

To this day I still harass my sister do you remember when you tried to kill me when I was 6

She feels bad when we all laugh my parents did not know this happened until she told them when I was off in the Navy or I teased her at some event later like Xmas or Easter.  Near death experience number 2.

I was all boy when I reached the ripe old age of 7 I knew it all except how to ride a bike which my sisters told me I was a wimp and stupid for not learning. I had learned what draino was and that is could be bad, not from my sister’s havens no from my mom I watched here mix up a batch of the concoction and pour it in the drain.  I offhandedly asked what would that do if you drank that stuff. My mom told me that it would be very bad and cause burns in your throat and maybe kill you. I still had no idea that my sister had mixed me the Kool-Aid juice.

We used to go play at the end of the block in the grass field left over from the bulldozer  

It was a big field of grass next to a steep hill I was there with my older brother who was next in line after my sister he was at the cliff sliding down the tall grass on their butts.

Cool, I thought I want to do that.  I had to be trained first as my 14-year-old brother told me.

First of all, I don’t know why I listened to my siblings you would think I had learned by now, but alas I did not. He was cool and did cool things with his friends.  He told me how to do it the secret Paul is to get a running start and at the edge of the hill you jump off and land on the hill going very fast and slide the rest of the way down cool I thought, I did not notice that all of his friends were telling me that it was so cool you're gonna love it. After some convincing and standing over the cliff edge

I didn't really notice that the hill was a drop off more like a hill at a 75-degree angle that flattened into a nice 35-degree hill at the bottom of the 15 drop. So I was ready after the last info from my brother I should have realized I was in trouble if his last remark to me was to roll if you have any issues.

So I went back about 15 feet, my brother told me that was not far enough so 20 it was. I started running and as I got closer to the edge I pulled up as I got scared.  I should have listened to that voice in my head telling me this was a dumb idea but I did not. After a pep talk from my older brother I was back and ready for round two, I should have listened to my brother's friends telling him he won’t do it he is chicken,  but for me, I knew it was time to man up and not be a wimp.

So on the second run I was flying I left the cliff and I was literally flying I went out at least 20 feet in my mind, really it was only probably 5 or so, but it was far enough to clear the steep part of the hill so I am a 7-year-old kid who just jumped off of a 15 foot drop cool I was a god until that gravity thing got a hold of me, I would learn later in life that gravity applies to everyone. I am not exempt as my brother had told, me another life lesson for later.

So here I am 15 feet in the air and plummeting down and I learned in school that the formulae are 32 feet second per second I am sure I reach terminal velocity. On the way in for a landing I curled into a ball sort of I hit the ground and rolled about 15 feet and hit my head on something metal as well as feeling some pain in my left arm at the wrist I screamed for my brother who was standing alone at the top of the hill as all of his friends had bailed after they watched my flight.  He came down and I had cut my head open on a 60-70-year-old Plow and I was bleeding like a stuck pig. I tended to bleed a lot in my youth not sure why I kept getting in trouble for ruining clothes. My brother helped me up and would you know it my left wrist was at a 90-degree angle to my arm. My brother tells me I might have hurt my arm. He tells me we need to go home to make sure that my arm is ok, don’t worry about the blood running down my face.

When we got home and let me tell you my arm started to hurt. My mother took a look at it and said looks like you broke your arm we have to go to the DR for that.

Now my mother is a nurse had a bandage for everything she told me we would put a butterfly on that and it would close the wound up and it would be ok after about 20 min with the hair clippers bandage applied and let me tell you I think I hurt my arm by this time to the dr we went.  My first x-ray of many in my life and it looks like I did hurt my arm I broke the ulna/radio thingy whatever that is. My mom told me I was going to get a cool cast that all of my brothers and sisters could sign. The dr told my mom that was a nasty cut on my head and could use a few stitches.  Of course, I did not get any as I was a man now and I had a butterfly bandage on my head. Later that day my brother got yelled at after she found out what happened, you know he can’t fly and you got blood all over the new shirts I just got from Samuelson the Walmart of the 70’s. I still have that scar on my head today and it always reminds me of the plow.  Funny thing was my dad went to the field and loaded the plow up in his Dodge van and brought it home. It sat in our front yard rusting for almost 45 years when my mom died and we sold the house that my dad and she built. Near death experience, number 3 well kind of, a broken arm is hardly an injury.

I got older as children often do I reached the ripe old age of 8 or so, I remember in the summer we went to visit my aunt and uncle’s house on my mother's side and you guessed it I found a way to hurt myself again. This was getting old and yes my brother was involved.

my aunt and uncle had just finished a house it was on a steep hill again that bottomed out to a stream below.  they had been very busy terrace the hillside and they had just started clearing the blackberry’s and putting up the walls etc. you see my brother again had devised a new way to kill me. he took a large shovel the kind you use for mucking out a stall they are about 18 inches across at the bottom.  if you know the story in “it's a wonderful life” when he slides down the hill in the snow on the shovel. Of course, I would not do it until my brother did it first. he did and slid down the hill to the 1st terras and stopped easy right, he was fine. so it was my turn. I thought it was going to be fine my brother told me to sit here and push off you will slide down the cliff to the terras just like I did. I never noticed his launch point when he went it was about a foot to the left of mine.  I sat down and looked over the edge and I noticed that there was no terras yet below me. my brother told me I would be fine and gave me a shove, now wouldn't you know it I missed the ledge, nothing between me and the creek but 75 feet of blackberry’s the shovel handle did clear out a few of them but I still did catch a good portion in the face, arms,and abdomen once I hit the creek I said crap I am gonna get in trouble for getting wet. but for the most part, I was ok. not like in the movie. I could hear my parents asked my brother where I was, he pointed down the hill. then my aunt and uncle and parents started yelling for me, I answered of course and they asked where I was I said in the creek with the shovel I did not hear anything for a few seconds then my uncle told me to walk down the creek till I get to the bridge about 300 yards and don't forget the shovel.

I started off on my trek hauling a shovel over my shoulder falling and stepping in the creek on my way down.  I got to the bridge I walked up the bank more blackberries when I got to the top. I was wet and bleeding in a few places face scratched.  I got yelled at for running a new shirt from Samuelson's I always running a new shirt you would think they would not buy new ones at some point. I told them what had happened and maybe my parents did not want to believe I was such a gullible kid but no one got in trouble because my older brother was nice. He had my parents so snowed.

I had learned how to ride a bike and so begins the best summer a 7-year-old could ever have.

In 1973 times were different then.  During the summer it was not uncommon for us to get up grab a Twinkie or in my case a pickle and some cheese, as my mother did not believe in such frivolous snacks or so-called breakfast foods.  We would head out with our bikes and you may see us at lunch but most likely it was at dinner 11 hours later. Then after a 45 min dinner, it was out to play for another 3 hours until the sun went down or you were called in.  

Unless you were Kenny, his mom made him check in every two to three hours, he always had to stop and do a check-in, life really sucked for Kenny.  People ask me why I am the way I am today I could tell them it is because my sister ran over me twice. But mostly I think it was from my dad and his ability to see the glass as half full even when it was cracked and slowly leaking water onto my mother’s table.  Or his sense of humor and ability to see the good in all things, Yes life was good in 1973.

It was June and a summer that I remember with fondness and pain.  That summer started like any other long hot days in the north 20 hrs of sunlight and 85 degrees,  we were Boys, pure boys most of us anyway, some of us were chicken.

The new house my parents built there were only 10 homes out of a possible 100 or so.  Across the street lived my best friend Mike, and down the street lived Kenny and my other friend David.  We were the 4 Musketeers, always causing or getting into trouble. On this particular summer day, we were walking through the grass fields of the undeveloped lots in our new neighborhood and Kenny made a find. It was a slingshot arm, not just an arm but it stood three and a half feet high with a v on the top, the base was approx 4 inches the diameter.  It went up to the top of it to a perfect 1-inch diameter. This was a slingshot that needed to be built. We decided right there that we had to create a super-secret operation to construct the launcher. It must not fall into enemy hands namely our brothers or parents. We were going to meet the next day to start the design and construction of the slingshot. We left it in the field because if anyone saw us carry out a big y out of the woods the gig would be up. And who but us would pick up a stick/log except to burn and it was late June? We still buried it with other logs and sticks we found to camouflage it.

So the next day we met to start assembly it was decided to make it a mobile slingshot for that we needed something to hall it around with. I do not know where Kenny came up with it but today I am sure there was some little kid who was missing his radio flyer wagon, we probably scared him or her for life. Step two of the plan was to cut a hole into the bottom of the wagon. This took a long time with a drill and snips and a hacksaw. You need to understand the utmost secrecy we were working under, this was our Manhattan project, any security leaks would spell cretin doom and or unit confiscation, POW’s at each of our houses Next came a bucket fit into the center of the whole. Mike provided the bucket from his dad’s garage. Lastly, we needed concrete which I provided thanks to my parents, we were in the process of building concrete walls at our new house in the garden. We cemented the slingshot into the bucket with a slight upward angle of a few degrees.  Mike provided several feet of surgical tubing to use as the sling. It was getting dark so we decided to try the device know named the Betty the mobile howitzer the next day


The day was a typical June day in western Washington cool mornings and long hot afternoons on the field grass in the area typical grows to about 3 feet high and dry in the hot summer sun. We decided to do our first live fire from the local field next door. We called it the turkey farm as it had been a turkey farm in its past.  We set up the howitzer about 150 yards from the back of mike's fence. Pointed at the screen door windows, of course, we need something to aim at. Our first attempt was a dry fire mike pulled back on the rubber bands and the wagon came with him.

We had to drop back and regroup after successfully chalking the wheels and testing with a dry fire it was time for live ammo.

I found a suitable rock about the size of a large grape we placed it in the web and walked back about 5 feet and let her go, the rock left the breach with such velocity that resounding pffft was heard.  And we had not even pulled back all the way. With another rock in hand, we pulled back all the way and heard a pffft, bang the band was it hitting mike's fence 150 yards across the field. We also notice that we had invented the weed whacker. But after 10 or 20 pffft, bangs it got boring mike had to go home and Kenny had to go to some family thing so we decided to meet tomorrow for phase two. We hid the howitzer at my house under a tarp.

Day two was another beautiful summer day; we assembled at the designated point for howitzer transportation. Mike brought with him the ammo 3 baskets full of golf balls he creatively acquired from his dad's garage. We rolled the gun up to the end of the street which was a bluff overlooking the small town of Fircrest.  This area was a hilly area left over from when the bulldozers had cleared the lots and built the road. Now it was mounds of grassy hills 15 feet high or so we selected the tallest pointing toward downtown. Chocked the wheels which in our case meant we buried them.  Picture a wagon at the top of a hill 15 feet in the air angled down the hill at a 45 deg. We were ready for a test fire we took a golf ball and put it on the web pulled it back 10 feet and let go. It hit the Y, we re-adjust the angle of wagon and retest. Now imagine 3 kids standing around a wagon and letting go of the slingshot and watching the golf ball just clean disappear, cool we looked at each other and said fire for effect.

We had a system, Kenny went and pulled the tubing down to the same point every time, I handed mike the ball, mike placed in the breach and released. Kenny was already up on the hill ready to get the tube again to reload.  Now think of what we are doing at the time we were just dumb kids it never occurred to us. First golf balls are meant to fly, second, we pulled the tubing back to the same point every time. And what goes up must come down that whole gravity thing.

Now we had three buckets of balls about 250 or so we launched all of them in about 5 min, fire for effect, we were having a great time when we got done we sat down and laugh and joked.

Then it happened, the man was a calling. we heard the sirens coming from about a mile off we ran to our designated safe spots. To wait it out we heard the coppers come up the street and stay for a while when then left. We all came out from our safe spots.  I do not know where Kenny or mikes safe spot was, nor did they know mine that prevented one of us from fingering the other guy if he was captured. We went to the scene of the crime and our howitzer was gone as well as our baskets.

Later that night on the news there was a story about a golf ball shelling in Fircrest; it seems that windows of cars were broken hoods dented, shingles taken off roofs, general mayhem and all within an 800-foot circle on a street in Fircrest. The one lady who witnessed the chaos was reported as saying “they just came out of the sky and fell everywhere breaking everything” My Father looked at me and asked me “do you know anything about this Paul “ nope nothing I replied and left the room.

I had an old bike a Schwinn coaster brake model with ballooned tires that was handed down from my brother it had scratched paint, a bent rim, and so many holes in the seat I lost count. I think most of you know what I am talking about a single speed, coaster brake, no fenders or chain guards so you had to tuck your pant leg into your sock when you went riding so you did not bite it.  But it was mine and I loved it, even with all of its scratches and dents. Until the Yamaha shock bike, a bike for the ages. Yellow like a real motorcycle front and rear shocks, cool handlebars, Yamaha on the side.

 Every kid within a thousand miles wanted one but they set you back some coin, way more than my parents we going to pay for a bike I had a perfectly good hand-me-down.  It was the coolest thing in bikes Kenny, David or I had ever seen and mike had one. We all wanted to ride it but mike only would let us for a few minutes and certainly not off a jump.  This was a time in history when Evil Ken veal was big and as youths in Washington, we wanted to be just like him. If there was something to jump over we would find it, anything we rode our bikes off of ever-increasing jumps, on this particular day we went down to an area by our house we called Poda Checks.  It was a very large forest filled with animals and trails about 6 miles square we could ride all day in the woods under the trees and frequently did. On this day we were building jumps at the bottom of a trail and jumping off them. After each jump, we would build it higher and do it again. We used to creatively acquire lumber from the houses being built in the area and use them for forts and jumps and such.  Today we were jumping starting at the 1-foot level we all went off without issue, so we raised the ramp to 14 inches and went off again no problems. 16, 20 we skipped 18 because we had a 4x4 then we went to 24 inches and David dropped out, we all called him chicken BAC, BAC, BAC, chicken and continued to jump.

You see this was a test of manhood and we all knew it, even if we did not say it. Mike thought he was the best because he had the Yamaha even if he wasn’t. We sent David to get some new material as the newly crowned chicken he had to do the dirty work now. We want to 28 inches and we went off but Kenny fell bad popped a tire skinned a knee and his face, we basically killed Kenny, so he was out of the competition, still, a man as he did not give up, he went down in combat. We went to 30 and both mike and I went off. Next came 36 and we were out of lumber to build it higher but we needed a new ramp, David did come through he went and found an 18 wide pieces of ½ thick plywood 8 feet long. Perfect we used the 4-foot piece as a pre-amp and the 8-foot piece as a bridge in the middle between the jump end and the end. We thought we had a nice 12-foot long ramp, Cool. I told mike to go first but he wouldn’t, he said for me too I called him a chicken, he then called me one and so the chicken name-calling continued for a few mins until I said I would go on it if I could use the Yamaha shock bike, more heavy negotiations. He only agreed after I told him I would do it from the top of dead man’s drop, Mike finally relented, so I took the bike and rode off to hear mike yelling at me to not scratch it. You see the area we were at was below a large hill that the bottom was fairly flat leading to the small clearing with a canopy of Douglas fir trees, old trees 24-36 inches in diameter 200 feet tall.  The top of the hill was a drop, dead man’s drop near vertical drop about 25 feet down to a steady 50-degree hill the slowly leveling to flat ground in the clearing where the jump was set up where the LZ was.

I took the bike to the top of the drop and sat there waiting and looking over the edge deciding if my manhood was worth this. Then I hear from the clearing bac, bac, bac, chicken bac, bac, bac, chicken you’re a chicken you won’t do it. With that, I swallowed hard and went over the drop I was going to prove to them that I was the best and prove my manhood was better than Mike's. If you have ever ridden a 1-speed coaster bike there is a point where you reach terminal velocity where no amount of pedaling will make you go any faster. I hit that at about 40 feet down the hill it was all up to my friend gravity now. I got to the bottom of the hill and I guess I was doing about 25 to 30 MPH I lined up on the ramp and prepared to hit it. I was Evil Kenval with no helmet as I started up the ramp things started to get interesting. The first 4 feet went well it was the next 8 that caused a few issues. Imagine a ½ piece of plywood suspended between two points and a moving heavy object coming on the end at the low point.  As I moved down the ramp the ramp started to deflect by the time my whole body was on there I had significantly changed the launch angle of the jump. I am not sure what happened next but I was told by eyewitness it was cool, it seems the jump support fell not all the way just a few inches a 2x4 or 2 it squirted out nearly hitting Kenny. I went mostly vertical about 12 feet that is where I hit the tree branch the big one 8 inches in dia I was ok though as I used my head to hit it. It did knock me off the bike where I fell to the ground back onto my head to break my fall.

I remember waking up with three boys standing over me I tried to get up but I fell back down and my head really hurt, they told me I was out for about a minute or so. I decided to lay there for a while until I could get up as I could hardly stand. That took a long time about 15/20 min. They thought I might be dead but I was still breathing so they knew I would be ok. When I finally got up I said I wanted to go home because I had a headache and I could not see very well. And I scraped my elbow and my Head when I hit the tree and fell, I bled all over my clothes oh great I was in trouble for getting blood on my clothes.  Mike was mad at me, I had scratched the Yamaha and popped the tire, I pushed my old bike home as I could not ride it very well, the whole balance thing.

When I got home I told my mother that I fell on my bike and I had a headache and I was sorry for the blood, I was going to go lay down this was about 4 pm on a summer day at 9 am the next morning I woke up.  I felt much better we went out and started jumping again this time on asphalt, it is much safer.

That summer I also learned some life lessons from my dad. mostly they concerning business and selling stuff,  you see My dad was the perfect salesman, he was one of those guys that could sell anything to anybody he could sell ice to an Eskimo in the dead of winter in Alaska and get him to wonder how he had ever lived without ice for so long.  I learned a lot from my father about human nature and the art of selling, it was on one of those days that I learned a lesson from my dad. The drivers that purchase goods from my dad would write the order and I went into the warehouse to fill it. When I came out with a hand truck with only a few boxes of O Boy Oberto jerky, cheese and such on it. My dad ask why the order was so small, Dave told my dad he was going to Vegas and he did not want to have a full truck because he would have to run his reefer for the week he was gone.  My dad says let’s talk, and he takes the order sheet from me and fills it out for him and sends me off to fill the order. This time I need a cart. When I return with the goods Dave and my dad are joking and laughing, as I help them load his truck up with the full order which he gladly signs for. I ask my dad how he did it too get Dave to buy a full load of goods. He tells me, Dave wanted to go to Vegas and he also wanted to buy a full load of merchandise, my job as a salesman was to help him find a way to make what I needed and what he wanted one and the same.  Sales are about listening and helping your customer meet their dreams and goals. By doing that you help them and indirectly you help yourself as you are paid for your service, there were two issues here. One it is a short week for him, second the power issue, i.e. the cost of refrigeration. So I solved the problem by appealing first to his business like mind, I gave him 2% off of his order, if he ordered today and pulled a full order. Second, he will be dropping the truck off and I will be paying for the refrigeration for the week, a very small cost as we pay for power anyway.  And third I told him we would wash his truck before he left today, Paul the bucket and hose are over there….

I used to go on road trips with my dad during the summer for his company, he owned a food distribution company that sold food to grocery stores all over several western states by independent owners, and the drivers owned their own trucks and product and the route and my dad sold them the foodstuff.  When they wanted to go on vacation my dad would fill in for them and covered their routes. In my family, the 4th of July was a holiday to be celebrated, I was raised by my father and mother who both lived through the depression and were very grateful for the gifts this country had bestowed upon them. That is why it should be celebrated with fireworks and much fanfare they both loved fireworks of all kinds, firecrackers, bottle rockets, M-80’s basically, anything that explodes or can hurt you in any way, I still love them. Secondly, my father was a capitalist who believed that the only reason for making a product was to sell it and if he did not sell it then someone else would.

As I told you my father filled in for his drivers, This is what took us to Montana at the beginning of June, my dad either knew or met a dealer of fireworks.  In Montana where they were cheap and plentiful. After we were done with the grocery business we went to la Havre MT and picked up a load of fireworks, not just 1 box but a truckload 8 feet wide by 14 feet long.

And headed west I don’t think my dad thought there was anything wrong with what he was doing, he paid cash for the fireworks and was taking them home to sell.  It is the thing to do on the 4th of July, he was going to make a buck and support his family what does the ATF care about carrying explosives across state lines.

When we got home we put the fireworks into our basement this was in the middle of June.  About a week later the Indians started to sell the fireworks for the 4th so as soon as they went on sale it was ok for us to light off a few. Now imagine 4, 9-year-olds with an almost unlimited supply of fireworks, firecrackers, bottle rockets, M-80’s ground bloom flowers, my dad’s favorite ECT.

My dad sold half of the booty in the first few weeks and made all of his money plus some, so he told us we could have some but to be careful, sure dad I said.

Now that I have set the stage I will begin by telling you he was mean he was my parent’s Neighbor, Mr. Unger.  I don’t know if he hated kids or just us. He had this patch of grass on the street about 10 feet wide between his house and the road.  Kenny and I were just sitting on the grass when he came out and yelled at us to get the hell off his property.

He did not know it at the time but he just threw down the gauntlet. From that 4th it was decided that his mailbox shall not live to see another day, Kenny, Mike and I went to the fireworks room as we know called it on or about July 1 1975 at that time in Washington as well as other states you could buy m-80 or ¼ sticks of dynamite as they were known. And we're actually ¼ sticks made with Nitroglycerin. They were very useful for many applications they were perfect for any demolition, fishing or blowing your finger or handoff.  And we had them by the box load so why not use them to do some demolition or redesign of a mailbox or two. We sat down in the bunker and figured out a plan of attack to blow up Unger’s box. We needed to wait until they were gone from home and it was a Sunday which meant that Monday at high noon was d-day when they were at work. We would meet at the bunker at 11 to set up.

D day. We met in the bunker and decided to complete the prelim work in my backyard. The fuse timing, we need to see how much time we had from when we lit the fuse until it blew.  It was decided as with most of our jobs that Kenny would do the dirty work, one he was expendable and two he had a built-in alibi that he could not have done anything as he was at home doing a checking.  We went outside to my backyard with a pocket full of m-80 and a mission. Kenny put the M-80 on the ground and got ready to light it. Kenny bent over the ¼ stick of dynamite and yelled fire in the hole, struck the match and ran away about 20 feet stopped then turned and looked.  I was staring off at a cloud so I never saw Kenny light it, he was about 4 feet from me when it blew running away; it was quite an explosion from ground zero. Of course, Kenny was a safe distance away nothing like deserting your troops in battle. It would have been better if he had told us before he lit it off behind our backs, but no harm no foul.  But worst of all I was not ready to count we got a cool explosion with no data, try #2 Kenny put it on the ground and yells fire in the hole this time to make sure we are looking at him. He then lights the fuse and I count one thousand, two one thousand ECT this worked pretty well, after five explosions the fuse time was about 4 seconds we only really needed two charges the last three charges we spent blowing up an ant pile.

The plan, we decided that we needed to tape the ends of the mailbox with duct tape and seal the door shut. This would allow for the best explosion a small closed space with HE in it.  I had the tape; the Unger’s had the box and were not home, so we went over to plan the op. We went to the box and taped the back to give us a good seal. Then we taped the front door but did not seal it we just opened it. The plan was this I would light the fuse, Kenny would put it in, mike would shut the door and seal the tape as tight as possible while I yelled off 0ne one thousand two one thousand ECT. We had 4 seconds, plenty of time in 4 seconds you can get 10 feet away from the box. Granted this was an ambitious plan but we were trained professionals working with high explosives and took our jobs very seriously. Kenny was nervous as his mom made him paranoid with all of her checking and being safe crap so handling HE was new to him a guy can’t live like that working around HE scared him and it showed.  Round 1 went down like this, Kenny held them-80 I lit it and started counting I got to one, one thousand 0ne point five when I realized Kenny threw it into the metal box t so hard that it bounced right back and hit him smack in his white shirt and shorts and stuck there. I was counting 1 thousand one etc. We all got about three steps  It dropped to the ground from Kenny’s shirt as he turned to run so the HE was live on the ground and we were next to it then the earth-shattering kaboom from behind us. we were all ok no injuries. on to Round 2 I lit it Kenny threw it slowly this time, mike sealed the lid and we ran we also got about 2 steps but this time a new sound much like the side of a 55-gallon drum being hit with a baseball bat. When the smoke cleared we took a look at our handiwork mailboxes are basically a piece of sheet metal folded in half and riveted to a bottom and an end put on with a door. The rivets on 1 side were blown out and the box was now a serving tray the end was still there but parallel to the tray, the lid was on the Neighbor's house across the street. But the best part of all was the mail had just been delivered before we blew it up. We did not know it at the time of the detonation. Or we would have taken it out because everyone knows it is a federal offense to mess with the mail. But anyway it was in shreds and scorched on the bottom of the box. Tell us to get the hell off your lawn.


That same summer we had an unlimited supply of bottle rockets,  And as red-blooded Americans what was better than to celebrate the fourth than a reenactment of a battle of Lexington.

Our Neighbors on the other side of my parents had a house that was new and they just moved in their names were the Winjum's very nice people, always letting us play in their yard and such.  You see the house had a deck overlooking the grass which was terraced on a hillside backed up by a forest of timber much like Poduchicks they were Douglas fir 200 ft tall. The plan was to have a firefight with bottle rockets launched at each other, like mortars or rockets. The way to fight with a bottle rocket is to use a punk grab the rocket by the red stick point it in the general direction you want it to go light the fuse when it fires let go. You now have a semi-guided explosive device.  We spent a few hours setting up for the battle each of us had two or three bricks of bottle rockets. 24 packs of 12 rockets each or 288 rockets per brick. We broke open the rockets and laid them out in locations so we could move and fire use up that ammo move to the next dump and continue. As well as carry several hundred of them on us with a few m-80 for HE. We divided up into two teams red and blue, no one wanted to be the redcoats as they were the bad guys, so in an effort to appease the enemy, we gave the red coats superior firepower. We were forced to turn over all of our m-80 and they got the high ground, the deck.  The teams were Kenny, mike, Dave and I Kenny and Dave were redcoats on the deck, mike and I were the blues in the brush over the wall, undercover.

The battle we lit the punks and made ready for the redcoats. At first, we sat there staring at each other waiting to see who was going to fire the first round. The redcoats did with a volley of rockets from the deck after they had spent 25 min setting up charges to send our way. Mike and I were hunkered down behind the wall as bottle rockets raced over us and hitting everything and then exploding we stood and began to return fire, sending round after round up on the deck. We hear the screams from the deck area, duck, look out here comes one so we knew we were on target. Next, we see an m-80 land 3 feet from my feet; I yell incoming and jump out of the way. On the way down I am hit by two rockets.  One of which hits me and glances off harmlessly the other catches in my shirt, I feel the sparks starting to burn my skin and then the ka-boom as the charge detonates, under my left rib damn there goes another shirt. I am on the ground and I yell man down. Mike yells at me to get up and help him return fire. I stand and start to pull rounds from my shirt pockets and fire with so much veracity that the hulk would be proud, I am now standing up in the line of fire because I am mad and I am going to take these suckers down the British will not hold this fort. As mike is firing from the cover of the bunker I jump onto the grass of the backyard and do a walk/crawl toward the house.  Under heavy fire I am hit with two more rockets one on my head and one on my shoulder both causing burns but the worst was the M-80’s the first one landed at my feet I dropped and rolled to my right into more rocket fire they had me bracketed the next M-80 fell to my right so I had to roll back the other way. But what I did not see was that they had thrown two M-80 to the other side on my left and I rolled onto it. I now had a ¼ stick of dynamite in the middle of my back. Cool, this was what being an American fighting soldier was all about. I know it was there right away from the burning on my back from the fuse, so I continued to roll I had just cleared the stick and my face was the other way when it went off I felt the blast it was like someone taking a hot shovel and hitting you square in the middle of the back as hard as they could. I felt the blast deposit rocks in my back it dug from the soft grass in the Winjum’s backyard; by the way, did I mention the Winjum’s were in Europe for 2 weeks on vacation. So now I just got up and rushed the deck. But I never made it Kenny and David had been busy pelting mike with bottle rockets while he was holding up under the tree. Mostly Kenny was busy with me. They were yelling now to cease fire cease fire, mike did not know it yet he was still firing away, when I looked he was standing under the first of a 200 ft roman candle the ashes had started to fall on mike when he realized what had happened He got out of dodge.

Fire brigade

I knew it was time to put out the fire or we and the fireworks would be gone. So I told Mike to get a hose from my backyard, I grabbed the hose and then I told Kenny and David to pick up all of the fireworks they could find used or unused and hide them and  Do it fast. AS we went to firefighting the blasé another 200 ft tree went up, by this time we had two hoses on the fire one on the left and one on the right. Kenny and Dave had most of the stuff cleaned up.

I told Kenny to go get my baseball bat and our gloves that were in the front yard of our house from last week before the fireworks showed up when he got back with that. We started to hear the fire trucks I told them our story was we were playing ball and we saw the fire and we came over to put it out. Don’t say anything else, let me talk if at all possible

As soon as the fire department showed up they had the fire out in about ten min. after the fire was out the fire chief came over to us boys, and had us sit down on the curb, he asked us the regular info about our names, rank and serial number. He asked us if we knew what had happened, I was the first one to open my mouth, as Kenny was about to say something and he would have cracked under the pressure of the integration. I said that we were playing baseball in the street over there. We heard the fireworks go off and the next thing we knew we saw was smoke coming from the backyard. We ran to the yard I grabbed a hose and started to put out the fire, and then I told Mike and Kenny to go find some more hoses to help. We were battling the fire until you showed up with the real thing. We had the fire mostly under control by the time you showed up anyway. He looked at me and asked if I knew anything about the fireworks on the lawn, I told him no sir like I said we were playing ball, it must have been those other kids that ran off after they started the fire. What other kids? Well, there had to be, I reasoned as we did not do it and it was going when we got there so there must have been someone else, we just put it out. This whole time the others just sat there listening to my story quietly when the Chief turned to Kenny and asked him “was this the way it happened son” as if he knew Kenny was the weenie the one to rat us out. All of our eyes were on him as if anyone was going to crack it was going to be Kenny he was a pansy his mom did it to him by all of his check INS.  Kenny looked at us staring at him with the eyes of death that told him to man up if he ever wants to run with the Musketeers’ again, Kenny looked back at the chief but not back at him he looked him square in the eye and said without cracking a smile or a grin, “yes sir that is exactly how it happened” and then he did the most amazing thing he did not look away he kept staring at the chief right in the eyes for about two or three seconds until the chief looked away. Sometimes your friends or your children will do the most amazing things and rise to the occasion to show you their finest traits at the right time. This was one of those times and we would always remember Kenny and how he manned up.  The chief stood up and turned around when he turned back to us and said we could go home, to have a safe 4th of July. We took our baseball gear and went across the street to watch the fireman clean up our mess. After they had left we went to survey the damage and to retrieve my shoes, well we did a pretty good job on the yard 2 200 ft old-growth Douglas fir trees were now burnt toothpicks the branches of some had broken off and fallen into a pond the Winjum’s had just put in she raised these imported turtles little cute things. Well, the branches had choked the pond and cooked the turtles we made turtle soup. We also blew holes into the grass in about 8 places 18 inches in dia 8 inches deep, and we burn the grass halfway up to the house.

Later that night I told my dad what had happened he was glad that I fessed up and told him the truth, and two we worked out some guidelines for the fireworks. The next Saturday morning my mom and dad were home, I had just finished lifting off an m-80 and a rocket with mike, when up rolled the fire marshal in the wagon, both mike and I stared at each other in horror. We thought we were busted for sure.  He came up to the mike and I and asked if I was Paul and mike we told him yes, he asked us to go get our parents, mike went to get his and I got my dad who looked as nervous as I did when I told him the fire marshal wanted to see him. He came out

And as soon as Mikes dad showed up the fireman made this speech the city of Fircrest would like to thank Paul and Mike for their quick work in putting out the fire on June 30 they saved countless trees and possibly lives and houses if it was allowed to spread without quick action.  Therefore the firefighters of the city want to extend to them the rank of horary firemen in the city of Fircrest. And present them with these plaques naming their deeds and efforts.

We just about fell over horary firemen we started the fire.  But I guess we did put it out as well, my dad said thank you very much to the fireman and shook their hands.  When they left up the road to give the plaque’s to Kenny we breathed a sigh of relief and looked at each other in disbelief.  

I told you before how my older brother would how should I say teach me the finer things in life and this was one of those times I guess,  you see we had this horse, milk cow farm below our house that now is a development of fairly new houses. we all used to go down there and feed the horses carrots and apples during the summer.  I was there with Mark and his friend ken. we were not doing much of anything. I don't know if it was ken or mark who got the idea I was, as usual, bugging them so they told me I could stay with them if I passed the initiation to the club. now my past experience should have made me run as far away as I could, but you guessed it I did not I wanted in with the cool kids. they told me all I had to do was pee on this fence barefoot. I thought ok I can do that.

Ken showed me how he dropped his fly and took off his shoes and peed you may have noticed I am not very observant sometimes, he was peeing through the fence right between the set of wires on the other side I am thinking cool, I can do that. I dropped my fly removed my shoes and began to pee, then ken or mark tells me to pee up and down like I am writing, so I did. what happened next was a painful experience, in all my years of peeing I have never been shocked like that I started to go up and down and when my pee hit the wire something went off in my crotch my penis was on fire and not in a good way. I was moving over the wire so it was only for a couple of milliseconds but when I peed down again it was back.

something told me that this was not normal so I stopped peeing. turned around and mark and ken were laughing at me, I still was not really knowing what was going on standing there with my penis hanging out. They pointed to a yellow and black sign on the post that said beware electric fence in use and laughed at me.  I said now can I hang with you guys the said no go away.


The end of the summer went on without much trouble I will say there are a few things I remember with fond memories as a young lad, one is when my mom and the girls packed sauerkraut. there was a plant in Eatonville Washington that used to make all kinds of good stuff sauerkraut caramel corn and pickles my mom would drive out there in the morning to pick up a 55-gallon barrel of sauerkraut I would tag along being 8 now to help. we would take the empty barrel back and pick up a new full one. After I helped my mom load up the new barrel, Sometime’s the man at the dock would give me a bag of caramel corn.  My parents were in the grocery business selling all kinds of items to stores. deli foods cheese sauerkraut my mom and the girls as they were called by my mom and dad would take the drum, open it and fill plastic bags with Krout seal them and box them up then put them in the cooler in the carport. oh, I did not mention we had a walk-in refrigerator in our garage not too big 8 by 10 feet that I remember. this is where my dad stored all of his deli foods to sell out of his truck well the dodge van.

You see this is where I met one of my oldest friends Jennifer she was a daughter of one of the moms they would come over and we would play together while the girls packed krout.

Jennifer and I were the same age so we were together all the way through high school



it was the winter of 1971 now and we were in for a good amount of snow in the Northwest it was cold we got about 2 feet of snow a great time to be a kid. now we had the old sleds if you remember the ones you lay on and use the metal runners like a bobsled you can turn them but the really only worked on ice.  it was cold at night so we got the idea to ice the hill that was in our neighborhood first we tried to hall buckets of water and pour then down the hill they froze but the area was too small we needed to cover a much larger area of the hill. I won't tell you it was my idea but I was involved in the planning the plan required hose and sprinklers again no one in the area really took notice of 3 kids carrying rolls of hose from our houses to the hill we were very covert about the operation soldiers you know can work in secret.  we also creatively acquired sprinklers as in the winter lots of people left them outside in their backyard.

in the Northwest, in the winter it was the exact opposite of summer you only had about 8 hours of daylight we set the hoses up to run from one of the new houses that were built but not occupied it was right next to the hill. You know when the house is ready to sell the water is on but nobody's home. we ran the hoses from all 3 outside hose bibs it was nice of the builder to give us 3 on the outside of the house we ran the hoses down the hill to 3 locations spread evenly on the hill and attached three sprinklers to the ends they were the spray type of impact sprinklers the ones that went out about 20 feet.  when we went to turn them on after the first test we did not have enough pressure to run all three so we only ran two for now but we need more water to run the last sprinkler, more hose was required which we borrowed from the house at the bottom of the hill. the house next to the new one was almost done and wouldn't you know it the builders helped us out again the water was on. so with another 50 feet of hose, the 3rd sprinkler was live and we left them to run all night and went home with anticipation for the ice we were going to have the next day. we got up early at first light to go to the hill when we got there someone had turned off the last house darn, but luckily it had run long enough to lay a nice sheet of ice on the road we turned off the two hoses from the finished new house.  and took our sleds to the top of the hill to try the hill.

the first couple of runs were slow as the ice was wet.  after a half an hour it was fast.

we could go all the way to the bottom of the hill until we hit snowbank that was there. let me tell you it was fast Kenny mike and I had the best sleds and everyone wanted to use them. unfortunately, David had moved away somewhere as his dad got a job in some other state so we were really the 3 musketeers. we sledded all day and into the night until we all got called in. we took our sleds home and put them in the carport in anticipation of the next days sledding when we got to the hill on a Sunday after the 10 o'clock mass.

we saw that the city had sanded/salted our ice. why did they do that someone must have called and complained darn? our hill was ruined and all of our hoses and sprinklers were gone. and when we checked the new houses someone had turned off the water. so we were forced to have a snowball fight instead of sledding.

snowball fights were not as much fun you spent a lot of time building the fort to hide behind and more time making ammo for 15 min of fighting. dang, it really sucked that our hill was.  

It was cold at night as my parents turned the heat off to save money not just down we are talking off and that's what blankets were for. I told my mom I was cold so she told me she could help me, when she was a little girl during the depression she was born in 1925 and when she was 4 the depression hit. she said that they would put a brick in the fire and heat it up when the went to bed you would wrap it up in a towel put in the bed to keep you warm. cool, I am all about staying warm. so the brick went into the fire which was our heat source for the house as the furnace was still off.  at night when it was bedtime the brick was wrapped and we took it upstairs to my bed she said there you go. cool the bed was warm and toasty I fell asleep and the next morning when I woke up I got out of bed and I had a blister in my right leg.

not a little blister it was 3 inches by 7 inches and full of water taught like a water balloon ready to pop. I went downstairs and into my parent's room and woke my mom up.

I showed her my leg and even my mom told me we needed to go to the dr. she had experience with burns.  you see my older brother Russell burned his arm when he was 6 or 7 he poured a pan of hot grease off the stove and onto his arm you see we were all prone to accidents. so off to the dr we go me with my balloon leg, my mom, a little nervous as she knew what it was. in the exam room the dr came in and asked me what was going on my mom told him I slept on a brick,  he told my mother that we need to let the fluid be reabsorbed around the wound then we can see what is going on. he and my mom talked to see what had happened she told him of the story of the brick and as near as they could figure out I had slept on the brick all night long and basically slow roasted my leg like a turkey at Thanksgiving. what happened next I will never forget I had never experienced pain like this before. the dr left and told us the nurse would be in to clean around the wound and help me. the nurse came in with her tray and started to do the deed I don't know what she hit or did but the blister popped and splashed the fluid all over the place if you think about a monster mouth split 4 ways and having her flaps of skin. that is what happened. and you guessed it I screamed not just a little screen one that is so loud the dr and two other people can running in to see me stiff as a board and in obviously excruciating pain.  she had just exposed to the air 18 sq inches of nerve endings to the open air. the dr upon running in saw what had happened and said what the hell did you do, then told the nurse to get the morphine, she did as I was sitting there screaming and crying. once I got the shot of morphine they could have cut my leg off for all I cared some pretty good stuff. now that the skin was exposed the could see in the center of the leg I had a dot about 2 inches across that was 3-degree burns then a nice ring 1.5 inches around 2degree all the rest of the leg was a combination of 1st and 2nd degree my leg looked like a square Saturn. they fixed me up by sewing the flaps back down and wrapped my leg. home I went to a long process of wound cleaning I went home rather than the hosp for 2 reasons was my mother was a nurse and 2 the dr knew she had the experience of my brothers burn. I eventually I had to have a skin graft for the 3rd deg circle in the center. but 3 months later I was good to go.  my mom later told me she thinks the problem was the brick used it was not a red brick like you see for bldg construction. the one she used was a firebrick that was made to be used in an oven/Kiln it would hold the heat for hours after it was heated. After that, the heat was on low at night.


This part of the story tells me more of my father and how he was a capitalist by doing anything he could to make a buck and provide for us I learned it from his dad who was a grocer and ran the Piggly Wiggly on 27th for 10 years.  That was the old days the last of the era when you know the local grocer and the store itself it was like a part of your family those things today have been replaced by Walmarts. School had just started and I was a big second grader now after the trauma of Mrs.wright.  2 grade would be a snap and for the most part, it was.

I told you how my dad was a capitalist and he helped foster in me my love of selling and buying things. I think he was a little proud whenIasked him for a case or two to sell.  this lead to the Pop Rock bust at Narrows View Elementary. you see this was the time the Pop Rocks were introduced on the market in 1975 or 6 the year is blurred in memory by the sheer volume that Pop Rocks were flying off the shelves.  my dad now sold candy all over the northwest he was my Pop Rock supplier and I was the pusher.

I purchased 2 boxes of the contraband from him for about 7.50 a box. if I remember I was the only supplier in the Tacoma area or at least the stores local to me they could not keep the stuff on the shelves.  it was the Crack of the 70’s and I had the goods. I took as many packages as I could stuff into my jacket and pants pockets and off to school I went once the word got out I had the goods I sold most of it for .10 cents a packet on the bus by the time we got to school I was taped out of merch. as we say in the contraband business.  I had made 2.10 cents on 1 bus trip

i was going to be in the black by Thursday of Friday as long as my projections held, the word spread like wildfire through narrows view ele. I had the goods and to go see Paul if you needed a fix.

by the second day, I was taking orders,  Doug wanted 3, Tami wanted 2 Sara wanted 8. she was a big spender she was well off.

my problem now was delivery of the goods I had no method large enough to transport them to school.  then I got an idea I could ride my bike and carry it in my lunch box. my custom metal scobby doo lunch box, I found I could get about 1 full box in there. I was ready for the trip.

i rode to school and sold goods before school and carefully took my Lunch to class I was totally self-contained and able to discuss my merch in the class the teachers never noticed why I took my lunch with me to reses.  I was on the playground selling my goods after I filled my orders

I was sold out by lunch. at this rate, I would be out of stock by. that was good for me as I was getting a little tired of the whole sell sell routine I needed a vacation. I now knew why my parents went to las vegas so much. the next day was pretty much the same I was sold out by lunch. on the third day that's when things went south, the coppers got involved it was not pretty on the narrows playground. you see I was on the playground minding my own business selling product out of Scobby Do I guess the duty wondered why there were 30 kids standing around me. she came over and saw what was going on and I was busted nowhere to run off to the principal's office I went.  I sat there wondering what I was going say when the chief copper came out. after a few min out came Mr. Grundland the principal. he asked me what I was doing do you realize we have had to give kids free milk for 3 days as they all said the forgot their money at home now I know where that money went. into your little Pop rock endeavor he asked me what I had so say for myself. I remember my dad say this many times “what do you want me to do I am just a capitalist filling a need” so that is what I said to Mr. Grundland, after I said this he turned around with his back to me, I I swear I could see his shoulders go up and down like he was laughing. he turned around and told me to go to class and no more selling on school grounds.

i could pick up the merch. after school.

You see Mr Grundland and my dad were on the same Bowling team and you know I was the talk of the game on Friday.

I did what I was told and sold them across the street before school.  Capitalism will always find a way.


As you may have noticed I have done a lot of stupid thing in my life, hold on from here it only gets worse opp’s I mean better. you see by this time in my life I made it to the ripe old age of 10 or eleven and I had a new friend down the street Sam whom we did some dumb things together.

i will start with the wonderful sport of arcade shooting.  it was the 70’s and it was not uncommon to carry a bb gun around with you and shoot things IE birds stationary objects each other.  

it was so common that the police would wave at you when they drove by, what harm could come from kids and bb guns.  Sam and I were out shooting mostly missing but it was all good fun. we used to play this game we called arcade you see we would get in a line parallel to each other about 25 or 30 feet apart, baggy clothes or a hoddy were a plus this game is very similar to paintball today. you both had a rifle a bb gun and one person would wake the parallel line to the end and back until the other guy hit you with a bb, you got 5 tries.  then you would swap and the other guy would shoot at you. this was great fun until you got hit in the ear or cheek then it hurt. you see my Sam was a much better shot than me. so I got hit a lot and usually used my 5 attempts hitting anything. after I got hit 8 or 9 times I was done. we decided to try something else we changed our bb guns for the one pellet gun we had.

if you don't know the difference between a bb gun and a pellet gun but the size of the bb and the muzzle velocity of the bb vs pellets are more so we don't shoot them at each other we tried it once and it left bruises on the skin.

we were on his deck plinking at the transformer on the pole about 30 40 feet from the deck. it was cool it made a nice ping when you hit the transformer. you see Sam got the idea to try and shoot the white thingies on top of the transformer which we did and occasionally I even hit it but mostly it was Sam who could hit it every time.  this was fun until the transformer started to arc to the case it was a cool lightning strike then the dumb thing blew up. and all of the lights went out for the 20 or 30 houses around us.  uho we put our guns away and waited for the power company to show up. they quickly saw the issue, and got a work crew there to replace the transformer. we went down to their truck and told the power guys we were on the deck and say the thing start to arc then it just blew up.

the power guy told us this was not uncommon for old equipment to fail like this.  we did not mention that we blew it up with a pellet gun.

You may have noticed that there is a theme here us doing something and not getting blamed or caught in the act that would continue long into my young adulthood and into the Navy when the results of doing something dumb were severe so I just made sure I did not get caught in the service or was a such a exemplary sailor that no one would expect me.




















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