Painting Sensiors '66

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic


Painting Seniors ‘66

 

© 2021 by Jim Shipp

 

It was all because my parents got divorced.

When mom told us that she couldn’t make it in Hartselle and that we three Shipp brothers would have to join our dad in Tampa, Florida, I guess I went a little crazy. This was in the late summer of 1964.

I had a can of metallic candy apple red paint in my ’52 Chevy and I wanted to leave a statement, sort of a “Kilroy Was Here”, so I parked the car around the corner from the old downtown water tower, climbed its rickety metal ladder, and ended up on the platform around the tank.

Brother Roy and friend Jack Charles Templeton decided to “run interference” for me. Roy had a Honda 50 and Jack had a somewhat larger motorbike. They drove round and round the block in different directions to “create a diversion” while I busied my self with my project a hundred feet above them.

I could hear the tinny whine of their bikes echoing off the buildings below as I laboriously painted “Seniors ‘66” in letters as large as I could make them on the tower’s silver surface.

I guess Roy and Jack’s “distraction” got a little too obvious, because officers Hartselle and Norman came out of the police station and stood on the sidewalk, hands on hips, watching the boys crisscross in front of them several times. Thank God, they never looked up.

When Jack saw me start down the ladder, he and Roy broke off, and we met up at my car.

The next morning, I drove into town to view my handiwork. It wasn’t as big as I would have liked, but it was entirely legible. I felt slight pangs of remorse over my illegal activity, but I also felt a sense of pride, hoping my lifetime classmates would find out who did it and remember me.

We left for Florida a few days later.


Submitted: January 20, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Jim Shipp. All rights reserved.

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