Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Confessions from Way Back Then - MHS '56,'57', '58

A rerun from 2008 posts:

I wrote the below as a series in our 50th Reunion class blog because I got tired of the kitties and church and grandchildren posts. I felt the blog needed enlivening. Mostly, it is all true.

My Confession #1


Who remembers the “Will Special”? Chances are girl classmates, if you were sometimes taken to Weidmann’s for dinner, greeted by host, later owner, Shorty McWilliams and then found your date looking to the tall, of course, black, graying, sort of elderly waiter, named Will, trying to catch his eye, your date was in on "it". Will would come over, invite you to follow him where he would seat you somewhere inconspicuously. The "Will Special” was on. This “Special” was only available on busy Friday or Saturday nights when Will would tell us the “Special” was on — or not. Well, WTF was the “Will Special”?

Now, I don’t mean to mislead you. This was not as important as the discovery of the Venona Papers, or the outing of Claus Fuchs, but it was damned important to boys with limited funds in High School. Here goes. Pretend I’m whispering, OK?


Order anything on the menu and Will would write the check for about $2.00, and as long as you matched the check amount with a tip equal to or greater than that check, behold children, you just got the "Special". Most of the time my check was for shrimp remoulade and coffee: about $2.15. I always tipped Will in the vicinity of that amount. With a date? Anything on the menu and a check for 1 shrimp remoulade, 2 coffees. Dinner for 2? Less then $5.00, including the tip at Weidmann’s. A "Will Special".

We, who were in on the special, ate this way for almost 2 years until Will, Jr. started working there. He messed up, provided the special one night when it wasn’t busy enough. This caught the eye of ol’ Shorty Mac (as he was called) who promptly fired both Wills. Well, it was good while it lasted. Now, you boys and girls who didn’t previously know about the "Will Special" are privy to a closely held secret. By the way, I think several classmates know of this. The question is will they, too, come forward and ‘fess up?

My Confession #2

Drinkin' In High School

As long as you now know of the Weidmann's caper, I might as well tell you more about me. This series takes place before we were so rudely evicted from our youth.

As I’m sure you remember, Mississippi was a "dry" state, except for beer. NO HARD LIQUOR! Unique to this law, there was no distinction for age. The crime made it unlawful to sell liquor, PERIOD. This meant anybody could buy liquor. It could be sold to teens as well as adults. A conviction did not take into account age. So, we callow youths bought it with the seller being at no more risk than if he sold it to an adult. I don’t know about you folks, but me and my friends bought our liquor from Shadey Waddell, a black bootlegger with an innovative approach to purveying his wares: "the window".

That’s right. Shadey scooped MacDonald's with his “drive thru”: "THE WINDOW”. We, and most of his black customers knew the “drive thru” well. Drive up, lean out and knock on the opaque window. It would be raised and a voice from within would ask: "What’ll it be?” I never saw Shadey, as was the case with most of his customers, I'm sure. It gave him a way to deny a transaction because he could not be identified by his customers. Shadey was a smart man. His specialties were pints and half- pint bottles of whiskey and some cheap ass “Taaka” Vodka. Mostly, he sold “Early Times” and the budget brand, “J.W Dant”(for about 80% of the Early Times price). J.W. Dant may have been made in West Virginia in a process involving an auto radiator. But we bought it and we drank it and it would make you as drunk — or drunker (more drunk?) — as the "high priced Spread" — to borrow from an early margarine commercial. So, yes, I, and some of you, bought and drank in High School. I know some names because some of you, at one time or another, drank and got drunk with me.

This is enough for confession #2.

My 3rd Confession will be revealed on Sunday. It’s about me being arrested for being “drunk and disorderly” at “SKY VIEW”.

My Confession #3

Drunk and Disorderly.

When I wrote about drinking in High School, I hope I didn’t mislead you. We drank but I didn’t mean sloppy, falling down, passing out and hurling drunk... so hung over the next morning that you grabbed the wrong tube and brushed your teeth with “Preparation H” drunk. But I did get “Mouthing Off”, slightly drunk. Usually it was on beer. I got this way several times... OK, many times. There was seldom a trip to Shadey’s. Well, there was the Great Easter Drunk, really drunk, drunk, but that’s a story for another time.

At Skyview, the fabled Honky Tonk, I was sort of friends with the manager/part owner Robert Earl Northcutt. He told me of the pre-raid phone calls he would get from Deputy Sheriff, Larry (I think that was his name) Thomas. Larry would call and tell Robert Earl that they were coming out in about 20 minutes. This, of course, gave Robert Earl and his bouncer, who, for a while was Wayne Roberts, time to lift off the craps table which was overlayed on top of the snooker pool table, pull out the cues and rack the balls. I was there only twice to see this so-called raid. Both times, Larry would swagger in, walk

over to the pool table where the bouncer was standing, holding his cue straight up, chalking, as players will. The bouncer would say, “Your shot Robert Earl." Larry would walk around for about 5 minutes and leave, telling Robert Earl, as he left, to “keep it clean”. What ever that meant. Robert Earl would walk outside give ol’ Larry $50. The money was in plain sight both times that I saw the raids.

Of course the night I was arrested I was in the full mouth-off mode. I was outside leaning up against my friend, John’s car. As Larry walked by me he mumbled something to me. The way I recall it, I didn’t even understand what he said, but I told ol’ Lar he could go do something that was anatomically impossible for him to do to himself.

About 15 or 20 minutes later, I was in the Lauderdale County Jail, arrested for being drunk and disorderly. I’m glad I wasn’t driving that night because I’m sure he would have nailed me for a D.U.I, too.

Now it gets interesting. The Lauderdale County sheriff was Alton Allen who for years owned a grocery store on, I believe it’s 23rd Avenue (haven’t been back in a while), right across the street in back of MHS. Alton replaced Dr.J.V Duckworth, the corpulent ex-Veterinarian sheriff that I’m sure some of you remember.

Alton Allen was also something else. He was our neighbor, one house down in Marion. His family and mine were close friends, had been for years. Good news and bad news, right? Right. He sat me down on a bench while ol’ Lar filled out some paper work. And Alton went back into his office where he must have called my Dad. It was late, around 2 a.m. By this time Alton had become Mr. Allen for me.

He came out to the bench, got me, took me into his office and told me to call my Dad. And I did. I told my Dad the Reader’s Digest version of how I got where I was. I’ll never forget what he said to me. He said, “Son, what have I or your mother ever done that would lead you to where you are now?” I, of course, said, “Nothing”. He then said, You mean you got where you are on your own?” “Yes sir”. My Dad then said, “Well you got in, you get out.”

I don’t know why it took so long, but at that moment I became really scared. Mr. Allen took me back out to the bench and told me that the only cell available was down on the end with another man arrested for being drunk and fighting. Now I got really, really scared. I remember Mr. Allen telling me breakfast was at 6 a.m. and he said the meal was a hamburger
soup or something that sounded disgusting.

I sat on the bench for what must have been 45 minutes. My Dad walked in, thanked Mr. Allen, and drove me home. He and Alton (back to "Alton" again) had planned the scenario. I didn’t get to drive for about 6 weeks. Had to apologize to Alton for putting him to such trouble and my Dad insisted I cut the Allen’s grass for the rest of the summer.

But my dad never spoke of the incident again.

Nota Bene:

My 4th Confession will be posted on Wednesday night. Isn't this fun? You know I read somewhere that once ya get on Medicare you are absolved of any youthful indiscretions. So my 4th Confession will be about classmates with whom I had sex.

My Confession #4

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

First let me get a couple of things out of the way... so to speak.

!. Ouida and I agree that nothing went on between us. I said, “Believe me Ouida, if it had you’d remember it.” She said, “Yeah, I’ll bet. What’s your name again?”

2. There are no boys on the list. Although, refer to My 3rd Confession: “The Great Easter Drunk, really drunk, drunk.” But, I don’t think so.

3. Most of the names I have were 11th graders, class of ‘59. There were 3 or 4 13th and/or 14th graders. 1 for sure, from the 10th grade. But most all the boys knew her “biblically”, if you get my drift. To know her was to love her.

Now on to the heart of the matter: the class of ‘58. Although several of you contacted me and wanted to be at the “top” of my list, I was first thinking, “ no, not more groupies. Not for this, too.” But I checked my list and, unless I lied to my diary, you girls weren’t even on my list! Using an O.J. Simpson trial-ism: “if ya ain’t in my book, ya didn’t getta look.”

Now, for the 11 or 12 of you on my “list” – that I hid – and you know who you are, re-reading through my MHS ‘58 diary, one page really that really stands out in bold letters is this: I WON’T TELL, IF YOU WON’T. So girls, please ask your husbands/partners... whatever to put away the shotguns. Take the 00 buckshot back to Walmart... or save it for deer season. If any of you knew me, you’d know that I’m sort of honorable and I won’t tell, if you won’t.


Meg Pokrass said...

i am appalled. just appalled. absolutely appalled. I am praying to jexus. Praying so damn hard.

Anonymous said...

i am appalled. just appalled. absolutely appalled. I am praying to jexus. Praying so damn hard.

Wayne Dowdle said...

Hell, I and my brothers and Tekes would not have had anything to eat if it were not for Will... Shorty you didn't need the money!