Monday, April 24, 2006

Daytona Beach 1960

In 1960 our senior year, the night after we graduated we headed to Daytona Beach, Florida. I think it was May the 27th.

I made reservations for four of us at a big green stucco building named the Renee. They was only one of two that responded to my request, and of the two it was cheaper.

On the way down I rode with Monty. That was before expressways. You had to drive through each little town between here and your destination. In one little Georgia town the signs in the middle of town were confusing. I think two or three highways crossed and started there and some of them had similar numbers. We was sitting in the car trying to figure the signs and the map out when a policeman with a dog on a leash walked by. He reminded me of the old Civil Defense officers who walked the streets at night, and this wasn’t that many years after the Civil Defense Corps, if it wasn’t still going on. One friend was standing by the car getting some fresh air.

We asked the policeman about directions and he told us how to go. He was leaning over telling us when he said, “Is that a beer can there?” (pointing to an empty beer can in the floorboard in the front seat). Monty said, “Its empty sir” (ignoring the fact that there were several full ones iced down in the back seat.

The policeman said, “Get out of the car boys”. With that, Monty started the car and we sped off. Leaving our friend standing by the policeman and the dog.

Our friend looked as surprised as the policeman and then started running through a park. Monty circled around and rode up to our friend and slowed down, then stopped. Our friend opened the door and he jumped into the car and we sped off, just as the policeman, not use to running at his age, came walking up almost to the car towards hurriedly.

The Renee House It was across the street from a big outside round orchestra shell looking thing. The rounded half-opened, good for acoustics kind of thing with rows of chairs in the open in front of the stage.

Next to it was a boardwalk and a pier with carnival type gyp joints and rides.

After that was the beach that you could drive on if you wanted and then the Atlantic Ocean.

It seems the Renee Inn was about four stories high. All rooms had to be entered by a hallway except the ones on ground level.

A good many high school people stayed at the Renee. The manager was a nervous bald-headed chubby man. He watched every move we made. We called him Wart.

There was also lurking nearby an elderly man with a walking stick. He seemed to appreciate our youth and seemed to be get a kick out of our carrying on. He was either the owner or just a permanent person with a room – I forgot the name we ordained him with, it seems he got by with just his first name, something like Ralph.

At the Renee probably at least 30 Marietta kids were staying there, and up the beach, at a nicer motel, right on the ocean another 30 or 40 kids (with chaperones) and down the beach in some beach front bungalows, also with chaperones, maybe 10 to 20 kids.

I found a cheap dive of a restaurant that had a breakfast special for 39 cents which we all went to every morning. We got at least one good meal a day – for .39! Not bad.

All three places were having continuously parties. Just about everybody at one time or another on the trip drunk themselves silly.

One friend there was Bubba. Bubba was wealthy. His father owned a textile plant that made underwear and socks. Bubble stayed drunk the entire week. He wore a straw hat that seemed bigger than his head the whole time. A friend Clare brought her car, a Metropolitan. Early in the week Clare and a friend was going someplace in her Metropolitan. Bubba wanted to go, but there was no room in the tiny Metropolitan. So, he rode on the back, standing on the bumper. As they drove off Clare tooted her horn for us to see, she pointed with her thumb to back of the car. There was Bubba with his straw hat standing on the bumper holding a beer in one hand and his penis in the other. He was urinating as they drove off.

Clare married and moved to a neighboring county and became a newspaper reporter and after that a detective in that same county. She was on TV about 8 years ago about unsolved mysteries. Bubba had just about nine or ten more years to live.

He was a representative for his father’s company and was on the road a lot, and nobody really knew his schedule or where he would go next. He was found dead in a cheap motel in Texas, after being dead about three days.

Our first night there a bunch of us (not me) got into a fight with some Atlanta boys that also just graduated. For a couple of days we thought we were going to have a rumble.. but the hype and interest sort of fizzled out. Thank God.


Ronnie Witcher, who died recently, and I one night were walking along the beach coming from the bungalows already mentioned back to the Renee and up ahead of were two women. We caught up with them and they were both drunk. As we walked and talked to them we found out one was the other one’s mother. The youngest one was pregnant. So Ronnie more or less said he knew they both were experienced in sex and all he wanted was them to give us a little training. Oddly enough, they played us alone, but probably we were not as bold as we pretended, nothing happened. Just all talk.

One friend, Mark, parked his car, a red Impala, on the beach near the pier. Later Mark was no place to be found when several of us watched the tide come in and partly got salty water up to probably the hubcaps when a wrecker service came to the rescue. I think for them that is a routine occurrence.

The road that the Renee was on plenty of teenagers cruised. Two girls rode by the Renee and I ran and made beautiful dive through the air and into their car window. I went into the back seat and had a good chat with the girls. That dive was my moment. A moment of misjudgment and I would have landed on the pavement. They lived in Cartersville, Georgia, not far from Marietta. After we got back I called her and had a few dates with her.

Three of my friends, Parks, Paul, and Larry B. preferred to sit in the room and stay drunk. They had a big beer can pyramid. While they were out to eat one day the room cleaners cleaned up the apartment and threw away the beer cans. They were very mad and made another pyramid and waited for the cleaners to come in the next day.
One of my friends called them the “N” word. The cleaners threw down their stuff and quit on the spot.

They went to the office to get their pay and Wart insisted those boys wouldn’t cause any harm, so he told them to apologize or he was kicking them out. So, he got the cleaners back to the room and told the boys to go ahead and apologize. One of them said, “We are sorry we called you Nxxxxxs Nxxxxxs!” They walked out with Wart pleading with them to stay. The damage was done, he told them just because of them they would have to clean their own room. He didn’t want to refund any money.

What they (and me) were not aware of was a black civil rights leader was in town checking on racism charges. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The blacks protested by walking down the beach of Daytona.

The Marietta crowd jeered and got out their beer openers (church keys) to scrape any car driving down the beach to show … to show…. What?

And on the NBC News, Huntley and Brinkley in the evening it showed the black protesters marching and the whites jeering. Several parents recognized their children in the white jeering crowd. They were horrified and ordered their kids home immediately.

Monty decided he was going to stay another week. I rode back with three other friends in a convertible. Before we crossed over the state line into Georgia we stopped at a little tourist trap and one of us stole a baby live alligator and another one of us stole a little live monkey.

Going through south Georgia the Okefenokee Swamp was to our left. Somehow the driver managed to drive off the road into mushy lands. I don’t know if that is considered the swamp or not. We let the stinking monkey go into the swamp. The alligator was kept by one of us.

And that is about it.

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6 Comments:

Blogger kenju said...

Some of you should be ashamed! I have similar stories, of course, but not in FL....LOL

2:11 PM  
Blogger ET said...

I think there are still two clingers that are not ashamed, I would guess by their attitudes.

2:36 PM  
Blogger Askinstoo said...

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2:42 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Thats a good story- and right around the time of the Greensboro sitins. i wonder if you can remember the CR leader's name.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Askinstoo said...

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2:48 PM  
Blogger ET said...

For the past 46 years or maybe slightly less I was thinking it was MLK.
But something I read recently made me wonder if it was him. I think I read recently that he was still a preacher in Mobile or Birmingham, in 1960.
I think some years didn't jive. But I know this incident was for sure 1960.

2:57 PM  

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