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From Sunnysides Lousy Book.

Getting some wheels at fifteen

Getting into trouble and having my parents' turn me over to authorities had a positive influence as to getting what I wanted that I otherwise would not have gotten. That is with the help of my probation officer or as they called it, "Case worker," I was referred to a psychologist to be evaluated.
       The psychologist asked me standard questions and asked what I thought several ink blots looked like. Then he gave me a pencil and paper and asked me to draw a house. I asked if I could use a straight edge and he said that it would be fine if I did. I drew a house with different gables and use some extravagant details that even included landscaping. I told him that I liked designing things and I preferred working with my hands. I said I was interested in being a carpenter and wanted to go to a Vocational Technical school to learn the trade and at the same time I could take the alternative high school classes at the Voc Tech School and end up with a high school diploma at the same time. He suggested that I enroll in the carpentry class at the Voc Tech School. That suggestion lead to the punch line which helped me get on with my life and more freedom with it. I told him that the problem with the idea was that I would need a vehicle so I could drive to the Voc school, and that my parents weren't going to let me get me get a driver's license until I was eighteen.
       In a separate meeting with just my parents, the psychologist told my parents that he thought I was a genius and that I wouldn't fit into a regular high school setting because of it. He suggested that a Vocational Technical school would suite my needs much better. He brought up the need for me to get a driver's license so that I would be able to drive a car to the school. My parents must have liked the idea of getting me away from the friends I had at the time and hoped I'd be able to stay out of trouble I went to the trade school instead of the public high school.
       My parents thought the thing to do was to keep me as far away from my friends as they could, so I ended up living at my aunt Rosebud's house after I got out of Ramand Hall. I was fifteen and a half, and at the time I was able to sign up for the last semester of the school year's driver's education course at the Frankland Pierce High School near my aunt's house. I happened to like living with my aunt's family better than my own because it was more like living in a house with a bunch of friends instead of a family feud. While living there I found work at plaster shop where I made cold ceramics. I was able to ride a bike to work and back, but the pay was based on piece work and it was setup so that you would be lucky to make minimum wage. It wasn't too long before Rosebud found another ceramic shop for me to try my luck at. It wasn't much better, but it gave me something to do.
      My aunt found a $300 car for me through her friend at work and my parents forked over the money for it and said I could pay them back in payments. Therefore I had a car waiting for me before I turned sixteen. The car was a black four door 63 Mercury Comet with a red interior. It was one of the rare ones with three tail lights in a row on each side. One was broken on the passenger side, but I fixed it by painting a clear plastic cup red on the inside and glue it one to what was left of the base of the original one. The original hubcaps made it look like a granny's car, so uncle Bozo gave it some baby-moon hubcaps and finished off the interior with some California hippy beads to hang on the mirror. It had a 289 with a two speed automatic. The valve seals in the engine were bad in it so it smoked every time it took off from idle at a traffic light. Uncle Bozo was a pretty cool dude in his younger days. He grew up in Sacramento, wore a leather jacket and kept a dagger in his boot. In those days he smoked pot and later on in life he kept his pet roach clip as a souvenir in his dresser drawer.
       Bozo joined the Marines and took up boxing. From what I heard, he had a trunk full of trophies, but he finally threw them out one day. He said he gave up boxing because he got hit in the head one too many times. He went of to fight in Vietnam. He was hit with a hand grenade and only remembers lying on the ground and waving to the rescue helicopter. He face was so messed up, that the medics had to cut his throat open and stuff a tube down it so he could breath. It's amazing how well he healed up from it, because the only way you can tell he was ever injured is the scare on his neck from where the medic slashed his throat from one side to the other. But even that you would have to look for it because it just looks like a regular wrinkle in his neck. He did lose a speck of his eyebrow, but it's not even noticeable. Still to this day, he believes in the reason he served in Vietnam.
       There's a time when my parents were having one of their New Years Eve parties in our basement and I'll never forget the time I looked down at the landing by the front door. Bozo was obviously feeling quit ripped. He was dancing by himself, his eyes were squinted, his elbows were held out and his hands waving back and forth – snapping his fingers. The twisting motion in his hips displayed a groove that couldn't be beat. No doubt, he was grooving.

It wasn't long before my mother decided that she didn't like handing over money to my aunt for added expenses so I had to move back home. It wasn't long after moved back at home when I turned sixteen. It was the beginning of summer of 76 and I had a car of my own.

The next chapter of Sunnyside's Lousy Book is:
On the Road at Sixteen

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