I was born in Harper Hospital, January 15 1929, and lived for a
short period at a home at Catalpa and Washington.
The depression of 1929 and my parents separation caused my older brother Harry and myself to live two miles south in Pleasant Ridge with our grandparents who nurtured and raised us for ten years.
About 1939, my brother Harry and myself moved back to Royal Oak. To reside with my mother and new step father and brother Tom. The three of us attended Whittier grade school and we were better known in the neighborhood as the “Brothers Three, Tom, Dick and Harry”. This happens to be a true story.
I attended Royal Oak High School in 1945 and was a member of the varsity swimming team where my specialty was springboard diving. I was also a member of the varsity cheerleader squad from 1945 to 1947.
Downtown Royal Oak was a favorite place to go after school, and because their were only two or three students in the entire school who owned automobiles, we all walked downtown. Our destination was always Fred Sanders Ice Cream Parlor where a Hot Fudge Puff Sunday was the standard thing to order if you could find a place to sit at the counter. Their was not too much to do in downtown Royal Oak after school so you just hung out, socialized, had some talking, laughing and then went home.
I worked downtown for Montgomery Ward as a stock and shipping clerk, I also worked at the Royal Oak Theater as an usher. The Royal Oak Post Office as a letter carrier, and Winkelman's Stores as a window trimmer.
My good friend Conrad Vaughan and myself were always looking forward to the weekend when we were sometimes allowed to borrow Conrad's Father's car. Our big desire was to cruise Woodward Avenue. We would pool our savings together and try to come up with at least seventy five cents. We knew that we could purchase three gallons of gas that would give us about three hours of fun on the highway. Cruising Woodward really began in the 1940's. The big difference was that in the forties you were most likely driving your parents car other than one that you owed. Jobs were scarce and they didn't pay much either. Racing on Woodward Avenue was our primary aim and goal, and in the 1940's our area was from ten mile to fifteen mile. When we raced we were aware that it was not about how fast you could go, but how quick you could go from the light. We always burned rubber from the light or the start and if you thought you were ahead, you would go to about forty five or fifty. If you knew you were beat from the start then you just throttled back and looked for someone else. Your parents never knew what punishment their family car went through. Or did they?
The Hollywood Drive Inn was our favorite stop in 1945, and sometimes was the starting place for many of races. Other drive inns had not yet been built or were not popular yet, but I do remember the others that received good business, like Dipsey Doodle, Totem Pole, Mavericks and Ted's. You were never without a place to venture to, and that is what made Saturday night fun.
I remember trying to be cute and get attention while at the Maverick Drive Inn. I tried to jump through the back window into the back seat, but the window had been rolled up and I received a very sudden stop. They all laughed, but I didn't.
Some wild and crazy things I did in high school.
Driving a car around the high school track at mid-night.
Throwing gravel off the Washington Square Building roof at 10 pm at night.
Sneaking in the Royal Oak theater after closing.
Climbing the water tank at the zoo.
In 1947 I became adventurous and decided to see the world. I quit school and joined the navy, and
served my country during the Korean War. I was discharged in 1951 and decided to complete my education and went back to high school and graduated in 1952 from Royal Oak Dondero High School.
I am now married and live in Jackson Michigan, but my home will always be in Royal Oak, and memories of things I did, lived and experienced will always be close to my heart and remembered forever.
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