Innocent Until Proven Guilty… North to Alaska

First Grade class at Diamond Springs Grade School in 1949.

Our first grade class at Diamond Springs Elementary School in California. Bob is second from the left in the bottom row. I am fourth from left in the upper row. Our tough looking teacher, Mrs. Young was charged with civilizing us.

Our friends Bob and Linda Bray, along with their ever-present dog, Sister, arrived around three bearing wine. They had parked their RV on our lower property and trudged up the steep hill to our home in 100 degree plus weather. I was still waxing Quivera the Van in preparation for the trip to Alaska.

I wiped the stinging sweat from my eyes and greeted them. The Brays were joining us on our adventure.

Bob and I have been hanging around together since first grade, which was a while ago. In the beginning, our friendship faced a serious obstacle. Bob’s mother had a rule: he was not to play with the Mekemson boys. We were Trouble spelled with a capital T.

Rightfully, or wrongfully, Marshall and I were blamed for most of  the bad things that went on around Diamond Springs. Who shot Tony Pavy’s pig, broke into Jimmy Pagoni’s wine cellar, went joyriding on Caldor’s rail car? It was the Mekemson boys, of course.

Most of the mischief I got into involved tagging along with my older brother. When he graduated to girls, my reputation made a miraculous recovery. I was, however, able to pull off one last coup and live up to Bertha Bray’s expectations. For some unfathomable reason, Bob’s parents bought him a Wham-o Slingshot.

I mean, how do you expect your son to resist temptation when you buy him a slingshot? The fact that I owned a Wham-o as well almost guaranteed trouble.

Bob and I agreed to meet for a clandestine hunting expedition. It had to be clandestine because I was still on Mrs. Bray’s ‘don’t invite’ list. Our only rule for the adventure was that anything that moved or didn’t move was a valid target.

Things were going great until we came upon the old abandoned bum’s shack that was just off the Southern Pacific railroad track about a quarter of a mile away from Bob’s home. Typical of such structures, it had been created out of anything that was available for free: old aluminum roofing, miscellaneous boards, an occasional nail, a thrown away mattress, etc. It had one crowning glory, a window.

Bob and I looked at each other and had a simultaneous thought. Out came our ammunition, a shiny new marble for Bob and several bee bees for me. We took careful aim, counted down, and let fly.

To this day, Bob claims he saw his marble harmlessly strike the windowsill while my bee bees were smashing the glass to smithereens. I of course saw Bob’s marble hit the window dead on while my bee bees formed a neat pattern around the edges. There was no doubt about it; we were both innocent.

The current occupant of the not abandoned home, who was washing dishes behind a willow bush in a small stream, saw something entirely different– two little boys smashing his pride and joy.

He let out a bellow of rage and came charging up the trail. Once again the Mekemson Gang, along with its newest recruit, was on the run. The good news is that we escaped. The bad news was that the bum/hobo/homeless person with a home recognized Bob and went straight to his house. Mrs. Bray’s worst fears had been realized.

The story didn’t end there. On the 50th anniversary of our starting the first grade together, Bob sent me a present for Christmas, a slingshot. Somewhere, I suspect Bertha Bray rolled over in her grave, or maybe she chuckled.

Bob and I today on the road north in Salem, Oregon.

Bob and I today on the road to Alaska.

Linda with the family dog, Sister.

Linda with the family dog, Sister.

Sister provides a head shot.

Heads or…

Sister provides a tail shot.


Next Blog: The wonderful totem poles of the First Nation People.

8 thoughts on “Innocent Until Proven Guilty… North to Alaska

  1. LMAO! As soon as I read “Wham-O Slingshot”, the biggest smirk emerged upon my face! Man, those suckers hurt when you got hit! And yes, before these damn lawyers made it impossible to sell them…

    And yes, you and Bob DO look like trouble!

    Did I mention I made a small, um, (explosive device – shhh) when I was about 13?

      • Remember the old Gilbert chemistry kits? We stuffed the redwood chips jar and filled it (carefully) with layers of sulfur, charcoal ground fine and… potassium nitrate… Do I need to go on? His mom walloped us when she found the broken window…

  2. I still roar with laughter when I hear this tale! Hmmmm, Curt was teaching his grandsons how to use a slingshot on their visit to Oregon. Maybe, I better rethink this!

  3. rel= nofollow /b /strong/ppBuydrugs wiuthot prescription jlg /pdiv class=”reply”a rel=’nofollow’ class=’comment-reply-link’ href=’/wordpress/?p=398 replytocom=2560#respond’ onclick=’return addComment.moveForm(“div-comment-2560”, “2560”, “respond”, “398”)’Reply/a/div

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