Category Archives: Portales

If the shoe fits burn it off

shoe store xray machine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoe-fitting_fluoroscope

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

During the 1950s wisdom used to bunch itself up and spread itself around at the local barber shops.  That’s where I first learned God was going to destroy us the way He did the Tower of Babel and for the same reasons.  The USSR had just put Sputnik 1 into orbit.  Too damned high in the sky to be tolerated by God.

That barber shop was also where I first learned all this uproar about radiation was a damned Communist lie intended to scare everyone out of their wits.  The proof of it was just around the corner of the square at the shoe store.  They had a machine over there where you could put your foot in and they’d shine radiation on it so’s you could look right through your shoes at the bones of your feet.

Anyone dying from it?  Anyone getting sick?  Heck no!

That shoe store had it all over J.C. Penny Company because of that machine.  We kids would go in there and they’d let us look at our feet anytime we wanted to.  And when shoes were to be bought the salesman could look through the viewer on one side, mama look through it on the other, and the kid through the third.  The salesman could then point with the pointer that the shoe wasn’t squeezing the toes, or was, etc.  Everyone loved that machine.

But government interference ruined it, same as it ruins everything else.  They made them take that machine out of there so nobody could look at his feet anymore.

Here’s what the sissie fuddyduddies say was the reason:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoe-fitting_fluoroscope

“Although most of the dose was directed at the feet, a substantial amount would scatter or leak in all directions. Shielding materials were sometimes displaced to improve image quality, to make the machine lighter, or out of carelessness, and this aggravated the leakage. The resulting whole-body dose may have been hazardous to the salesmen, who were chronically exposed, and to children, who are about twice as radiosensitive as adults.[7] Monitoring of American salespersons found dose rates at pelvis height of up to 95 R/week, with an average of 7.1 R/week.[5] (Up to ~50 mSv/yr, avg ~3.7 mSv/yr effective dose)[5] A 2007 paper suggested that even higher doses of 0.5 Sv/yr were plausible.[8] The most widely accepted model of radiation-induced cancer posits that the incidence of cancers due to ionizing radiation increases linearly with effective (i.e. whole-body) dose at a rate of 5.5% per Sv.[9]

“Years or decades may elapse between radiation exposure and a related occurrence of cancer, and no follow-up studies of customers can be performed for lack of records. Without such an epidemiological study, it is impossible to conclude whether this machine actually caused any harm to customers.[5] Three shoe salespersons have been identified with rare conditions that might be associated with their chronic occupational exposure: a severe radiation burn requiring amputation in 1950,[10] a case of dermatitis with ulceration in 1957,[11] and a case of basal cell carcinoma of the sole in 2004.[8]“

Those guys sharing their wisdom at the barber shops are mostly all dead now.  I’m guessing if a person wants to get smart in Portales he has to go to a hair stylist.  Can’t help wondering what they’re talking about in those places.

Old Jules

Hitch-hiking from Beatnik to Hippiedom

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

When I got out of the Army, summer 1964, I had a lot of ideas about my bright future.  Shopped around the Portales area for a while and found a quarter-section cotton farm I thought briefly I’d buy and become a starving-to-death farmer, which fell through.  Worked meanwhile, for Abe Ribble at his cement operation, and applied for the Peace Corps, knowing I wouldn’t hear from them for several months.

I was hanging out with a number of other young guys who were at loose ends, drinking coffee and walking around town, sitting on benches around the courthouse trying to figure out the meaning of life.  Going out with a waitress out at the truckstop when she got off work at midnight.  A young woman with goals, and confidence that no matter what a man might want for himself, she could mold him into something more to her liking.  Once she got him nailed down on all the corners.

The World Fair was going on in New York that year.  I could feel the walls of Portales trying to close in on me, and the guys I’d been spending spare time with were mostly thinking of themselves as beatniks, to the extend a person could be a beatnik in Portales.  A slight beard and a beret went a long way in that direction.  Sketchpad and a piece of charcoal, or a lot of free-verse poems jotted on cafe napkins were the tools.

So another aspiring beatnik, Stan Sexton, and I, decided to hitch to beatnik heaven.  Check out the World Fair.  Visit a couple of New Yorker weekend beatniks who went to Eastern New Mexico University, but were home in Westchester that summer.

I’ve told elsewhere on this blog about that summer, about sleeping on the Brooklyn Bridge, about catching the freight-train out late-August, jail in Rochester, and eventually hitching, driving the school bus to California, etc.  About all those would-be beatnik women and the “Eh?  YOU don’t believe in free love?” pickup line that always worked.

When I was accepted for Peace Corps Training and headed out of New York I had no idea I was seeing the dying gasp of the Beatnik phase everywhere.  That a year later everyone who was anyone would be Hippy.  That Greenwich Village would be replaced by San Francisco as the center of ‘what’s happening in America’.  Kids would be burning their draft-cards and taking acid trips.  Doing ‘Love-ins’ in the park.

By the time I got back to Portales to spend my time waiting for the Peace Corps India X training to begin in Hawaii the world had begun a sea-change, though it didn’t know it. 

But at least some of the pressure was off in Portales.  The waitress had found someone else with better prospects for a bright future.  Cotton farmer, he turned out to be, if I remember correctly.

Old Jules

Confederates and Non-Confederates

Me, trying on caps at the JC Penny store:  Why are some of these blue, other ones grey?

Store Clerk ladyWhy the grey ones are Confederates.

Me:  Oh.  Okay, what are the blue ones.

Store Clerk lady, frowning:   Um.  Those are Non-Confederates. 

Back when Keith Kelt and I were struggling through grammar school in Portales, New Mexico, a movie briefly drained our bluejeans pockets. 

Suddenly every kid in town had to have a blue, or a grey cap with a shiny bill and crossed rifles at the front.  Half-dollar at the JC Penny store had us all scrambling.  Each of us tripped down to JC Penny the instant we could scrape together the gelt. 

At which time probably all of us discovered we didn’t know enough to be making the decisions as we took cap after cap out of the bin, trying them on.  Those of us who’d seen the movie weren’t educated enough to know much about it, aside from the fact it was bloody, violent, and exciting. 

All we knew was that every kid who was anyone was wearing one of those caps.

Not until I made a fool of myself in class several years later in Junior High did I learn that the US Civil War wasn’t fought between Confederates and Non-Confederates.

Old Jules

Speaking of KENM, 1450 on your radio dial circa 1955

This is Monet George talking to you from KENM, Portales, New Mexico.  The peanut  basin of the nation.  And we’ve got a little song here for you today.

The theme song for the station was “My Adobe Hacienda.”

Lord how I hated that song.  They played it at every opportunity.

But they also loved, “Dear Hearts and Gentle People,” which didn’t exactly describe the local population except in fantasy.

Helped them feel better about themselves than they had any business doing.

“Doing What Comes Naturally” actually fit them better and, believe it or not, they liked that one, too.

I suppose “Buttons and Bows” would have resonated with any but the most stalwart souls in Portales, New Mexico, circa 1950-60, and it sure as hell got plenty of play.

Those were the days of “Knock knock” jokes, and the favorite joke around there was, “Knockknock.”  “Who’s there?”  “Kilroy”  “Kilroy who?”  “Kill Roy Rogers!  I’m Gene Autry’s fan!”

KENM was a Gene Autry Fan.

WWII vintage folks ruled the world then.  If it hadn’t been for “Tennessee Waltz”, Bonaparte’s Retreat” and “Fraulein” I expect KENM would have had long silences trying to figure out what to play.

Old Jules

Portales, New Mexico’s Multi-Phased Personality Test

I found out the other day there’s another occasional reader here shared classrooms and the seven-year drought with me in the 1950s.  Surprising, the people of that town and that vintage clicking to remember.

Every kid in Portales, New Mexico, believed Gene Brown and Bobby Thomas were lower trash than they, themselves were.  Including me.  I can’t recall now why they believed it, though both started smoking before they learned to masturbate, most likely.

But maybe the fact both kids were considered such lowlifes explained the reason I ran around with them a while, caught those freight trains to Clovis with them.  [Riding the Rap]. 

Bobby Thomas quit school, lied about his age and joined the army when we were 9th graders.  The next time I saw him he was a different person from the buzzard-necked, shunned youngster he’d been.  I’ve often thought quitting school, for him, must have been a cheap price to pay for an opportunity to be out from under the pall of scorn the town piled on him for being whatever they thought he was.

Gene Brown, on the other hand, was still vilified as one of the historical lowlifes 30 years later when I went back for a visit.  Never saw him, but I was surely impressed with how the sign the town stamped on his back stayed through the decades.  Likely he came by it honestly.  Certainly early.

On the other hand, a lot of the higher society folk who shunned those two managed to make lousy enough choices in life to earn their later reputations as lowlifes.   And some of the kicked around, not-quite lowlifes did impressive, though maybe meaningless things with their lives.

My old friend, Fred Stevens, who spent early years as a hotshot savings and loan president, went down with the ship in the mid-80s crash, was as solid a citizen as I’ve ever known.  But he assured me I’d have thought differently if I’d known him as an S&L president.

I’m sorry I didn’t get up to Seattle for a chance to reacquaint myself with the other banker from our kidship, but after he’d chosen to live under a bridge instead of running a financial institution.  [Could you choose to live on the street?]

But I think the one I’d like most to know before I die is the one walked around the corner from a class reunion at the Cal Boykin Hotel in the early 1990s.  Reunion for the grad classes 1960-1970.  Fred Stevens told me about it.  One of the attendees walked into a bank branch a block from the Cal Boykin Hotel and stuck it up.  Walked clean away with $1500 and a well-deserved place in local legend.

I hope he’s remembered.  Wish I’d thought of it and had the brass to do it.

Old Jules

Pieces of the Past

When Keith and I were in the fifth grade one of our classmates at Central Grade School , a girl named Ruth Durett, came to school with an ornate, silver-handled dagger she’d dug up in her back yard.  It was known that Coronado had camped a while in the vicinity of Portales, and in those days Portales people had a lot of interest in Spaniards and conquistadors. 

Ruth’s dagger became an object of envy, conjecture and debate.  Billy ‘the kid’ Bonney had also hidden from the law and raised cattle for a while at Portales Springs.  Some thought the dagger might have belonged to him.

Eastern New Mexico University was right there on the edge of town.  Ruth’s parents evidently thought someone out there might be helpful identifying the age, at least, of the artifact.  Took it out there and left it for examination.  Vanished into thin air, that dagger.

The people who came here a while, lived their daily adventures and died couldn’t resist scattering their belongings all over the countryside.  Nobody paid a lot of attention to them for a longish while, but sometime during the 19th Century a fascination became an obsession with many.  Acquiring them by any means whatever became the rule of thumb, on the one hand, preserving them if they couldn’t be conveniently stolen, on the other.  The British Museum’s an example of stolen ones that eventually made their way into preservation.  Same with other museums.

And naturally there are legions of academians, anthropologists, who’ve developed protocols and rituals of method for stealing them in approved ways, vilifying anyone who loots the sites without the proper credentials.  Nowadays they have the law on their side.  Probably today, ENMU would have found a light-of-day legitimate means of stealing Ruth’s dagger.

Even so, it’s not always easy to resist picking off pieces of the past.  I described in an earlier entry how Mel inadvertently tried to carry Oola’s skull home with him.  Exploring Alley Oop’s Home Circa 1947 and how something similar got Squirelly Armijo into all manner of difficulties.  ‘Squirrelly’ Armijo Survives his own Funeral

Maybe something in all that explains the popularity of Gale’s ‘Hanging Tree’ belt buckles.  A number of years ago Gale managed to acquire a mesquite tree they’d cut down somewhere with a history of having criminals hanged from the branches.  Naturally he brought it home and over the years made belt buckles, all manner of jewelry items from it to sell at art and craft shows.

Not everyone wants a hanging tree belt buckle, but a lot of people do.  I’ve never been able to quite wrap my mind around why.  For me, having my belly button rubbing against a piece of wood that was part of a long series of dangling partici-whatchallits just doesn’t have a lot of appeal.  But I hold my pants up with galluses, anyway.  Rarely wear a belt.

As for artifacts, I was never attracted to run off with Oola’s skull, either.  Though I do wear this arrow head I figure offed my old prospector on the mountain hanging on a thong around my neck.  [Recapping the Lost Gold Mine Search]

Old Jules

The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by.

Maybe the reason I lured myself into allowing my hopes to include that 1977 C60 school bus was just a time warp slipped in briefly.  Fond memories have a way of coming back to haunt folks as they approach the jumping off place, I reckons.

A million years ago, Back Just Before Hippies Were Invented, summer, 1964, when KoolAid was just KoolAid and acid was still just something to excite a strip of litmus paper, I had my first experience driving a school bus.

As described in the post linked above, I’d gotten out of jail in Rochester, NY, walked halfway down Ohio, been picked up by a taxicab going deadhead back to Terre Haute, Indiana, after taking a drunken businessman to Columbus, OH, to see his estranged wife and kids.  He left me on a street corner in Terre Haute, where I dodged beer bottles thrown by kids the rest of the night.

Mid-morning a yellow school bus pulled across the intersection where I was standing, a car pulling a trailer pulling in behind it.  Loma Linda Academy painted on the side.  The door popped open and the driver yelled, “Do you know how to drive this thing?”

I had a middling amount of experience driving dump trucks and such when I was younger, and I was hungry enough for a ride to lie through my teeth.  “Sure thing.  Nothing to it!”  He vacated the driver seat, I took it, and we said goodbye to Terre Haute.

Turned out he was a Baptist minister moving his family to Las Vegas, New Mexico.  He’d contracted with the manufacturer to take the bus to Loma Linda, California, figuring he’d stack the seats in back, load up his belongings in the empty space, and get the hauling expenses paid for by delivering the bus.

Rick Riehardt was his name.  Young, 30ish man with a nice family.  One of several Baptist ministers I’ve met in my life I came to respect and was able to enjoy their company.  But a menace behind the steering wheel of a school bus.

The rear of the bus was loaded with his belongings, forward of that, loose seats stacked, with about half the seats still bolted to the floor, up front.  Rick had a five-gallon jug of KoolAid and a cooler loaded with Bologna sandwiches behind the driver seat.  He was “a loaf of bread and a pound of red” sort of man when it came to eating on the road.

We struck up a salubrious acquaintance as we motored along in that bus, picking up other hitch-hikers as we came to them.  Enough, at times, to fill the intact seats in the bus.  College kids, soldiers on leave or in transit, bums, beatniks, people who didn’t care to admit where they’d been, where they were going. 

One kid who’d just been down south working with SNCC and marching with emerging civil rights movement, marching, getting beat-hell-out-of by redneck sheriffs, getting treated like a stinking step-child by a lot of the blacks he was supporting.

The hitchers rotated on and off the bus as we drove southwest, Rick and my ownself being the only constants, me being the only driver.  We hadn’t gone far before Rick began cajoling me to drive the bus on to California after he’d unloaded it in Las Vegas, re-installed the seats, and he’d leave the family behind.  But I was headed for Portales, New Mexico.  Figured on getting off and heading south at Santa Rosa, well east of Las Vegas.

Eventually I agreed to it because I didn’t think there was a chance in hell he’d get the bus to California in one piece driving it himself.  That, and I was probably hallucinating on KoolAid and bologna sandwiches by that time.

We parted as friends, him offering to buy me a bus ticket back to Portales, me insisting I’d ride my thumb.  Caught a ride in Needles, CA, with four drunken US Marines in a new Mercury Station Wagon on 72 hour pass.  Headed for Colorado Springs.  All they wanted from me was for me to stay sober and awake watching for Arizona Highway Patrol airplanes.  Every time I dozed they’d catch me at it and threaten to put me back afoot.

We made it from Needles, CA, to Albuquerque alive, about 1100 miles in 12 hours.  I was ready for a rest.  Crawled into a culvert and slept until I had my head back on straight enough to stick out my thumb again.

Rick and I used to exchange post cards for a decade or so, but I lost track of him somewhere back there.  Never lost track of the KoolAid and bologna, though.  I still keep it around in my head in case I ever need it.

Old Jules

The Price of Not Expecting the Unexpected

If I were prone to regrets of things done and undone I’d regret not being more observant when something was going on around me worth observing.

I was on a business trip in a New Mexico State vehicle meeting city officials in Portales, the town where I grew up.  I visited with my old friend and classmate Fred Stevens and, we ate out together the previous night at a local restaurant.  

Next morning hanging around City Hall I chatted with my 6th grade teacher, Bill Walman, then Parks and Recreation Director, and Mack Tucker, director of something else, with whom Kurtiss Jackson and I had worked for Skeeter Jenkens on the ranch ‘way back when [ A Sobering View of Y2K].

If I’d been paying attention I might have noticed something at the meeting.  Or maybe during one of the chats with friends I mentioned the route I’d be taking home.  Maybe I’d have examined the car for something attached to it.  Years of hindsight would have been helpful.  Some of the details of the following sequence of events might be out of order, might be inaccurate by having dimmed with the years.  But it’s a fairly close portrayal of something that I still don’t understand with whatever’s been gained by the passage of time.

After the meeting I left late-morning and headed west to go home to Socorro.  Probably there was a lot I could have noticed if I’d had my senses tuned.  But I was on autopilot.

The road between Portales and Roswell seems a long one to motorists and I probably was exceeding the speed limit.  There was almost no traffic, and I didn’t notice whom I passed and what they might have been driving.

I’d consumed a lot of coffee that morning and somewhere out beyond Elida I stopped and walked to a tree along the fenceline to relieve myself.  A battered old truck pulled up behind the state car and stopped with the engine idling.  When I finished I went to his window. 

 
“Anything I can do to help you?”

The guy was dressed in a shabby bodyshop shirt, bad teeth, nasal twang accent of a local.  “Ah was just wondering why someone in a government car passed me going 80 miles an hour.”

“What makes you think I was going 80 miles an hour?   The speed limit’s 55.  If I passed you going 55 I might have been speeding to go past just to get around you.”

“What gumment agency you working for going that fast?  I jest want to know why you’re driving so fast in a state car!”

I told him to take the tag number and call it in if he had a complaint, but he went on and on with a nasal, makes-no-sense questioning. 

I got back into the car and drove on, but stopped again at Kenna.  The village had become a ghost town, but it had a lot of memories for me because Skeeter’s ranch was outside Kenna, and when Portales was ‘dry’ most Portales teenagers used to drive here to buy beer because the Portales bootleggers wouldn’t sell to them.

I’d begun to awaken a bit, though, and was wondering about the guy in the truck.  I watched as he drove past on the highway and probably considered the fact he was now ahead of me again.  A few miles out of town I passed him again, this time carefully not exceeding the speed limit by much.

Once he was out of sight far behind me the coffee was working on me again, and I pulled down a side road and behind an abandoned schoolhouse for another bladder call. 

I paused and poked around the old school yard waiting for him to go past, figuring I’d wait until he went by, let him get out of sight in front of me, then drive on to Roswell with him well ahead of me.  I don’t recall why I did this precisely.  I wasn’t alarmed yet at this point.  Maybe I was just enjoying the bits and pieces of school yard litter from so long ago.  Even the old outhouse was still standing.
 
I drove on, taking my time now.  But when I arrived at the intersection north of Roswell where traffic goes north toward Santa Fe, south into Roswell, or west into the mountains, there he was, pulled off and waiting.  He somehow knew, I suddenly realized, I’d gotten behind him.  So instead of going on I drove into Roswell and got some lunch, figuring he’d be out of my life by the time I headed west.
 

But a few miles west of Roswell, there he was again.  He let me go past, so up the road a way I pulled off and parked behind a convenience store, went inside to let him go by while I had an ice cream bar.  He did go by, and I finished my ice cream and headed west again.  But at the intersection going to Ruidoso into the mountains, or Lincoln and westward to Carrizoso there he was again. 

I drove on by, pretending to be going to Ruidoso.  I pulled over again a couple of miles up the road, out of sight of the highway and waited for him to go past for half-hour, but he didn’t.  So I figured I’d lost him, headed back through Lincoln, and there he sat in front of a museum, engine running.  I pulled in behind him, determined to confront him.

I drove out of town behind him and a few miles up the road he turned into a picnic/camping area and turned around, stopped at the entrance facing the highway.   By now I was pissed, but also damned confused and slightly alarmed.  I couldn’t understand how he could be doing this. 

I was armed and I walked up behind his car so he could see me in the rearview, but with the firearm behind me out of sight. 

“Why are you following me?”

“Ahhhm not following yew.  I just stopped here to take me a rest.”

“You waited back there at the intersection.  You waited again in Lincoln.  Why are you following me?”

“I’m not follering yew.  But I still want to know why a person in a gumment car passed me going 80 miles an hour.”  And so on.

I’m warning you.  Don’t follow me anymore.”  I shrugged it off, curious how far he’d go with this.


 
We played cat-and-mouse, me in a busy parking lot in Capitan during a thunderstorm as he went by, him waiting for me in Carrizoso.  He wanted me to know he had a fix on me. 


 I was convinced by the time I passed him on the hood of his truck west of Valley of the Fires that he was a cop… couldn’t see any way a private citizen could have the equipment it would take to do what he was doing. 

It’s a long drive through that desert between Carrizozo and Socorro and my mind was working 90 miles an hour.  As I approached Socorro I became convinced I was about to be arrested for  something. 

I called a friend with the City of Socorro and asked him to go look at my house to see if there were a bunch of cops waiting there.  There weren’t, and I didn’t see the follower until several years later in Albuquerque during a much later phase of what came to be a decade of that sort of crap.

A week later I described it to my Bureau Chief in Santa Fe.  When I’d finished telling it I asked, “Do you know of anything I ought to know?  Could this be Internal Affairs following me around for some reason?”

He thought about it frowning.  “No, I don’t think it could possibly be that.  I’d know it if any questions were being asked about you.  They’d have asked me.”  Then he looked me in the eye.  “You need to be careful about that speeding, though.  If you get stopped for speeding in a State car working for DPS it’s no questions asked.  They’ll fire you.”

What began that day lasted almost a decade.  Long after I’d left DPS and through several post-Y2K years. 

But back in the beginning, all manner of other mysterious happenings intruded into the lives of those who climbed that mountain with me, and to me.  I don’t know to this day whether the two parallel sets of happenings were connected.

Maybe if I’d been paying more attention from the beginning.

Old Jules

 

Old Sol’s Moodiness and Being a Character In a Book

In case you’re one of those people who hasn’t been staring at the sun, here’s a brief update before I tell you about an interesting tidbit in my life:  Finding myself a character in a ‘memoir’ [actually a novel] written by my step-brother published as non-fiction.  But important things first:

From http://spaceweather.com/

Here he is November 28:

As you can see, the south pole stuff’s maintaining itself, still doing what it was doing when I last mentioned it.

Here’s today.

Still something going on down there, but the grandstanding is still north of the equator.

Strangeness

SINUOUS SUNSPOTS: A line of sunspots stretching across the sun’s northern hemisphere appears to be an independent sequence of dark cores. A telescope tuned to the red glow of solar hydrogen, however, reveals something different. The sunspots are connected by sinuous filaments of magnetism:

“These sunspots writhe and squirm energetically as they rotate away from us!” says John Nassr, who took the picture on Nov. 28th from his backyard observatory in Baguio, the Philippines.

The connections suggest an interesting possibility. While each sunspot individually poses little threat for strong solar flares, an instability in one could start a chain reaction involving all, leading to a widespread eruption. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor developments.

I could write a lot about this but none of it would necessarily be true, so I’m doing my best not to have an opinion while keeping my foot in the door for afterward saying “I told you so,” if I can get by with it.

Okay.  Now for the main thrust of this post.  Before beginning the post I visited the Bobby Jack Nelson Forum on Amazon to see what was being said about him: http://tinyurl.com/7zj2la3

A while back I got an email on an old email address I rarely check anymore from a lady who wanted to discuss my step-brother, Bobby Jack Nelson.  She explained he’d offed himself in a nursing home in San Saba, Texas, and that she’d had a long-term relationship with him. 

But Bob had told her a lot of things she’d begun to think were lies.  She just wanted to bounce some of them off me because she knew he and I had associated considerably during the 1980s and early 1990s when he was writing Keepers – A Memoir. http://tinyurl.com/d82tcsk.

 To be honest the whole thing qualified as strange enough to keep life worth living.  Bob and I saw quite a bit of one another during those years, and I knew he was writing a novel about, among other things, his childhood in Portales, New Mexico.  I considered him a friend.

 But one day in the late-1990s [as soon as the novel had been accepted by a publishing house, I later discovered] while I was living in Socorro, New Mexico, I got a call from Bob.  He didn’t mention the novel, but he said he was going off to South America and wouldn’t be returning to the US, so I wouldn’t be hearing any more from him.

I got reports from various mutual acquaintances they’d seen him in Texas here and there, so I figured he just wanted to break off our association, which was puzzling, but okay by me.  Then I got a call from a Dallas reporter asking what I thought of the book, which I hadn’t been aware was published.

 Naturally, I bought and read a copy.  Suddenly it was clear to me why the reporter had called me, but also why Bob had suddenly taken a powder.  My first reaction to reading it would have been to trip up to that mountain town he was staying in while writing it and beat hell out of him.

I was honestly dumbfounded the man could bring himself to publish such a pack of lies as non-fiction.  But a person would have had to have been there, or remembered what he’d said back earlier had happened, to recognize there was barely a grain of truth in any of it.

Gradually I cooled down and just forgot about Bob until the lady contacted me to tell me he was dead, and how he’d died.

We exchanged a lot of emails over several months, and it was a journey of mutual discovery.  But the discoveries came in the form of Bob being an even worse liar than I’d have thought possible knowing already he was an accomplished liar.  And for her, not knowing he was a liar at all, I suppose it provided her some closure to find the man she loved, somewhat idolized, was in awe of, was not the person she’d believed him to be.

 Oddly enough, I think Bob tried to warn me a number of times about himself.  Several times he told me over the years that he was a liar, but I didn’t grasp the extent of what he was saying.  Other times he told me he wasn’t what I thought he was, and I shrugged that off, too.

But what came as a shock to me, first with the book, and later with what the lady told me, was that Bob absolutely despised me.  That, I’d have never guessed during the years I wasted pieces of my life associating with him in what seemed a mutually warm, friendly relationship.

Live and learn.

Old Jules

 

Stolen Horses and Baby Rattlers – The Anatomy of a Bully – Part 4

This is all leading up to the summation of Old Jules’ Unified Bullying Theory. 

Hopefully this will be my last buildup segment before trying to summarize something I’d call a theory about bullying, supported by the interactions of animals here and childhood memories that included plenty on the subject.

My childhood friend, Keith, was reflecting on how he remembered the two of us as kids recently when we met in Fredericksburg.  Fiddle-Footed Naggings and Songs of the Highway.  This pretty well dated Keith’s first clear recollections of me to the sophomore year of high-school, though we’d actually been in classes together since the 4th grade.  He remembered the two of us as being a couple of nerds, getting pushed around a lot. 

 

What I’m riding there just about says anything needs saying.  That kid I was at that stage of my life was no bully in the making.

The picture with my two sisters might be about the time I was getting chased home by Floren and his brothers.  At that point there was nobody I was likely to bully.  Anyone can see the kid needs chasing home and a few beatings on the way can’t do anything but help. 

But by the time this picture was taken I was hanging out at the school cafe with the Lindsey kids, smoking, and everyone knowing who was tougher than whom else.  In those days any kid who could ride bareback was probably in danger of doing some bullying, too.  I’m guessing all those kids from Lindsey Grade School could ride bareback.  

I was bareback because the horse was stolen, though the person taking the picture almost certainly didn’t know it.

I was keeping three hogs for an FFA project in one of the buildings in the background, though the place was otherwise abandoned.  I kept the horse there a couple of weeks before things got too hot, then took it out to the dirt road between this place and the neighborhood I was living in and slapped it on the rump to run it off.  But the owner and authorities had already decided it hadn’t just strayed.   A while later that picture glued me to the missing horse.

Sometimes I still wonder how the family adults could have been so damned stupid in those days.  Where the hell did they THINK I got that horse?  On the other hand, a copy of the picture became a small piece of a lot more damning evidence of how I’d been spending my adolescent years.  By the time I was caught it filled up a corner of the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office. 

Somewhere between this picture and the one above it things went south.  Coincidentally, I was attending Central Grade School when the picture was taken, where I considered everyone rich kids, which they weren’t.  But two years in a row I had teachers famous for their bullying. 

One, the fifth grade teacher, gave me a spanking in front of the class at least once every day that year.  Me, and any other kids who admitted when they were asked the first day of classes whether their parents would give them a whipping at home if they were told they got one in school.   I didn’t realize until a couple of decades later it was a ruse to find out which kids wouldn’t tell their parents what was happening.

I used  to want to go back to the graveyard in that town and spit and puke on his grave until a lot later in life than you might guess.

That’s me on the right at the pinnacle of my hellion/bullying times.  Even that snake and the baby rattlers we found got me into a peck of trouble.  Within a couple of months of the time this picture was taken I was being held in the Roosevelt County Jail for a couple of weeks waiting for them to decide whether I needed to get the rest of my education at the State Boys Reformatory at Springer, New Mexico.

They decided to keep me around on juvenile probation instead.   That ended the bullying completely.  If I’d looked sideways at anyone, or let myself get provoked into a fight I’d have been in Springer in a heartbeat.  It was open season on me for anyone who felt the urge to kick someone around, and there was no shortage of those who did. 

Here’s a year later while I was working with Kurtiss and some other youngsters for Skeeter Jenkens.    A Sobering View of Y2K

That fall would be the school year Keith almost certainly remembers.  Just another nerd.  A peaceful, inconspicuous nerd doing his best to stay out of reform school.  Midway through the Junior year it was clear I had to get out of that town, and I did.  Nobody at all was sorry to see me gone.

The next bullying post is going to pull all this together with the animal bullying into Old Jules Unified Bullying Theory.

Old Jules