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Tennessee or Bust - Part 1

Posted by Admin on June 9, 2015 at 5:05 PM

June, 1958. I was living with my dad, Carl McCormick and my stepmother Ethel in Torrance, California. I had just completed my second year at El Camino College. I had seen all I wanted to see of Southern California for the time being, and was thinking how good it would be to see naturally growing green grass again. At the same time my brother Mick had just finished boot camp at the San Diego Naval Base and had hitched a ride up the coast to Torrance to see us before heading back to Tennessee on leave. He got me homesick enough until we made it up to drive back home in my car.

The thought never occurred to us that my car might not have three thousand miles left in it. It was a little metallic faded Prussian blue Ford coupe that Pop had bought for me to drive to school. I had just put in a set of rings and inserts, and the motor sounded all right to me. The crankshaft was pretty worn out, but I put in two or three sizes of rings, just to make sure I got a good fit somewhere. Maybe I wasn’t much of a mechanic, but the thing ran, at least. At our age, and in our state of mind, that’s all we required.

Somehow my Uncle Rex got wind of our plans. His thirteen-year-old mama’s boy, Leon, had been whining to go back east to spend the summer with grandma. Rex was overjoyed to find a free ride headed that way. It was all right with us. Leon was pretty skinny and wouldn’t take up much room. A kid like that couldn’t have much luggage. You could read relief all over Rex’s face when we agreed to take Leon along. That should have told us something.

We got the car packed, and ended up with about a square foot of space in the back seat to play with. Pop must have been making some mental calculations, because just as I was wondering what we could cram into that tiny space, Pop snaps his fingers and goes, “Hey! I bet you could cram Jackie right into that spot!” Jackie Philip, our brother from Pop’s second marriage, was about nine or ten, and had been shipped out to sunny California to spend his summer vacation with his dad. Now Pop saw his chance to ship him back.

“You boys won’t mind Jackie riding along, will you?” Pop said, not waiting for an answer. “His mama’s ready for him to come on home, and I wouldn’t want to trust him on a bus…”

Didn’t want to trust him on a bus? Anyway, we added one more to our passenger list. I never asked Pop and Rex about it, but I bet that summer went down as the peacefullest time they ever had. They got rid of all four of us boys in one fell swoop.

To Be Continued............

 

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