Bill Birt’s Stolen Racks

There is the story of BILL BIRT’S STOLEN RACKS, stolen, partially, because his parents’ big ass car with the big ass trunk containing the big ass cardboard box (for Billy’s little friends’ wet gear), with big blue block letters spelling out *“Kotex,” was parked in the gravel parking lot, not visible from the beach or water, set aside for those who didn’t have military, military dependent, or San Onofre Surfing Club status, and how I was selected to ride back to Fallbrook with him, and, for once, I got to ride shotgun; and, because there was really only AM radio in cars, even fancy big ass ones, in those days, we got to listen to a station that kept playing hit **popular songs of the day in a tight rotation, and, of course, I’d sing along. And we had to drive around, down Highway 101 (there also wasn’t an I-5, at least on in the ‘slaughter alley’ section between San Clemente and Oceanside) because we would be borrowing the racks off a vehicle at Phillip Harper’s family’s house, south of town. “Closer that way,” Bill said; We all agreed.

The most particularly galling (to Bill) song contained lyrics including ***“Skip-a-rope, skip-a-rope… Daddy hates your mama, mama hates your dad; last night you should have heard the fight they had… skip-a-rope……”

So, it was about half an hour or so, down to Oceanside, another twenty-five minutes, Bill driving faster than his parents would like, on to Phillip’s house, a brief explanation to Phillip’s brother ****Clintswell about why we were there, gathered some drinks and snacks, and then we retraced our route, radio going the whole time.  So, probably seven or eight opportunities to sing along, window down, Bill not participating at all.Image

Yes, Bill Birt did complain, bitterly, to the other surfers, guarding our boards, when we returned to San Onofre. “That’s what you get for having a radio, Bill,” one of the two other surfers, either Phillip or Ray Hicks said. “He’d sing anyway,” the other one said. “Maybe not that song.” They all nodded, I nodded, Bill opened the big ass trunk, pulled out the replacement racks.

No radio on the way back. It didn’t matter. I was asleep in the big ass back seat.

*The Kotex box wasn’t as big as illustrated, the license plates would have been black. **”Skip-a-Rope” was a hit in 1967 for Henson Cargill. I know; I totally had to look it up. ***People nowadays don’t really believe that we had to (got to) listen to the Beatles and Frank Sinatra on the same station. Yeah, I know some Sinatra lyrics. ****Since I met Maxwell (or Clint) right about the time his mother changed his name to the other, after his father, a fighter pilot, killed in Korea, who may never have seen his second son, I called him Clintswell, and now can’t remember his proper name. I’ll guess Maxwell, since I also called him Smaxwell. He’ll show up again in other non-San Onofre tales

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