Oh my, where do we go tonight?

portland

      May 15th, 1968.

     I am 17 and homefree/less, who knows? I have always slept in fetal position so the back seat of the 57′ Pontiac was quite comfy. Rob is shorter so he gets the front seat whenever he could’nt meet up with Diane, usually often enough.

     A month earlier I had set a personal best on being held at Whittenburg. That morning Rob came running back to the car after exiting Diane’s bedroom, hopping the 4 ft Tholl fence. He wasnt being chased, just hyper—a word that wasn’t in vouge–, he had lots of energy.

     He was also Dyslecic, another term not yet understood. He was smart, funny and not nearly as handsome as me. Rob was an expert ‘shade tree mechanic’, if his dyslexia had been known about, he could very well have been a NASCAR lead mechanic; he liked greasy hands, and abhorred ties.

     As he is getting into the car and I am pulling a blanket off, a RPD car rolls around the corner. An few questions, and 45 minutes later we hear the clang of the door at the Hall. An hour later, Kenny, Robs dad shows up. Somehow he managed to get me out too, so mom didn’t know. No Harm Done. It takes us an hour to walk back to the car, but the rest of the day has been cruising.

     I was actually living at home most of the time; if I got home and went to my room and stayed quiet, my stepfather would never now. At about curfew I began walking home up Coleman, when I was pulled over, once again by RPD, it could have been the same two cops. I once again find myself at Whittenburg, this time I spend the night, the bunk wasn’t that bad. I didn’t want then to make mom come down until the morning; which she did and I was once again a free child.

      OK. Back to May 15th, 1968.

      Diane now has her own house, a small bungalow, near Mary S. Doten; it will be condemned six months later, along with many others in that area. I-80, you know.

      Diane tells Rob to bring home a quart of milk, and a loaf of bread, as we leave in the morning. Rob and I have $30.00 between us. We head out and stop at the Texas Independent Gas station, and fill up the tank, 30 gallons = $10.00 + .20 cents for two quarts of recycled oil in slippery glass containers. Recycled wasn’t a word then, this was old drain oil poured through a screen and a magnet, that would pull all of the shaved metal. It worked.

      We start the car and look at each other. Ten hours later we are headed north up I-5. To my left is the glittering skyline of Portland Oregon. It is not surprising that there is a light rain magnifying the glitter of the lights. Four hours later we have arrived in Kent, Washington, at the apartment of Rob’s cousin. I hate Rob’s cousin, he’s nuts; a Hells Angels candidate, that Sonny Barger himself said no. We stay there a couple of days; I managed to avoid the cousin. We spend a day loading corn at some farm for a day, and headed south, back to Portland.

      We arrive in the morning, and spend two hours driving through towns and crossing all the bridges. Within a year I would be trolling underneath the Hawthorne and a block away from the Burnside Bridge. I was enchanted. This and SF were the biggest cities I ever lived in. Portland is #1. We are broke now but a visit to the blood bank cures that problem. Two hours lying down, bag full of blood sucked out of a vein, the plasma removed, and then the blood cells pumped back into your arm. We now have enough to get back to Reno. 10 hours later rob pulls into the Keystone 7-11. He returns five minutes later and we head to Diane’s.

      As we enter the house for the first time in two weeks, Rob hands her a small brown bag; inside is a loaf of bread, and a quart of milk.

      Rob was smart, despite his dyslexia, and funny, but sometimes he was a complete DICK.

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