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Author Topic: JAGUAR, THE CHICK GETTER  (Read 1376 times)

Offline Infantryman

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« on: October 16, 2010, 01:30:37 am »
While I was growing up my closest friend in the world was my double first cousin Jesse Cornish. We were born eight months apart and hung out together for the rest of our time until we were first separated by the call of my military duty and then by marriage, both his and mine.

Jesse was the only boy to Jess and Sylvia Cornish, however, being that our families were so close, it was nearly like he had 10 brothers and sisters. Jesse was super athletic and while he he was shorter than I he outdid me in nearly every sport. Jesse was fearless and used to jump out of trees that would break a normal person's leg. I blame him for my bad knees and sore back that I had all through high school from trying to follow him around.

When we arrived at adolescence in the 60s Jesse was awarded some of the finest cars to drive by his father. Uncle Jess often came home with some of the most oddball but beautiful automobiles you've never seen. He'd bring home a Grand Prix for example that would have features that would surprise a Pontiac dealer. Features that you would only see on a higher-end car like the Cadillac. Plush beautiful awesome one of a kind automobiles. Sometimes, Jesse would be the lucky recipient of one of these vehicles.

Conversely, I would be driving a 47 Plymouth that I overhauled myself, did body work on, and painted on my own. Since Jesse and I hung out together we nearly always took his car to Mankato as his cars were much more fun. In the 50s and 60s and 70s the car was a sex symbol. The kind of car you drove was thought to be a direct correlation to the grace and beauty of a girl you dated. Jesse and I got lots of stares as we cruised old Front Street in Mankato, Minnesota. We cruised up and down that street in the most beautiful cars blaring out music such as Surfin Bird by The Trashmen, songs by the Beach Boys and later, I Want to Hold Your Hand, by the Beatles, Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison, Glad all Over, by the Dave Clark Five, and many many others.

One of our favorite haunts was the Mankato Ballroom where we heard such greats as Lou Christie, Paul and Paula, Dick and Dee Dee, Conway Twitty, The Under Beats, The Gestures and the Trashmen. We were at the end of the Surf Craze in popular music and at the start of the British invasion. The Trashmen were singing their swan song as the Beatles were fast approaching. I remember the last performance I ever saw the Trashmen, the crowd kept requesting Beatle songs. You could see the hurt on the faces of the Trashmen but finally the lead guitarist said over the microphone, “Okay, we're going to play something by…… that other band," referring to the Beatles as if they were an equal.” They played Twist And Shout. That was the last time I ever saw that band play and within two weeks I never heard them on the radio again.

I felt bad for them but I soon forgot about them. In 1965 I enlisted in the United States Army and was off to Fort Leonard Wood. During my initiation there I found out that my father's insistence that I learned to overhaul cars and his forcing me against my will to overhaul my 47 Plymouth actually kept me out of the infantry. We took a battery of tests in the first few days, and when I got to the mechanical part I could not believe my good fortune. The photographs with big letters saying, "Identify these parts," were photographs of a 1947 Plymouth Flathead six-cylinder engine. I scored 100% and I was off for Eustis, Virginia for aircraft engine school. After my training I was sent to Fairbanks, Alaska.

What inspired me to write this story is something I saw traveling down the street yesterday in Lakeport, California. Coming my way was the 1955 humpy little car exactly like the one Jesse drove for one or two years. It was the best pickup car we ever had while attending high school. It was in 1955 all white four-door Jaguar. Jesse's 1955 Jaguar had all leather seats, plenty of room, and Burrell 100% wooden dashboard. Guys and girls alike turned their heads and stared as we drove by and would accelerate to come up beside us to find out what kind of car it was and if we wanted to race. Of course we never did, it wasn't a racing car, it just purred along like a kitten attracting women.

Just after I turned 21 years old I returned on leave from the military. Jesse and I were finally old enough to get into the Rasthkeller bar. I had a couple of drinks and begin talking to a couple of girls. One was very attractive and shorter than the other. I still remember her name, Judy Wolf. We seem to hit it off pretty good and I asked her out on a date. She accepted.

Here I found a problem. Any good clothes I might own were still at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. Brother Jerry as usual came to my rescue and lent me a very nice tan corduroy jacket with leather ellipses on the elbows. I had a decent pair of brown pants and wingtip shoes. After a good bath and splashing on some Jade East, I was ready to go. I drove my dad's car over to Jesse's place in Garden City and off we went to cruise Mankato. Jesse was dating a beautiful tall girl with chiseled features and white blonde hair. Her name was Marilyn. We picked Marilyn up first then went to pick up Judy. We saw a movie, I can't remember what movie but during it I picked up Judy's hand. She withdrew it very quickly. I didn't think I was being very fresh and felt kind of strange. It started going downhill even more after that. She started giving me smart Alec answers to any question I might ask. After the movie we went to the Rathskeller bar and it wasn't long before Judy wasn't talking to me at all.

It had been sprinkling all night long, however when we left the bar that night it was a downright monsoon. I wanted to get Judy home as fast as possible and get home. I guess Jesse hadn't noticed that she had been giving me the cold shoulder all night long.

She lived directly behind Old Main on the lower campus of Mankato State College. I think it's called Sixth Street. They must have been putting in some kind of pipeline down in the street and there was a 3 foot wide by 6 feet deep ditch dug up about 2 feet away from the curb along the entire side of her street. Right in front of her house to the sidewalk was a 1 1/2 inch piece of plywood, 4 x 8' rectangle laid across the ditch for us to walk. There was no reason for Jesse and Marilyn to get wet and as I walked Judy to the door, Jesse rolled down his window and yelled, “I'm going to take Marilyn home, I'll be right back to get you.”

Judy asked, “What does he think he's doing?”

I answered, “He's going to take Marilyn home, and then come back and get me. I'm sorry.”

When we got inside Judy took off her coat, threw it on the couch and said, “So this is your little game, huh? He takes off and you think you're going to get a little before he gets back!”

I said emphatically, “No that's not what were doing. Not at all. I didn't know he was going to do this.”

Judy left me standing in the living room and she went into the kitchen and soon pots and pans were being banged about and washed and she was totally ignoring me. I yelled, “Hey! I'll just wait out here on the porch.” There was no answer from the kitchen.

I stood out on the porch getting pretty cold on the chilly fall evening wishing Jesse would get back soon. In what seemed like hours when in actuality it was only 30 minutes, I heard for Jesse's car through the rain. I looked out the window and saw him park on the other side of the street. I ran out the door waving at him and ran toward his car.

Jesse described a scene like this. I saw you run out of the building so I looked down and started playing with my radio trying to find a decent station. When I looked up again, you had disappeared. I thought to myself, “Why is he picking a time like this in the rain to play a silly game of I'm going to sneak up and scare you or something.” Jesse then locked all the doors as he figured I'd be up to one of my old cousinly tricks. He kept scanning trying to see me in the darkness. Suddenly he saw one muddy arm, come up out of the ground. Then he saw the second muddy arm come up out of the ground. Then he saw a very black head appear from out of the ditch. He thought it looked like a corpse coming out of the grave.

What I saw on my end was Jesse's car, then suddenly everything went black. While looking at Jesse's lights and reflection off the wet street I had forgotten about the ditch. I dove in, hit the opposite side and bounced down to the bottom in one to 2 feet of slimy mud. When I pushed myself up with my arms I could barely get my face above the mud. When I finally struggled to the top and showed my face over the edge, Jesse was already out of the Jaguar laughing so hard that he virtually fell down in the wet street and was rolling around screaming. He Laughed, “Greg that's got to be one of the funniest &^%&*@ things I've ever seen in my life." Jesse always was sensitive like that. He was kind enough to lend me a hand and help me get out but nothing more than a hand. He looked at me like I had leprosy. He said, “I'm not letting you into my car like that, there's just no way. Let's see if Judy will let you clean up at her place.”

I said Jesse, “You don't understand she's been a bitch to me all night," but I knew I had to go back in there and ask her.”

I don't know how we even spoke we were both laughing so hard but Jesse said between guffaws, “You have no choice. You're not getting in my car like that.”

We knocked on Judy's door and it was quite a while before she answered, wearing a robe. I stepped past her and stood in her foyer and asked, “Where's your bathroom I need to clean up?”

She said, “it's upstairs but you can't use it. You're too filthy. What happened to you, what did you do?”

I was laughing hysterically still as was Jesse. We couldn't control our laughter at all. In fact we had a hard time standing up. I disregarded what Judy said and brushed by herwalked in the direction of the steep stairway. I was laughing so hard that I never realized I was putting my hands on her walls with every step I took to steady myself. I washed up and left her bathroom a total mess. She was still screaming as we walked down the door and noticed the big filthy hand prints on the wall which only made us laugh harder.

We laughed all the way home, but I was concerned about what my brother Jerry would think about his brand-new beautiful corduroy jacket. It was ruined and I doubted I had enough money to pay him for. To my surprise when I told Jerry what happened to it he about fell to the floor laughing. He never asked me to pay for the jacket and you never brought it up again. He was such a good brother.

I don't think that Jaguar lasted more than a few weeks after that but we'd had plenty of other good times in it before I went into the military. I remember they took it up to a European mechanic on top of the hill off third street to be overhauled, and the mechanic never started working on it. I don't know if Jesse ever sold the body or if the car just went away. I bet it would be worth a fortune in good condition today.

When I was home two years ago, I stopped behind Old Main and looked up at that house and the street and started laughing remembering all the wonderful times that Jesse and I had going to Friday night dances at Loyola high school and Sunday nights at the Kato ballroom. Nearly every one of our adventures brings a smile to my face.

“Help a man when he's in trouble and he will remember when he's in trouble again.”

Offline Abzstrak

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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2010, 07:40:07 am »
nice story man :)