Just for fun: High school vignettes — #AtoZChallenge 2023

J is for Just for fun: High school vignettes Tenth of 26 posts in the April 2023 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge. Theme: Endwell: My High School Years — adding my story to the family history mix. Please join me on the journey.

There were many just-for-fun teen activities that happened in between my major Maine-Endwell high school moments. Here is a sampling of just a few of them.

Fine dining

Binghamton Press ad, June 11, 1968.

About the time I hit high school, fast food was just getting its start. Henry’s Hamburgers, a Chicago-based chain, opened right near my house on the George F. Highway in Endwell, N.Y. Once we teens got our driver’s licenses, it became a regular stop for 15-cent burgers, milkshakes, and fries – and I went there on dates or just to hang out.

On Saturday nights, some of my coffeehouse crew would meet up at the all-night Dunkin’ Donuts on the Vestal Parkway. For little money, we could sit for hours talking culture and politics while burning holes in Styrofoam coffee cups with lit cigarettes (and inhaling who knows what chemicals in the process!).

Then there was the Roscoe Diner. My school organized an annual bus trip to a Shakespeare Festival in the Catskills. The plays were educational, but even better was the stop afterwards at the Roscoe Diner on New York’s Route 17 – a landmark diner that dubbed itself “world famous,” with way better burgers than at Henry’s.

The “world famous” Roscoe Diner was a fine dining stop during high school bus trips to the Shakespeare Festival in the Catskills.

Joy riding

I’m not sure how it got organized, but once a few of us got our driver’s licenses the question became, “Where should we go?”

That’s how I found myself in a car full of female classmates headed to nearby Apalachin (pronounced Apple-achin’) to see Joe Barbara’s house, where a major Mafia meeting was raided in 1957.

I suspect a local news story in 1967, on the tenth anniversary of the raid, had piqued our interest and prompted the joy ride.

Aerial view of the Joe Barbara compound in Apalachin, N.Y., where a major Mafia meeting was raided in 1957. Somehow, female classmates and I ended up driving to see the place ten years later during senior year. Photo: Life in the Finger Lakes

My maternal grandparents Tony and Liz (Stoutner) Laurence – aka Gramps and Boom – were responsible for other joy rides as I learned to drive (more in letter L). While my dad was teaching me stick shift on a two-cylinder Fiat 500, Gramps handed me the keys to his standard-shift pickup truck and had me try it on the long driveway at their Altamont, N.Y., farm. Whoa, did that truck have power!

On another visit, after I got my license, Boom suggested a drive to Saratoga, N.Y., and handed me the keys to her huge station wagon. Yikes! I’d previously only done local driving. But she talked me out of the driveway, onto Route 20, and off we went – headed north. By the time we got back, I felt like a veteran behind the wheel.

Romantic interests

I had a couple of romantic interests in high school, too. But I was headed to college and my sights were set on getting out of town, so my dating relationships were just for fun rather than serious.

My first boyfriend from my neighborhood, we’ll call him College Guy, was a couple of years older – so he made his escape to higher learning before I did. We mostly had a letter-writing relationship, with some dating when he was back home — but our worlds were so different that we eventually broke up to go our separate ways.

Math tutoring paved the way to romance during my senior year. Graphic: Pixabay

Then there was Junior, who was in the class below me (you may remember him from my Birthday and Homecoming posts). I think we met when I was assigned, as an Honor Society member, to tutor him in math.

Tutoring was done at school, but Junior and I were usually alone in the classroom or study hall and got to know each other between tricky algebra problems. Alas, since I was leaving for college after graduation, that relationship was also just for fun and did not last past my freshman year of college.

So, there you have it, fine dining, joy rides, and romantic interests – some of the just-for-fun activities that rounded out my Endwell, N.Y., high school years.

Up next, K is for Knights of Columbus Dances and Curl Free. Please stop back! Meanwhile, please visit the other Wordless Wednesday bloggers: Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

© 2023 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

22 thoughts on “Just for fun: High school vignettes — #AtoZChallenge 2023”

  1. On Sunday evenings, after our youth church group meetings, we’d hop in the cars of those who had them and head down to Mel’s Drive-in in Berkeley for hamburgers and fries, milkshakes and cokes. Then came the “joy” rides on the way home, only ours sound a little different than your joy rides. We’d play “Bumper-tag” and “Hide & Seek” in our cars laughing and having a great time. Good thing my parents never knew about it! When I thought about it years later, though, it made me shiver to think of what could have happened playing those dangerous games. Even so, I still remember it being a lot of fun though I’d be scared to death doing it today! Innocent dumb times back then!

    1. Yikes, that’s way more exciting than anything I did — and as you point out, dangerous. But teens never see it that way. Thank goodness we both made it to our adult years without mishaps!

  2. I enjoyed your stories of carefree road trips. I can remember many similar places just because of the diners or roadhouses where my family would always stop. And once I got my license I certainly had a few car-related adventures, but nothing like going to see a mafioso historic site! Though now that I think about it, on one long cross-country trip I stopped at the Louisiana road sign marking Bonnie & Clyde’s demise.

    1. I think the trip to Joe Barbara’s was more a function of living in a small town where there were few novel things to do. Congrats on getting to that Bonnie and Clyde location — everyone should have at least one unusual travel destination on their lifetime itinerary!

  3. I remember that we used to go to White Castle for hamburgers once in a very great while. But when we went to visit my mother’s best high school friend on the other side of Detroit, we always went to Big Boy drive in for burgers on the way home. They brought them out to your car. So novel 🙂 we thought.

    1. Great memories! Those were the days when burgers and gas were served up for drivers. Now, sadly, we’re on our won.

  4. A very different experience from my teen years until I went to uni (college). It’s good to see you had so much fun Molly.

    1. Some of what I did could be filed under “trying to keep busy” in my small, suburban town. Now that I’m writing it up for A to Z, though, I’m surprised at how much I actually did during my HS years.

  5. Your High School,experiences sounded such fun and very different from mine in the UK. We moved around with my father’s work and so I was at three High Schools – the first two girls only – first one my favourite with a good range of fun extra curricula activities; second dull and very academic; third co-ed – and very different !

    1. Wow, three different high schools — that has to have been difficult. My dad transferred to a new location after I finished high school, so alas my younger siblings had the interrupted school experience. Meanwhile, I’d been with the same classmate crew since second grade — so there was more mixing and matching of crowds as we changed interests, but my location stayed the same.

  6. I had a similar experience with high school romance. Not all of my mother’s advice was helpful in high school, but the bit about remembering that I would be go away to go to college, so it wasn’t fair on anyone to get too serious about a boy was right on target.

    1. Good for your mom for advising you on this. Neither of my parents weighed in, but I somehow sensed that it wasn’t wise to get too serious before heading to college.

  7. Hmmm, when my father and I visited Fairfield, Iowa (where an aunt and uncle and their three children lived) in 1968, I remember eating at a Henry’s Hamburgers. Not sure it was part of the Henry’s chain – and I wonder how one of their restaurants ended up in the Triple Cities. I’ve eaten at the Roscoe Diner several times and what did I eat there but burgers. You definitely had fun growing up. Continuing to enjoy your posts.

    1. Apparently, there was also a Henry’s Hamburgers in Binghamton during my HS years, but we always went to the Endwell one. I’d also be curious to know how the Chicago chain ended up there. Glad to hear you enjoyed the Roscoe Diner!

  8. Molly,

    Your high school years sound fun and carefree, as they should be for a young girl. I looked at the vintage Dunkin Donuts ad and think WOW, they surely aren’t the same place as that nor the early 80s when we discovered them for the first time. Thanks for sharing such wonderful memories. Happy A2Zing, my dear!

    1. Thanks, Cathy! So true about Dunkin’ Donuts — I loved this ad for the Byron reference, which appeared aimed at luring local Harpur College/Binghamton University students for all-night studying 🙂 Happy A2Z to you as well!

  9. A wonderful slice of history. Beautiful.

    Thank you for joining the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.

    Have a fabulous Wordless Wednesday. ♥

  10. Sounds carefree, interesting and fun, just the way the final school years should be. I think it’s lovely that you called your grandmother ‘Boom’ – how unique and special!

    Here from the A-Z and enjoyed your post very much. All the best for the challenge.

    1. Thanks for visiting! Boom came from my mispronunciation of “Grandma” as “Booma” — definitely unique and seemed to fit her personality, too.

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