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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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