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Cruising

Photo Credit: Clark Jolkovski

My memories of my time at Yorktown are simple. First let me say I was at best just an average student. By my senior year I only took 3 classes to graduate and left school at lunchtime. I had a part time job 3 or 4 days a week at Raleigh's in the Landmark Center. 

The most important memories are the relationships developed that have lasted a lifetime. My girlfriends were always from a different high school that I met in other places. I found it reduced gossip.  So no Yorktown love stories. 

The memories are cruising either in my 54 Ford and my parents 64 Chrysler Newport. I was well known by Arlington Police. Pulled over one night with 9 guys in my 54 Ford and 2 cases of beer that were bought at the back door of the Chinese restaurant at Lee Hwy and George Mason. The officer made us poor the beer out and 4 people had to walk home. We were on Williamsburg Blvd so it wasn't that bad. I still remember the people in the car. Mike Leinbach, Richard Barber, Walt Palmer, Andy Parks, Chris Gram, John Velona, Steve Perry, Ronnie Allen. The other 54 Ford story is when Mike Leinbach, Steve Perry and I were dropping off Zane at her house after school. I walked Zane to the front door. All of a sudden I heard the car moving and I ran and jumped on the back of the car thinking my buddies were going to leave me. I then got up on the roof. I was putting my hands on the windshield trying to get them to stop. They hit the brakes and I went flying, bounced of the front hood and onto the pavement in front of the car as it was coming over me. It stopped at my chest. Needless to say Zane was screaming her brains out. Soon the 54 Ford was replaced with a 69 VW Bug. One of my other cruising stories takes place in the 64 Chrysler when school let out in the afternoon. No matter which car we were all in, it was about singing rock and roll to WEAM and WPGC. Zane Phillips, Elaine Pierce, Andy Cheek, John Ruch were some of the regulars. There was the time we fit 13 people in the Chrysler. 2 in the trunk if I remember correctly. The Chrysler had push button drive and was perfect for putting down rubber. Mike Leinbach wrote a descriptive essay on one such burning rubber incident for a class and got an A on it.   The Chrysler was replaced by my mom's 70 Torino. What a car. A fabulous 6x9 4 speaker stereo system that my brother and I nick named the sex mobile. 

Of course we didn't have cell phones then. So how did we find out where the parties were? Cruising Lee Hwy from Tops then Ginos, McDonalds and Hot Shoppes. To this day I'm not sure who had the best onion rings. Tops or Hot Shoppes. 

We grew up in a special time. We came through the Civil Rights Movement. Many of us were on our trip to NYC when we finished Williamsburg the day after Martin Luther King was shot and the riots started. Soon after Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. Kent State and of course the Vietnam War. We had a lot of opinions and a lot of discussions. We learned to respect each other and the right to have your own opinion. This is the most important lesson I learned in Yorktown. The amazing teachers we had far to many to mention here gave us an incredible foundation to be contributors to society and not takers. 

Over 50 years have now passed and we thought we would never see this day. It was so far away. I know for me it went by in the blink of an eye. 

Hope to see many of my classmates from 1971 on June 11th, 2022

Wes



  

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