Written by John McElligott
The only class I went to everyday was typing…. and boy, I could type fast! Problem was, I could not (and still can’t) spell. I got a 60 word per minute pin at the end of the year.
I, along with WG, Conrad, Gene Clark and many others, skipped classes almost everyday. I quit going to History class except for exams, and made a B in the course. I had to “wing it” in Science, but managed to pass the first semester. Swimming started and Coach Fogelsong said we had to attend all classes and keep a C average to stay on the team. The workouts were hard, and were 2 times a day, one in the AM and the other started at 3 pm in the afternoon. We were worn out at the end of the day.
I made the A team and was teamed up with Jody Givins, who also played foot ball and was the younger brother of Lane Givins. Jody showed me the “dolphin kick”. Boy, was that a mistake since I soon started to do the double dolphin kick and could out swim most of the freestyle guys!
This was the beginning of my dedication to swimming. George McBride was on the team for a few months then went away to Military School. My best friend returned for the summer of ’62, but disappeared until our college road trip (that was a disaster to say the least). John Chesney was on the MHS team of 1961 along with Gere Gage, Denton Wiggington (often confused with Glen Whittington MHS 61).
We swam Odessa High and I had my first near choking to death race ever. We came in second to Odessa, but it was a dual meet!
WG and Gene would not let me drink a beer during the season and that became a permanent pattern. That spring, when swimming was over, the Graduation Party was starting a 7pm for the class of 1961. WG, Gene Clark, and I planned a party. First we skipped school and followed a Coor’s Beer Truck until he stopped at a 7/11 store. The driver loaded the dolly and headed for the door. Gene grabbed 3 cases of cold Coors and we took off. Later we made a house call to one our classmates who always left the front door open. We took a couple bottles of clear liquor and that’s the last I remember.
WG will have to fess up on the the details on why I woke up in the city jail. A big prisoner was passing out cinnamon buns, but I declined. Gene and WG were no where to be found. The officer questioned me and I knew nothing. At noon, I told them I needed to go to work at Half Park at 1 pm. So… they told me the story and I said that I only remember the beer and the bottles of clear liquor. They let me go and I walked to Half Park…. for my first hangover at work.
My mom and dad made me live with my brother and his wife, and I worked nights at his office loading and unloading air conditioners on weekend nights.
That night in jail was a life changer, and the end of my criminal career. I did not see WG or Gene for the next year or more. But… you can never hide from WG!