Feb 19, 2020
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Teen Years / Young Adult
In 1954, my family moved to Hyattsville, MD. This would’ve been my senior year at Ridgeley High School. I graduated from Western High School in 1955. I have always considered myself a Ridgeley Nighthawk, going to reunions until I couldn’t attend anymore.
I went from a class size of about 35 students in WV, to over 300 in MD. What a shock! In West Virginia, we never had algebra…in MD, when I went to sign up for classes, there wasn’t any room left for me to enroll in Algebra. So I asked for Geometry, but, they said I couldn’t take it since I hadn’t had algebra. I couldn’t go with out a math class, so I told them to either find room for me to take algebra or give me geometry. They ended up giving me geometry, saying that I would fail the class. I finished as the number two student in the class, me and another girl switching places throughout the year. I also helped the teacher help the other students after I’d gotten my work done. I never did take an Algebra class, as that was my senior year.
After high school, I went to college for one semester, working in construction to help pay for college. I dropped out of college after failing algebra…which is surprising since math was one of my strongest subjects. I worked at a gas station for a while, earning me the nickname Maxi. All the guys that worked at the station had names ending in “y”. So, being the only one with an odd name, they added a y to my name. (I’m sure he was teased about it!!)
I spent time at Aunt Margaret and Uncle Paul’s house. I did this to shorten my commute to and from work. I’d help out where ever I could. Aunt Margaret was one of my mothers older sisters. They had two daughters, Louella and Paulette.
In 1957, I married Beatrice Ann Berry, known as Babs. She was still in high school when we married and she had to sign papers agreeing not to talk about her married life with the other students. It lasted for ten years and no children were born from this union.
At some point during this time, Larry (my brother) came to me and asked if I’d be willing to adopt Bonnie (Larry’s daughter). Larry and his first wife were going through a divorce. I said I would, but I’d have to ask Babs. She said no. At this point, I knew she wasn’t the girl/woman I thought she was, but still tried to work things out with her.
Things kept happening that put doubts and questions in my head. One thing was, she kept lying to me about where she was. She’d tell me she was going shopping with one of her girlfriends, but in reality, she was out drinking. She’d take her wedding band off and leave it in the car. One of her girlfriends’ husbands had gotten suspicious about her goings on, so he followed her. While they were inside the bar, he got in the car and found “mementos” from each girl in the group. My wife’s wedding ring was one such memento. When I asked her about her wedding ring a few days later, she said she had lost it. I took it out of my pocket and gave it back to her. She wanted to know where I found it, I told her not to worry about it. We separated shortly afterwards.
When we divorced, she split everything 50/50, going so far as to split the Mr. and Mrs. Towels (she took the Mrs. I kept the Mr.)
In 1957 to 1958, I went to the local clubs, where American Bandstand was shot, or at least locally. One time, Neil Diamond or Neil Sedatka (?) was the main attraction. I’m sure if you look it up, you will be able to find the video on the internet….and very likely see me dancing.
In the late 50’s, I started doing sound for The Virginians, a local bluegrass music group. Through them I met Seldom Scene, Sonny and Bob Osborne, Bill Monroe, Little Jimmy Dickens, Bill Harold, George Harold, George Jones, Ricky Skaggs, Jimmy C. Newman, the Johnson Mt Boys, and Loretta Lynn – all before they were famous. Most of the people mentioned spent time in my slide on camper. I was the only one, at that time, that had a vehicle that could house the Virginian’s equipment. Between sets, we’d hang out in the camper (if I had known, I would’ve gotten people to sign the camper…I would’ve gotten more money for it when I sold it). This was how I met most of the people – they would be invited to the camper, either by my self or by the Virginians. I shook Loretta Lynn’s hand at a barn dance. I also traveled a lot, with the band.
On one occasion, I decided to let George Jones drive my truck. Me and the band were in the back…he took a turn way too fast and almost tipped the truck and camper over. I wasn’t very happy and he never drove the truck again.
In 1968, I met Charlotte Patricia Ningard in Ocean City, MD. At first, Charlotte wouldn’t have anything to do with me. But I wouldn’t stop, so finally she said she would go out with me, but she got to pick the place. She picked one of the more expensive restaurants in Baltimore. At that point, she knew I was the one (so she always said). So did Mother Dear and Poppy Dear (Charlottes parents – Mary (Holly) and Winfield Ningard).
My divorce from Babs wasn’t final until a couple of weeks before I married Charlotte. I know Char (her nickname) was worried we were going to have to postpone the wedding, as was I, but the judge finally signed the papers and we were married April 26, 1969.
More to come
**I have a pic of my mom at Ocean City, when she met my dad, but I can’t find it at the moment…I will be on the search for it!
Hope you have a great day!
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