A letter from St. Augustine has been mailed to my parents. Its states:
Your son will no longer will be accepted in this school. Please find an alternate 8th grade elsewhere.
So, I have been paroled with a year chopped off my Catholic prison sentence.
Multiple examples of problems include…
- First and most concerning: When I jeopardized a fellow student’s safety by attaching him, by his belt, to the flag pole rope, and then proceeding to string him all the way up to the top. Like a flag.
- Next and quite amazingly, is that the nuns have seen me jumping out of MGM and say I am corrupting fellow students. Apparently, I’m teaching them how to break the law.
- Finally, I’m not an altar boy. Unfortunately, it always conflicted with pro-football on Sunday morning TV.
Three strikes…I’m out.
They say they’ve seen me jumping out of MGM. I think it was merely heresay… rumors on the schoolyard… I guess that oversized late 60’s stationwagon doubles as a patrol car. Under cover sisters. What happened to simpler times when nuns were like Sally Field and just sang songs all day, like in the Flying Nun?
Well, I’ll be a horse’s ass. My normal conduct is intolerable to the archdiocese. I’m expelled!
Terrific! I can’t wait to tell my friends I’m going to public school. Culver Middle School will be where I continue to develop my skills. Maureen, Jimmy, and Danny, also attend this school.
Pat’s family also received this letter. He calls me to tell me his parents are upset and he must go to Loyola. Sad… first it’s all boys. And second, there is a fence around that school 20 feet high. If you need a fence that high, bad things must take place inside.
Culver will be a country club for me, while poor Pat will be in maximum security prison.
I have gotten word of a public school party, set for Friday night in the elite Culver Crest neighborhood. Maureen and Danny want to go and I will have an opportunity to make new friends, so I can’t wait for this night to begin.
A band is playing as we walk into the backyard of a splendid home that has views of the ocean. The band’s name is Monkey Chow. People are drinking and smoking as this is now becoming the norm, everywhere I go. Around 11 pm, Culver City police shut this highly attended party down.
As everyone rapidly moves towards their rides, I mention to the crowd that we could all go to MGM and I will take you on an adventure. The response is huge, as I head for the gate, “follow us!”
I hop in Danny’s tricked out Pinto with Maureen sitting shot gun. A caravan of cool cars now follows us down Overland Avenue like a parade. We all end up as close as we can to the now famous train station entrance that we use the most.
Maureen has moved from Huron to Elenda, which is where I’m parking all the partyers’ cars. We take up the entire street, like a film crew base camp. Her new apartment overlooks MGM, behind the train station. Like a fort, with utilities. She can see the backside of Mexican Village, China Street, with its castle, and the German village church that we spent the 4th of July in.
She lives with her mom and obeys her curfew, as she says goodbye to this traveling party.
I can’t wait to be able to drive, as I walk past a van full of stoned out, soon to be trespassers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cheech and Chong pop out of the back. I dig the surf racks on its roof. A Karmann Ghia is in front of the van. A Plymouth Duster and a Corsair precede these, as this simple quiet street is invaded by a traveling circus.
What will my first car be? My sister, Nancy, who is ten years older, has a 67 GTO.
Well, it’s time to climb, as we congregate at the barb wire pole for a safety meeting. I demonstrate proper techniques to safely climb barb wire and add a disclaimer, “If I run… you should, too.” I know none of these people by name, except Tim Gray. He is a bit actor who works out of Central Casting. He graduated from St. Augustines and goes to Culver high.
I assist a female, wearing a dress, up and over this sharp fence. It takes a hands-on effort, as I touch women in places I have never touched before. Just doing my job. She makes it safely, as I follow her and her invisible plume of perfume, over and into the backlot. I hope the scent doesn’t give us away. Like a skunk.
The rest follow, as we wait. I’m a bit nervous, only because everyone is kicking the fence as they attempt to climb. It is pretty loud, but finally, we are all on the adventure side… We go inside a Pullman train and let our eyes adjust to the darkness.
MGM’s owls have realized we are here. One sits atop the cross that sits above the church, staring down at us, hooting loudly. I’m thinking and plotting, as my group sits in anticipation of their tour through LaLa Land.
I interrupt their daydreaming and tell them we should give this a few minutes… “so get comfortable on board this train and relax.” I need to make sure we don’t get trapped. It was kinda loud entering…
A joint gets sparked up and makes its way down the train isle, to each customer. Like a train ticket getting punched. It calms the nervousness we all have.
“I know this place inside and out. You can not have a better tour guide,” I say, patting myself on the back. I think, I’m safe if anything goes wrong, they will almost all get caught, most likely. No risk… No reward. I take a hit off the party joint… MGM will need to add a paddy wagon to its fleet, for this haul, I laugh to myself.
The clock strikes 12 Midnight…
To be continued… Airplane Room Party.
All stories written and lived by Donnie Norden
Edited by DQ