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More Strange, but True, "Terry " Stories

Selling Los Angeles Herald-Express in Middle of Street Rollercoaster at Lick Pier, Santa Monica Early Los Angeles Freeway

Most Recent Terry Story (Story #10) Will Wonders Never Cease?!

I'm continually amazed and often delighted by some of the things that can be done via the Internet nowadays. I once wrote here about becoming reacquainted with some school friends I hadn't seen in over 50 years, as a result of one of them finding me via www.classmates.com. I subsequently put their pictures on my Web site and wrote some little stories about them.

Phone Call from a Couple of Strangers

I recently got a call from a couple driving west through Arizona. The woman on the cell phone introduced herself as Shirley and said that she and her husband Russell were friends of Terry, whom I've known since junior high school days. She went on to say they wanted to vist Terry and his wife in California, but had lost their unlisted number—and wanted to know if I could give it to them.

So how did these people find me?

They called their daughter Colleen in Indiana and asked her to punch Terry's name into a computer search engine to see if anything might come up. Well, since my friends (Terry and his wife) have an unlisted number, the Internet search could not find them in the usual "white pages" services, but it did bring up a reference to Terry being mentioned on this site, where the daughter then found my phone number and called her parents to give it to them.

Pretty cool, I'd say, and they all ended up having a wonderful visit.

Stupid Phone!
(Terry Story #4)

This is actually a "Terry's Dad Story."

Zack used a room in his home as an office for his construction business. One day Terry walked into my room laughing.

You'll never guess what I found Dad doing just now," he said.

"Tell me," I replied.

"I went into his office and he was at his desk holding the phone to his ear. He had a disgusted look on his face and mumbled something about the stupid phone not working right."

"Well, the reason it didn't work was that he was trying to dial the number by punching it in on his typewriter keyboard."

Of course we all had a big laugh over that—but none of us could have imagined that someday we actually would be dialing a phone by punching numbers (or just one number) on a keyboard.


Taking a Dive in a Japanese Restaurant
(Terry Story #5)

This is one of those "you had to be there to see it" type of stories.

Terry and I went with some friends to a Japanese restaurant. Neither Terry nor I, nor our dates, had ever been to a Japanese restaurant, and we were surprised to find that we were expected to remove our shoes and sit on cushions, while dining at a very low table.

Well, neither Terry nor I have ever been what you would call "athletic" nor were we particularly comfortable sitting cross-legged on these cushions.

Anyway, Terry needed to use the restroom, so he excused himself and went to stand up. However, one foot tripped over the other and he landed face down on the floor.

To this day we remember Terry as being the only person in the world who could fall off of an eight-inch thick cushion that was on the floor of a Japanese restaurant.


Moving Target
(Terry Story #6)

Getting back to when were kids, Terry had a paper route and delivered the Los Angeles Herald Express every afternoon on his bicycle.

This was back in the days when the city was first designing its extensive freeway system and when it often exercised "Eminent Domain" to re-locate homes that were in the path of the soon-to-be-built roadways.

I remember Terry telling me how he was becoming more frustrated with his job each day.

"Well, it happened again," he would say. "I went to toss a paper onto a customer's front porch—but wasn't able to do it—the house was moving down the street."


Personas Non Gratas?
(Terry Story #7)

There was a time when I was dating a black girl, and I had brought her to Terry's house a couple of times. One Saturday afternoon Terry and I and a third friend were jitterbugging with our dates on the backyard patio when Terry's dad came home. We didn't know he was expecting some business associates to come by for a meeting and that they'd be there at any moment.

"I hate to break up your party," he said rather urgently, "but this is an important meeting and I'd really like it to be quiet and business-like while they're here. So I'd appreciate it if you would all leave right now."

As we prepared to leave, Zack pulled me into his office and said, "I don't want you to think I'm asking you to leave because your girlfriend is colored."

Well, as far as I could tell, Zack didn't have a prejudicial bone in his body—but his words somehow lacked lacked a certain element of conviction—and I think he realized it.

So he added, "After all, I'm part of a minority group, too, you know."

"Really?" I asked. "What minority group is that?"

"Geniuses," he replied with a disarming smile. "Now get out of here!"

Computers? Who Needs Them?
(Terry Story #8)

When Terry and I finally got together via email, after not seeing each other in over 40 years, I was naturally curious to know if he was interested in computers.

"Oh, I've got one," he replied, "but I don't use it all that much—just for occasional email and a few other things."

"But you must have used computers in your bank work," I suggested.

"Well," Terry said, "when they first came on the scene, I tended to resist them."

"In fact," he went on, "I was the last person in the bank to give up using memo pads and carbon paper. I held out as long as I could—but it got to where you couldn't find carbon paper anymore."


Rollercoaster Heart Attack
(Terry Story #9)

I've always loved riding on rollercoasters. There was a time when a wooden rollercoaster was the main thrill-ride at any amusement park—and the most expensive. You could ride the Tilt-A-Whirl or the Octopus for 10 cents, but you had to pay a quarter to go on the Cyclone Racer. (Sometimes I would blow a whole week's worth of selling newspapers on the ride.)

Now, of course, the newer high-tech corkscrew rides named after comic book characters are faster and scarier—and I ride them, too, when I go to Magic Mountain with my grandkids. But I still prefer the vintage wooden rollercoasters.

Sadly, however, when I was a kid none of my friends liked any of the fast carnival rides. So I would consider it a major achievement if I could get one of them to go on the rollercoaster with me.

I had begged Terry for years, assuring him that it was not all that bad and that after the first steep drop it was really lots of fun. So one day he finally agreed to give it a try.

Well, my favorite spot on the ride was the front seat of the first car. And I would sometimes wait through two or three rides to get that front seat. This time it was empty when we arrived at the loading platform.

"Look," I excitedly told Terry, "We can sit in the very front!"

"No way," replied Terry, who looked like he was about to give up on the whole idea.

Well, I quickly claimed the front seat in hopes that he would change his mind, but he reluctantly climbed into the second seat of the second car. Nobody took any of the seats between us, so, by looking over my shoulder I could easily keep an eye on Terry to see how he was doing. He looked very pale. But at least he was on the ride.

As we climbed to the top of the first rise, I kept looking over my shoulder and assuring Terry that he had nothing to be worried about. He did not look convinced.

Anyway, as we crested the top I turned to face forward and raised both hands high over my head (as we courageous and seasoned rollercoaster riders are wont to do). I could hardly wait to reach the bottom so I could look back to see how Terry had survived the first drop.

But what I saw nearly gave me a heart attack.

Terry was nowhere to be seen.

"Omigod!" I thought. "He's fallen out. Whaddo I do now?" I was panic-stricken.

It was about then when I saw a hand come shakily over the back of the front seat in the second car.

It was Terry!

I sat petrified as a second hand came over the seat, and then saw a terror-stricken face coming up between the hands.

By now we were cresting the second rise, so I faced forward again. However, my arms didn't seem to want to go up in the air this time. So I just grabbed my safety bar and looked back to see if Terry was okay.

Well, as we began to careen down the second drop Terry vanished again. But at least I knew where he was. He somehow managed to survive the trip by clinging to the safety bar while alternately sliding off and back onto the seat.

He did not enjoy the ride. Nor did he ever go on a rollercoaster again.

And the self-satisfaction I normally felt after getting someone to go on the ride with me was, not surprisingly, diminished considerably.

Roller Coaster Ecstasy (Another True Story)

Rollercoaster at Dusk

One other thing about rollercoasters...
I never had any willing co-riders until my grandkids got old enough to go with me.

On a recent occasion, I went on one of the newer white-knucklers with a friend of Jessica's while Jess stayed below to take some pictures.
As the ride started to move, Jess threw me a kiss and told me to have a good time.
The ride operator noticed this and asked if we were related.
"That's my grandpa," she replied rather defensively. "What about it?"
"Oh, nothing," said the carnival worker, "It's just that we don't get many grandpas on this ride."


Don Edrington's Home Page     Shy Guy from Hollywood High     Brief Bio   All Stories

Prologue   Ch.1 Alameda - Los Angeles 1939-40   Ch.2 Echo Park 1943   Ch.3 Virgil Jr Hi 1944   Ch.4 Le Conte Jr Hi 1945-46
Ch.5 Gower Gulch 1946   Ch.6 Hollywood Hi 1946-47   Ch.7 Drop Out 1948   Ch 8 Norma Jean Salina 1948   Ch 9 Fort Ord 1949
Ch.10 Fort Belvoir 1950   Ch.11 Korea 1951   Ch.12 Back to Civilian Life 1952   Ch.13 Cornet Stores 1953   Ch.14 Puerto Rico 1955
Ch 15 Signs by George 1956   Ch 16 Mexico 1958   Ch.17 Fullerton 1960   Ch.18 Fallbrook 1973   Ch.19 Costa Mesa 2000


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Graphics Disclaimer:
Since I have no personal photos from my youth, I've used pictures found on the Internet to help illustrate some of the stories told on these pages. In a couple of instances I've used photos of people who just happen to closely resemble someone I once knew. However, if it's found that I'm using any images in violation of someone's copyright, please let me know and appropriate action will be taken.
Thank you!