I don’t remember who came up with the idea, but we decided to road trip to The Road America June Sprints, a sports car race, at Elkhart Lake, WI. At that time drinking beer at 18 was legal out side of Milwaukee County. We would be in Sheboygan county where it would be legal for us to drink beer. The first race was held there on June 23, 1950 for you trivia buffs. What could go wrong with a plan like this. One of our mothers even let us use their station wagon and camping equipment. Problem was that most of us had never camped outside our back yards. This caring mother even threw in a case of beer for the five of us to take along. Little did she know we already had a couple of cases of beer and a quart of liquor a piece stashed away in the car. If I remember correctly it was Tom, Jack, Ted, me and the other Tom or Geno. Sorry I can’t remember guys, but you know who you were and why I probably can’t remember.
We went there on Friday and found a camp site right on the lake a few miles from the track. Set up the tent, had some dinner, and drank moderately into the night probably telling lies about what we were going to do with our lives. The next morning came early and we wanted to get to the races. We all enjoyed the race and I for one was ready to buy a sports car. In our life times I think Jack owned a Austin Healy, I had an MGB and Ted had a corvette. I blame it on that weekend, although it was one of my favorite cars and I’d love to have it back now.
We went back to the camp ground after the races on Saturday and probably had a nice dinner over the camp fire. I say probably, because my memory gets a little foggy at this point. Three of the guys were going into town to check out the local girls and Jack and I volunteered to stay in camp and protect the liquid refreshments. You know how you sometimes make bad decisions in your life. This was probably one of my worst. Some where between the time the three left for town and returned, Jack and I almost finished a bottle of 151 proof Jamaican Rum. I don’t know why, but we thought they would be mad at us for drinking it all up so we took 7 Up and filled up the bottle thinking they wouldn’t notice the difference. I think our condition gave us away. Later that evening when they were walking us to keep us awake and probably alive, they explained that they found us sitting on the picnic table talking when they returned. That in itself would not have been so bad, but the picnic table was in the lake. Don’t know how it or we got there, but after that I should have learned that drinking too much never ends well. It took me a few more years to learn moderation and now I’m lucky to have a drink or two a week and never more than one if I’m driving.
It turned out to be the last time we were all together until I got married on June 28, 1969 and they were all part of my wedding party. No we did not do the June Sprints for a bachelor party because I arrived from Japan on leave just a couple of days before our wedding and that was probably a good thing. We got together a couple of years ago and reminisced about all those past memories, including our road trip to Road America. I’m happy to say I’m still in contact with these guys, although we don’t get together very often and hopefully we will all be together to celebrate our 50th high school reunion in 2015. I’m thankful I still have friends that I have know for over 60 years. Thanks for the memories guys!