Wednesday, January 27, 2010



I was a 98 pound weakling at the start of the 7th grade year. In the locker room after Football practice there was a big kid picking on me.
A guy I barely knew stood up for me. Even though he wasn’t much bigger than me and wasn’t near as big as my antagonist, he shook his fist right into the bully's face and said:
“Why don’t you find somebody your own size to pick on.”
It was not a question.
That is how Scott Thompson came to be my best friend.
Scott introduced me to Model Rockets and the Beatles all at the same time.
On Friday nights, he and I would stay up till 3am building a Model Rocket, then we would ride our bikes down Hurstview to the 7-11 for an Apple Beer Soda. By the time we got back home we were so giddy-drunk, laughin' and fallin' off our bikes. We could barely stand up. We would turn Scotts record player up full blast and listen to ‘I am the Walrus” one more time, dancing around the room like a Walrus might, before finally crashing on the floor of Scotts room.
And somehow between 7 and 8am we would manage to drag our tired, Apple-beer hungover asses out of bed and truck our bikes and Rockets to Bedford Junior High to launch.

My very first rocket Scott helped me build had a little flight problem. As I set it up on the launch pad, one of the four fins fell off. I had waited all night for the glue to dry, and I wasn't going to let something like a little loose fin deter me or force the mission to be scrubbed. I took the fin, licked it, and stuck it back onto the rocket, held it for a moment and let go.
It worked!
The fin stayed on the rocket as I gingerly placed it back onto the launch pad.
We were good to go!
I ran back to my launch button and said to Scott "Here goes nuthin!" and flipped the switch.
Into the sky it burst, a white cloud streaming from the exhaust. It got about 10 feet off the pad, took a right hand turn and headed straight for Scott and I.
"GANGWAY!" I yelled and Scott and I hit the deck.
It all happened in less than a second.
I was hooked!
The next year I was President of the Rocket Club. They called me "Rocket Renfro".
And Beverly, the, she was hot!

Check out Mr. McNatt's legendary comb-over. After 38 years he is still at the same scool, teaching the same classes, sporting the same hairdo. They say he looks exactly the same!

Check out the High-Water Straight Leg Jeans and my "Rifleman" Belt Buckle!

Sometimes Barbara wonders how much of my satories are true. Let these pictures serve as substantiation that this one happened exactly as I say!
I didn't even need to re-name McNatt! We used to call him "Superfly".


Anonymous said...

Steve, great story. By the way, you bear an uncanny resemblance to me at that age. Exact same hair and glasses, my God. Perhaps we were twins separated at birth. That would explain our predilection for altered states.

I'll see if I can't dig up a photo from those years. Seeing is believing.

Your unlikely twin, UF Mike

GEWELS said...

Great story Steve. I've missed your stories. I'll come around allot more often.

Barbara said...

OK, I believe, I believe! You were a cute skinny kid. Maybe a little nerdy looking and Rocket Club President -- now there's something that must have attracted every chick in the 7th grade. Just kidding! I liked rockets too and was definitely a nerd. Maybe we would have gotten together -- who knows?

Martijn said...

Utter delight, this story. Quite moving too. But counterbalanced with the (to me) funny pictures. The uppermost looks like a "Where's Waldo" picture with only Waldos. No offence of course. I looked like Art Garfunkel at that age, before I got glasses that is. A rocket club! Wow. I'm not sure, but I think one can get a few years in juvenile detention for launching rockets over here. Entrapment is out, but unfortunately so is fabricating missiles.

bulletholes said...

Mike, a lot of us had that Robert redford/Steve McQueen/Dennis the Menace look.
Hi Gewels! I';ve been sposed to call you, but havwen't got round to it.
Barb, the window of opportunity for us getting together id long past. But ain't it pretty to think about?
No rockets Martijn? ou mean you can go in and buy a doobie, but you can't `blast off a lil ol model rocket?

BB-Idaho said...

Memories; I also was a rocket nerd, way back in the fifties..and
a typical member of the rocket boys phenomenon. Neat stuff, stuck with it, spent career in explosives chemistry. ..and I remain sorry for the old couple whose house we penetrated with an accidental trajectory!

bulletholes said...

BB-Great movie, that!
I was 12 years behind you guys. I was into it for a solid year, and had a pretty decent mind for math until I stopped doing my homework. You won't get Algebra without doing your homework. And you won't get Geometry without getting Algebra, or Chemistry and so on.
The Saturn 5 in the picture Scott built. My last attempt at a rocket was the SST, fashioned after the Concord, and included the Space shuttle that rode piggy back.
I never finished that one, but damn, it woulda been a beauty!

Anonymous said...

Blackmail photos for sure...