It must have made an impact at the tender age of 14 because this many years later I still remember it. I had tremendous teenagers, however, I was not one. I was, I guess, a tad rebellious. I started high school at 14 in 9th grade. My older siblings always worked hard to achieve good grades. Every teacher I had on that 1st day was glad to get an Austin in their class, when they’d relay that to me (usually in the “oh good, you’re an Austin” manner) I’d just shrink in my chair and glare at them and think “yeah, but you don’t know me yet”. I proved myself. By the end of 9th grade, all of them had wished I hadn’t been in their class. So yeah, I didn’t always follow the rules and usually looked for ways to break them in and outside of school. Halloween in 1974 was on a Friday night and my girlfriends and I were headed to a party in the next town. We were 14, we couldn’t drive, how were we going to get there? I think we all told our parents that we were just going to hang out at each others houses. “Leave it to me” Sandy said “I’ll get us a ride”. Sandy almost always accomplished what she set her mind to do, she got us a ride. We met at her house and asked her who was taking us, I believe she told us that she didn’t know his name. Young and dumb and wanting to go to the party we all piled in.
To this day I still have no idea why we were pulled over. I kind of think the police knew the guy that was driving and were looking for him but I really don’t know, just remember hearing that later. So right, we got pulled over about block from our intended delivery point. Apparently the driver was over 21 and we were all jail bait so we were all asked to exit the car. Suburban residential area, Halloween night, of course kids in costumes were all over the streets and the squad lights were going round and round and all the kids gathered around the squad cars and were staring at us watching to see what would happen next. I remember looking at all the kids in the red, white, red, white flashing light atmosphere as they formed their circle. I also remember one particular kid who was dressed as Satan and held a pitchfork. I remember him because he was staring at us and then he looked at his pitchfork and jabbed the (plastic) pitchfork at his ass. A little weird. Stressful situation, being questioned and frisked by the police when one is 14, not knowing why and when the kid poked his own behind with his little pitchfork my girlfriend, Cheri, and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. That wasn’t taken kindly by the policemen. We were out there an hour being questioned together and individually while the police searched the car we’d all been in and then our driver was escorted, in handcuffs, into one squad car and my friends and I were escorted, not in handcuffs, into the other. That was that last time we saw that guy.
While my friends and I were being driven home by our new driver, Mr. Policeman, we were lectured incredibly and and specifically told that we each HAD to relate to our parents the events of the evening. I still didn’t get it. We hadn’t done anything wrong. If we had reached the party and the police had picked us up there we would have been guilty of underage drinking. We hadn’t gotten to the party, we hadn’t done anything wrong. Of course we all swore we would tell our parents.
I got home and my mom was a little surprised to see me home so early. I made up some lame excuse and went to my room and thought about my vow to tell my parents. I knew my mom. I had plans to leave town the next morning w/ Sandy to some small town about an hour north of the Twin Cities. Sandy’s grandma lived there. The previous weekend some of the football players of that remote town’s high school were in our neighborhood and we made dates for Saturday night, the night after Halloween. Back to I knew my mom. I could tell her tonight, still not understanding what it would be that I would have to say, I wasn’t arrested, nor had I done anything wrong and I would have been grounded just because I was brought home by a policeman. Oh yeah, and my mom’s dad had been a policeman. I’ve heard stories of her brother being brought home by other policemen…apparently that wasn’t a good thing. Do the math of a 14 year old girl with a date on Saturday night. I decided to tell her when I got home on Sunday. Wasn’t breaking my promise to the policeman, he never said when I had to tell my parents.
So Saturday morning Sandy and her dad picked me up and we went up north to visit his mom. We spent a few hours with her grandma before we were picked up by our dates and we went to (get this) a bar. I guess that in small towns it was completely acceptable to close a bar to the public to host a party (alcohol included) to the local high school football players if the team was doing well that season. Huh. Odd, but there were were, Sandy and her date and Wolf-boy and I. I’d only met the guy once, the week before. He was very nice and polite when we’d spent time together the week before. This time I really don’t know if he was trying to impress the guys or what but he appeared to be all about putting his hands on me. I just kept pushing him away and drinking faster. Wow, great bar service in small towns who knew? Endless supplies of….are you ready….keep in mind this was high school…sloe screws. Never had one before and never have since. Succeeded in the bar, to keep Wolf-boy off of me but then it was time to leave. I had to get into the backseat of a car with Wolf-boy. Immediately upon entering the car he gave me his class ring (my, this WAS a small town), after that I had to fight with him again to keep his hands off of me. Good thing for me that I wasn’t someone who could handle my alcohol at the time. What I’ve realized from this event is that the best defense against date rape is to just puke all over your attacker. Repeatedly works best but I’m pretty sure that even a one shot deal would do the trick. While I was heaving my guts out all over Wolf-boy, Sandy was in the front seat playing tag with her date. In the process she managed to smash her face into the steering wheel.
I was done hurling by the time we got back to Sandy’s grandma’s house and Sandy had an enormous lip. We went downstairs and went to sleep. I’ve heard we slept until noon and at one point Sandy’s dad went downstairs to check on us while we were still asleep. He walked back upstairs and was asked by his mom if we’d had a good time. His response was “I’m not sure. One of them came home with a class ring and the other one came home with a fat lip”. We eventually woke up and our dates from the previous night came over to see us off. I got the opportunity to throw Wolf-boy his ring back and Sandy got the opportunity to kiss her date good bye, fat lip and all. Then we went home.
I got home and my mom met me at the door, never a good sign. She asked me how my weekend was, I told her I’d had fun (or I’d never been allowed to leave for a weekend again) and then she informed me that she’d gotten a phone call from the Lakeville Police Department. That’s when the shit hit the fan. “Although your daughter was innocent we just thought you’d like to know” is what they had told her. My mom is not quite full blooded Irish but she sure acts like it. I let her know that I had planned to tell her when I got back from Sandy’s grandma’s and that even though I hadn’t done anything wrong (and the call from the department had told her that) I knew she wouldn’t have let me go if I told her I was driven home by a policeman on Friday. “You’re DAMN right you wouldn’t have gone” was what I got back. So I still didn’t really get why I was in trouble. Whoever it was that had called my mom told her a lot more than anyone had told me. The driver guy from Halloween night was a drug dealer and they found plenty in his car when they searched it. Okay, that’s something I could have understood had anyone told me. I was never clear on what it was that I was supposed to have told my parents that Friday. However, I still wouldn’t have told my mom anything until I got back home on Sunday and right, I was again, grounded for a month. That was pretty much a normal thing for my early teen years, grounded for a month. A month is a long time when one is 14 but there were always plenty of ways around it. Eh, another story for another day.
That was my Halloween weekend when I was 14. We all learn from our experiences. I had a few experiences that I learned from that weekend, the least of them was don’t ever drink sloe gin.