Taco bell, Kansas and the Beach Boys
Since college was never a consideration. There no time for a “worldly” education with 1975 was just around the corner. There was no time to waste. So out of high school I got a job at taco bell. I made a $1.25 an hour. My mother and I decided that the best thing for me was to move to Salina Kansas, to “where the need was greater” and serve there as a pioneer. My mom told me not to tell my father about these plans. She told me “he wouldn’t understand.” She would break the news to him herself. That was fine with me. I didn’t really didn’t care for him at that time. The reason being he wasn’t taking the lead in our family spiritually anymore. Dad had bailed out of the program and I hated him for that. My mother did a good job in driving a wedge between him and me. She would consistently tell me what a disappoint he was. Maybe she was afraid I would pick up some of his bad habits. Just another classic case how this religion can spilt up families.
My dad told me years later that my mother never did tell him I was moving out. He came home from work one day and asked her where I was. With a blank look on her face she told him I had moved to Kansas to pioneer. He wept. I never even said good bye to him. I have no idea what sick pleasure my mother got out of doing that.
I was eighteen and I was on a grand adventure, moving 1500 miles away. I packed up my 1956 ford and headed south two miles to Foothill Blvd. which was the old Route 66. I turned left and just kept going. Though I have visited the LA area many times over the years I really never thought of that area as home. It was a strange world I grew up in, with no friends outside the faith and few friends in the faith. I really never did fit in back then. There was a huge sense of freedom yet sadness too. On some level I don’t think I really ever had a childhood. I was taught to be strong and independent. To act like an adult from an early age. My religion and my mother told me the only approval I needed was Jehovah’s. That is how I lived my life. So with my Bible in my hand I went to Kansas to save the world. The problem was of course, I couldn’t even save myself. Where ever you go that’s where you will be.
One of the first things I saw once as I crossed the border into the Kansas was a bumper sticker that said “Suicide is redundant if you live in Kansas.”
I drove almost straight through and got to Salina at about 1:30 in the morning. I ended up spending my first night in Salina, in jail. It was too late to get a motel. I really didn’t want to spend the money anyway for just a few hours of sleep. So I drove to a city park and tried to sleep. At about 5:30 in the morning a cop was knocking on my window with his flash light. After talking to him for a few minutes he was convinced that I was a run away and a draft dodger. So down to the police station we went. I convinced the cop to wait a few hours before we started calling everyone to prove my story was true. I never told any of the “brothers” there I was moving back. So I’m sure the congregation overseer Merle Freeman was quite surprised to get a call from the police asking if he knew me. Merle came down to the police station. After the police heard his story and mine, they let me go. Merle had a strange look on his face as he shook my hand on the sidewalk and welcomed me to Kansas. My first day there and I was already getting a bad reputation, I thought.