This page features some of the various musical experiences I've had over the years. I plan to showcase a different story on a regular basis. So keep checking back. If you have comments, please send them my way. Contact me
Page Updated - February 3, 2012
have only posted stories of my own, though I take great
exception now to feature one of my father's stories.
In 1949, a new Buick meant improved horsepower, restyled grill, taillights, and a sleeker, streamlined "aircraft-style." It was the first year Buick featured signature "portholes" on the front fenders, starting a fifteen-year tradition; the prewar styling had faded. Just gazing at the shiny new black 2-door Buick was a thrill to me as it was one of the prettiest cars I had ever seen. I envied the owner of most any newly styled car of '49, but this one especially because he was my boss. OZ, head of the circulation department for the Paris News, supervised the news carriers or paperboys. I looked up to OZ as my leader, but also because he was a sharp dresser and wore polished leather dress boots as well as aviator type sunglasses all the time. He was a quiet man who seemed to be a loner. I knew of no other person in his life, but experienced nothing but kindness on the seldom occasions when our business required personal interaction. However, he did not like our bills to be paid late!
"The presses are down" was the first thing I heard one day after school upon arriving at the circulation room. As sometimes happened, the presses were delayed and the papers were not ready for our deliveries. When they were up and running again the paper boys would be the last to receive their orders. All of the newsstands and mail orders were first in line. As a result the carriers had nothing to do but sit around, walk around town, or ride their motorbikes. A seventh-grader and having only a bicycle, I joined the sitters.
After about an hour, I happened to step outside the carrier room when OZ came by with a bail of papers just off the press. He surprised me by saying, "I need to run these to the bus station, do you want to go with me?" I was bored and impressed to be invited! Before I knew it, he had thrown the papers in the trunk of his beautiful Buick and motioned, "Hop in." Trying to meet a bus schedule, OZ rushed through the city streets and pulled into the building with a screeching halt. He soon found out that the bus to Cooper had just pulled out. The big black Buick squealed out of the terminal driveway with the Dynaflow transmission rushing through gears with a smooth sound of power and speed.
At the edge of town the great car accelerated rapidly and I watched the speedometer needle rise proportionately on the open road. Without a word spoken we seemed to glide through, 50, 60, and 75 miles an hour. I didn't recall my dad ever driving that fast, but the needle still didn't stop. Another glance out of the corner of my eye revealed that we were going over 80 and leveling off at 90 miles an hour. The highway was clear with no other traffic, but it was some time before we saw the Cooper bus up ahead. OZ slowed somewhat and spoke for the first time since leaving the station, "Well, we are halfway to Cooper now, are you game to forget the bus and go all the way?" My first thought was that my parents didn't even know where I was, much less that we were driving at record speed, but I was with my boss; a responsible man who felt it was all right, so "Yeah, let's go!" He continued the terrific speed, and the Buick cruised as if we were floating. It didn't take long to reach the Cooper bus station where the bundle of papers was dropped before they even expected it.
Though not as fast, our drive back to Paris was just as enjoyable as I continued to soak in the amazing features of this impressive automobile. Upon arrival OZ thanked me for going with him and I swelled with pride when we drove up in front of the other news carriers who were departing to deliver their papers. I was a little late getting home that night, but my bicycle had never flowed so smoothly through the route, and each house received a paper that sailed to the front porch as effortlessly as a '49 Buick cruising the road!
(Though he wrote this as an adult, in 1949 when this took place, Bill James was 12 years old.)
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(Online Since May 1, 1998) - All Rights Reserved © 1998-2012 Kirk James