Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Big Bus Trip of ’68, Part 12

And now I turn the pages to the week of my trip to Tennessee and pick up where I left off. Paul and I have met the girls. It is the next day of church camp …

July 16 - Me and Paul met Sheryl and Diane outside by the tabernacle for morning devotions. I don’t mind the church services now that I have a girl to sit by. -- Sheryl and Paul have entered the instrumental solo contest. Paul tried to talk me into playing a trumpet solo. But there wasn’t anything good to play, and I’d have to join the choir, like Sheryl & Paul did. So I decided not to. – Tonight one of the preachers preached about hell again. He told about a boy & girl that were making out in a car. It was cold so they were running the heater, but the car filled up with exhaust and killed them. They were found in each other’s arms without any clothes on, which he said was a terrible way to go. It sounded like a pretty good way to me, though. -- Paul told me he figured out a way he and Diane could hold hands during service without getting caught. They just sit close together with their arms folded to cover up their hands. He said they held hands all the way through morning service. So tonight I tried to get Sheryl to do it, but she didn’t want to. – After service she told me she thinks Paul & Diane are making a big mistake getting so attached to each other, because after camp is over they’ll never see each other again. --

July 17 - The watermelon hike was today. Richard didn’t go. All he wants to do is stay in the cabin reading comic books. Says he’s sick of the camp and all the church services. – Anyway, me, Sheryl, and Paul went on the hike. We saw a pioneer graveyard. I took pictures but it was cloudy so I don’t know how they came out. –After service tonight we were walking around in the dark behind the tabernacle (just the 4 of us) and a counselor stopped us and got after Paul & Diane for holding hands. Sheryl said, “I told you so” to Diane. – Me and Paul headed back to our side of the camp and stood around talking for a while. He says he and Diane are going to have a hard time saying goodbye Saturday. That’s when most people are leaving, but me & Richard are leaving Friday because we’re supposed to stop in Little Rock and stay with his aunt & his grandfather.

July 18 - Tonight after service Sheryl wasn’t saying much, and she just walked off during the Roundup without saying goodbye or anything. It all began when Paul called me to the side and said that me and him Actually, I’m not too sure what she’s mad about. I feel awful.

July 19 - This morning Paul came by and I went with him up to the tabernacle for morning devotions. I didn’t too much want to see Sheryl again, but Paul said I ought to so I did. Things were okay all of a sudden. She was nice to me again, which made me feel bad because I had to leave. I got everybody’s addresses then we all said goodbye. I felt sad. I probably won’t ever see Sheryl or Paul again. The 5 days there at camp went by so quickly. As we waited in the Murfreesboro and Nashville bus stations it seemed like we had never left them for any length of time. I felt gloomier when we got into Nashville. Richard kept asking me what was the matter but I didn’t want to talk about it. We had to wait a long time for the bus to Memphis. An old man came walking in with one shoe on. He asked us if he was in Chattanooga. We tried to tell him it was Nashville, but he didn’t understand us. After a while, he started telling me I needed a haircut and should comb my hair off my forehead. I just ignored him, and he then started asking Richard what was in his suitcase. The old man was evidently drunk. – Now we’re riding to Memphis. It’s late. I’m going to get some sleep …

There ends the excerpt. It fills in a great many gaps in my memory. I had completely forgotten that Sheryl was mad at me at one point. Why was she mad? The diary does not say, because I never found out.

Richard and I arrived in Little Rock early on Saturday morning. His aunt met us at the bus station and took us back to her home. We had barely slept on the bus overnight, so were exhausted. Richard’s aunt showed us to our beds. I slept until noon, sat up, looked out the window, and saw a cemetery right across the street …

to be continued