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"Wendall's" Last Ride With His Famous 5-7

I was born in the south. I live in the south and will die in the south. This is only a small part of the memories I share.

Time and Space

are the invisible foes that always seem to rise angry when a new song, new note, or new motto takes shape. It's been that way since Cain slew Able. Jealousy mixed with inner-turmoil equals unbridled aggression meaning harm to the innocent living things and just things set there for decoration. At any viewpoint, it bites.

These are "Greasers." "Wendall," was not a part of these guys, but he knew his '57 Chevy like a book.

These are "Greasers." "Wendall," was not a part of these guys, but he knew his '57 Chevy like a book.

The Rock and Rollers

finally the grow up. Then another crop of Rockers follow their act from their wardrobe choices to the food they eat. These newbies are bent on outdoing their predecessors no matter if it kills them in the process. I am a witness to this ONE slice of tragedy that came near to my family and me and since that quiet summer evening, life lost something for me in those moments when my dad said that "Wendall" was killed awhile ago in a tragic car wreck. The speedometer hung on 120. All she had. I shivered.

I am not saying anything that hasn't been said, so I will say it again, but in a very synonymous way of thinking. Fact is, older folks are bad to say, "That Wendall, never knew what danger meant--him not having any sense," one of our town founders would strut for a moment and spout off this piece of pain that he loved to keep telling as it made him feel younger and made "Wendall," the deceased boy look as low as a snake's belly.

As life went by, the strutting man finally quit telling the dark pain about "Wendall" because as he told that one story ad nauseum, he would lose a few more of his friends. Even Jesse and Frank James got weary sitting around a small campfire just thinking--while one of their gang loved to spout-off how much loot that had stolen and how many innocent people lost their lives when the James Brothers came to town. Sickening is how I would describe that scene. Even the diabolical Charles Manson knew why he was sent to prison for life. But if I am in the James gang and always tell the same episode over and over, it got old in a hurry.

The same can be said about "Wendall."

"Wendall" was a senior in our high school and both the boys and girls loved him. He was not considered a smart aleck, not really. He just liked to laugh. Not at anyone, but to listen to someone who was a natural-born orator and a person who had full-command of the English Language. "Wendall," sadly, did not have near the command of words and phrases, but he didn't have to. "Wendall" was an out and out ace when it comes to football. He knew where to run and where not to run. For some cosmic reason, this system worked well for "Wendall."

No. I am not going to share with you that "Wendall" was mentally-challenged. If I did, I would have to include myself in that description. "Wendall" was great with his hands--and many is the evening that passerby's would drive by his house and his car, a 1963 Chevy would have the hood up with "Wendall" sticking half inside the engine and the other half sticking up for anyone to see. He took better care for his car than he did his girlfriends.

But what guy in this time didn't?

The most-outstanding trait that "Wendall" owned for himself was his courage that came first in the World of Teenage Scuffles, then came his pride. In my school, I remember watching "Wendall" stand his ground by stand a troublemaker back to where he came from--all without "Wendall" lifting one finger. The amazing thing about this part of his story was "Wendall" was NOT built like Dave Draper, who once held the title of Mr. Universe. "Wendall" was as slim as a Georgia Pine and rather than dominate the conversation, he would simply sit or stand and keep his eyes right on whomever might be speaking. It was this way no matter if it were Governor George Wallace or someone who had traveled the wrong road until almost killed him. "Wendall" respected every person who walked over this pathway. All "Wendall" had to do was smile his famous "50s heartthrobs: James Dean or Sal Mineo." But personally, he looked more like Dean with that cool, laid-back, I-don't-care-if-the-sun-rises-or-not look on his face.

Early 1960s guitar and amplifiers that were popular with "Wendall" was with us.

Early 1960s guitar and amplifiers that were popular with "Wendall" was with us.

If the label said VOX or Fender

then you must be a 1960s Rock Music fan. A lot of Rock musicians learned how to play and how to fail, but they clung to their VOX amps.

The personal narrative that you are reading would be set in the early 1960s when the Beatles invaded Shea Stadium in 1964 and music has never been the same. Along with the Fab Five, you had Paul Revere and The Raiders who was the studio band on Dick Clark's "Where The Action Is," a show that was programmed in the after-school hours--just one of Clark's programming genius.

But my friend, "Wendall," to my knowledge, never played an electric guitar. He didn't have to. He had throngs of friends, both male and female and his hands were gifted to tune his Cherry 1957 BelAir, red and white with a 327 mill under the hood. The thing could fly.

 1957 Chevy. This car looked a lot like the one that my friend, "Wendall" was driving when he won his $20 bucks and lost his life.

1957 Chevy. This car looked a lot like the one that my friend, "Wendall" was driving when he won his $20 bucks and lost his life.

© 2018 Kenneth Avery