In the post World War year of 1945-46 and
47, the boys finally came home! Happy to be free of the aggravations
of military life and just glad to be alive. For the first time in
their lives they felt really free! Free from parental supervision,
of school and best of all, they had, also for the first time in
their lives, enough money to do some things they had always wanted
to do . Get married in some cases, go to college in others, but in
almost every case, at least for a little while, they were going to
drink all the beer that Milwaukee and St. Louis could make! Bless
their hearts, they pretty well managed to do just that.
So it was with Chester, nearly every night would find him in a booth
at Davy Gwinn’s beer joint, there he would often stay until closing,
unless someone inadvertently said something that made him fighting
mad, in which case he might end up in the Alderson Town Jail. This
is the tale of such an occasion.
Chester was a lean, good-looking fellow of about 23, he was the
heart-throb of many of the young ladies of the community, but he had
pretty much decided, even then, that the pretty Ginny was going to
be the girl for him. Now Ginny was around 16 at the time and seven
years was a little too much difference in ages in those days, and so
the romance just simmered along, they flirted and a kiss or two
probably was exchanged, but unlike in today’s society, little else
happened for several years.
I’m getting a head of myself and my story. It had been one of those
nights, Chester was sleeping in the Alderson calaboose, a victim of
demon rum and Pepsi and Pete (the town’s notoriously inept and
somewhat cowardly but likable cops) . It wasn’t a bad place to
sleep, not too many bugs and critters, and it sure was a lot more
comfortable than some of the places he had endured in the military,
The Marine Corps, if my memory is correct.
Ginny heard about his incarceration and was outraged that they would
have done such a thing to her beloved and she was equally determined
to do something about it. She proceeded to enlist a several years
younger friend to help her break Chester out of jail. The girl who
was to later be my wife, was only too glad to assist , it seemed to
her as if it would be a lot of fun!
They found a length of rope in someone’s truck and proceeded to the
back of the Alderson Town Hall where the jail cells were located,
but there they discovered that the cell windows were several feet
over their head. Finally managing to carry two stolen cinder blocks
from Joe Millers Block Plant, (also behind Davy’s Beer Joint), two
blocks down, back up to the Town Hall, they finally aroused Chester.
They informed him they were going to break him out of jail the way
they had seen it done, so many times, on Saturday at the Alpine
Chester wouldn’t cooperate and he told them
to get away from there and GO HOME! But they were determined and
they finally got the rope around the bars as they were supposed to
do, however, about then they remembered that they lacked a horse, so
they went seeking a horse, (or an adult with a car), that would yank
those bars right out of the window and all could live happily ever
In the interim, Pepsi and Pete had reported for duty , and the first
thing they did was go let their buddy out of jail, so the Town
wouldn’t have to pay for feeding him! After wishing one another
well, Chester then drove his car around to the back where he offered
two young girls a ride home!
John McCurdy (2007)