1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


Writing your own ticket.
Ward Parker 08

Those of you who do remember me in high school probably remember me as a bit of a rebel who loved cars and speed. I am sure my reputation with cars was a major reason for some of the local fathers to refuse permission for me to date a daughter. My "hangout" was often Jack Hunter's body shop, with my friends Dickie and Royce Fleshman, and where I learned a good deal about both mechanics and body work. The advantage to Jack was free grunt work, sanding or washing, helping to prep cars for paint. I am still not sure it was worth it to him, but I have always appreciated and used the knowledge gained from Jack. I was near in heaven when Dad traded the pickup truck for a 1958 Ford with a 352 Police Interceptor engine. I certainly "tried out" that car!  Curt Baker was the town police at that time, and he drove a cheap 1957 Ford 6 cylinder. Several times he attempted to catch me and failed, yet on Monday when he brought his fodder and corn to the Greenbrier Mill to be ground into feed, he never said a word to me or to Dad about my escapades. I worked extra at the mill after school, saving my money to "get out of Alderson"....About two weeks before my graduation Dad put 4 new Aldens tires on that Ford, and in about one week, the rear two were bald.Most of those tires were left at the red light or on Rt 12 in front of Jack's body shop.  Dad saw them and quietly said to me, "OK, boy put two ones tomorrow", and if any of you knew my Dad, you know that most of my saved money was spent on two new tires the next day!  Another place some of the previous tires were left was the dirt alley below the grade school. I would hit that alley, drop the 4 barrel open and swing the steering wheel back and forth while the speedometer registered from 60 mph up, although the car never moved more than about 15 or 20 mph, the dust cloud would get enormous!  Awww, you know, young and crazy! The day after graduation I was doing this and lo and behold, at the end of the alley sat Curt Baker, with the little red truck signal light blinking on the dash. Now I could easily have slipped into reverse and backed through the dust cloud and got away, but youthful bravado demanded I face Curt, after all, I was leaving Alderson for good in a few days! Poor old Curt read me the riot act, and put his ticket book on the trunk of the car. His hands were shaking so bad he couldn't write the ticket, so being the smart-mouth, I said "give me the pen, I'll write the damned ticket!" He handed me the pen and I wrote the ticket out as instructed. He asked me how fast I was going and I said "85", so the ticket was written for speeding at 85 mph on a dirt alley, and Curt signed it, hands still shaking very badly. I took the ticket down to the Esso station, run by Elvin Cadle, who was mayor at the time. I am not sure, but I think I probably can lay claim to being the only person in Alderson who wrote their own ticket.  I had $25 left in my billfold, and I told Mayor Cadle that I was leaving town the next week if he didn't take all my money, and he said, "OK, post $5 bond and you better not show up for a hearing!"....ONLY in a SMALL TOWN! I did leave town that weekend with $20 in my pocket, hitched a ride to DC with Melvin Hunter, but that is another story. I carried that ticket in my billfold for many years, until finally worn so bad it couldn't be read.