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Decades later, the untold can be told

During my youth there were a limited number of places that a young man could take a date. The drive-in, the Turnage and Radio View Grill were hot spots that dates enjoyed. There were rules in place that parents had for daughters, and these were adhered to if a boy wished to return and date that young lady again. The boys in my generation had one spot that parents did not know about — their secret parking place!

Now, please do not get me wrong, every date was not carried to this parking place, and it was pretty much a place for only boyfriend-girlfriend relationships only! There were rules that applied to these secret spots. One rule was that you never double-dated and parked. Yet another was that it was your secret spot, and you never told anyone except maybe your best friend. This was sacred ground, and you never shared with others. There were many other rules, but space will not allow me to share.

There were two funny stories that happened that I will share with you. The first happened to my best friend, Bucky Hill (my roommate in prep school), who came to visit me for a weekend. Bucky used my mom and dad’s car, and it was snowing lightly that night. Not really knowing where he was going, he hit a slick spot and wrecked the car before he could park. My dad went to help him get back. Naturally, he was embarrassed, and before my Dad could say anything about the wreck my mom informed Dad that he was not to say a word to Bucky! Now, had that been me, I would have gotten a chewing out. Bucky was on his way to my secret spot, and that never was divulged.

The second story involved me and a friend from out of town. We had decided to park before I took her back to where she was staying. It had rained all day and was getting colder as the night progressed. Before I cut the motor off, we decided to see if it the area was too soft to stop. It was, and we were stuck up to the axle. The only thing I knew to do was to run through the woods to my parents’ friend Mr. Bobby Mackenzie’s home and ask for a ride. He was nice enough to do that and told my Dad not to say a word about my experience to me. He had my back, and I was thankful to Mr. Mackenzie for that. At 4 a.m., my dad awoke me and said, “Let’s go get that car unstuck while it is cold!” Not a word was spoken between me and my Dad until we got home. He was more worried about the young lady being safe than me. I assured him she was, and he never brought it up again.

This is something that that most young people did living in a small town, and I have worried about writing and telling this story about parking. We all did it, and, yes, we worried about others finding out. But we always stayed within the rules that every young lady’s parents had for her. This just was not talked about, and we never lied to them about what we did because they never asked, and there are some things best not told.

We still laugh about those days. Now there are more places for young people to go for entertainment. There was nothing better than the Parrish House, McDonald’s or the Armory for couples to go and have a good time. Parents still worried because they were parents, just like we do now when our girls/boys are out at night. Nothing good ever happens after 11 p.m.! We all have heard that!

They were the best of times with the best of friends and in the best of places, Washington, NC! The Original Washington!

— Harold Jr.

Harold Robinson Jr. is native of Washington.