This story begins several days before May 26th. The boys in the class had talked of a senior trip to New Orleans. We had no confirmation from the H.D. until later. Johnny, Montgomery, others and I went down at the train station in Munfordville for some forgotten reason—I assume it was to pick up something for school from the station. However we started a conversation with the station agent about our senior trip. We told him we wanted to go to New Orleans, but H.D. had not agreed or disagreed. Well as it turned out the agent called a sales rep for L & N rail passenger service and the sales rep called H. D. Later the rep came school and discussed the trip with us. I guess H.D. was tired of going to Washington D. .C. The details were worked out with H. D.On May 26th our graduating ceremonies were carried out, of which I remember little. Marching in was about all I can remember. My mother and father were there with my girlfriend (my wife today). I was ready to take on the world.
May 27th I believe was a school day, but few of us actually showed up. One thing I remember happened that day or some time earlier. We needed money so I went to the bank with my father and borrowed $100. $25 was for past class dues and $75 was for New Orleans. Please correct me on the school day if some one remembers.
May 28th again was sketchy in my mind. I do remember I spent the evening with my girlfriend. My mother packed my suitcase, a large suitcase made of thin brown metal. The worst looking thing I have ever seen to travel with. The real action started at 11:30 CDT that evening. My mother and father brought me to the train station several minutes before the train arrived. The train arrived on time and 29 hart county residents left on a 9 day venture that holds a great presence in my mind. It was the first journey that gave an early an indication of how naive this eighteen year old from Hammondville, KY really was. I had never been on a train and I was excited. We were in Nashville quickly and there we had a two plus hour wait for something—I think a train from Memphis. The sales rep joined somewhere on the trip he may have been on when we boarded. He kept us informed on these matters. My memory of this night was I could not sleep. One time I went up to the restroom area that had a bench and tried to sleep on it, the light overhead was too much. Tried to unscrew the light bulb and burnt my fingers. At daylight I gave up. We were somewhere between Birmingham and Montgomery. The sales rep kept telling us we would make up time when we headed out of Mobile toward New Orleans. And we did; the engineer pulled the hammer back and we went across the swamp quickly. I remember standing between the cars where there was an opening, and we could see the swamps north of us. It was exciting even though I was beginning to lose stem from loss of sleep. We got to the train station in New Orleans at around 5:00 PM on May the 29th. The sales rep had five or six cabs waiting for us. We arrived at the St. Charles very soon. We planned a trip out on the Mississippi River via a paddle wheeler, The President. I had already told H. D. I was too out of it and wished not to go, but the trip was cancelled because of the weather. I went up to our room and conked out. We young men had two rooms Montgomery, David, Carroll & I in one room and John A., John B, Max, & Haven in the other. Johnny was supposed to be in with H.D. I do not know the young ladies sleeping arrangements but in Biloxi Mary and Lee Doris shared the same room, which caused some problems. I will explain later.
Saturday May 30th is very sketchy for me, but I remember going on a bus or streetcar through the city. We saw some gravesites and went through a section called The Gardens. Sometimes in the afternoon Montgomery and I went up on Canal Street and bought a dressy straw hat. Sometime that day or the day earlier H. D. made rule number one any of the young ladies leaving the hotel must be accompanied by some young man from our group. Wow, a guaranteed date! But the highlight of that day was going to the blue room of the Roosevelt Hotel for dinner and a show. Here begins my naivety it was very difficult for me to read the menu. I remember most got the special. The Show was Lou Parker and his wife Betty King, maybe Peggy King. I escorted Sandra to the affair. My fee was an ironed shirt. We arrived late that evening back at the hotel. My sleeping schedule had gotten back on track.
I do not remember the morning of May 30th. I do not think many went to church, but I could be wrong. The afternoon was spent on the paddle wheeler, The President; the boat we had planned to be on the past Friday night. I remember that I had some motion sickness. But one of my best memories is that of Haven rock & rolling on the dance floor. I was so surprised to see Humble Haven out on the dance floor. I did not dance but the dance floor was on the interior of the boat, and if I did not see the shore, I did not have the sickness. That evening I went to a movie with one other young man and two young ladies. I believe it was Max or David. The young ladies I do not know. Maybe Joyce and Doris? The movie was “Imitation of Life.” We were in early.
Monday June 1st, I do not think anything was planned for the morning. I went shopping on Canal Street for something for my friend in KY. I bought a pearl necklace and earrings, which she still has. That afternoon we went out to the Lake Pontchartrain Amusement Park. All I remember was hanging out with Cynthia at the park. As we road the bus back to the Hotel there was a man sucking on a bottle in a sack. Oh how little did I know what the future would bring for me later in life! Some did not take this trip out to Lake Pontchartrain Amusement Park they can discuss their actions because mine is hearsay. We got back to the hotel, packed our things, went to the train station and headed for Biloxi. I remember Mary was sitting beside a young man that lived in Biloxi by the name of Morgan. I remember because I asked if he was related to John Hunt Morgan. He said no. This guy was a trip folks. He asked Mary out to a dance club on Tuesday night. I will finish this since I am trying to keep chronological order. We arrived Biloxi about 8:00 PM CDT it was very dark. Some way I got hook up with Lee Doris and we went down to the beach, after several minutes of walking on the beach, we went to the pier and walked out onto the pier. We saw John B. and Janice sitting on the pier. We did not bother them. For some reason I got fearful of walking out where I had never been before in the dark. I asked Lee Doris if she would go back to the room. I knew it was empty and somehow I had the only key. I had teenage lust on my mind. We got to the room and I could not get the door locked. While I was engaged in my efforts to get the door locked Lee Doris left. The evening was young and I spread out over the White House Hotel. The use of the liquid psychoactive chemical was prevalent that evening. My intolerance of those using this chemical leaves me sad today, because I was wrong. However Johnny had indulged so much he would not go back and sleep with H.D. He ended up in Haven’s room so John B came to our room and slept on the floor. Sometimes during that night I drifted back to our room, and Montgomery was in bed asleep. His back was showing and you could have cooked a hamburger there. I wondered if we should get him to a doctor.
Tuesday June 2nd was uneventful until the evening. I borrowed H.D’s swimsuit and I hung around the pool a lot that day. There was a young girl in the coffee shop and Haven and I hit her every time we got close to that place. But she was not going that route. I believe Haven put more into it than I. Things picked up that evening when young man Morgan came to pick up Mary. They had to have a young man from our group. I was invited along with Lee Doris. We went to a dance hall on beach. Of course Mississippi was dry, so that means anybody could purchase drinks. I was bored as hell as then I did not drink nor did I dance. Mr. Morgan was dancing with both ladies and buying drinks. I have no idea how late we stayed out that night. The amazing thing was Mr. Morgan asked Lee Doris for a date the next night.
Some of our group found a place when you could rent motor scooters. I thought this would be neat for me to have one. I found the place and rented one. I knew I had made a mistake before I got back to the hotel. I took it back promptly and have no regrets.
Wednesday June 3rd is a blank for the most except for hitting on the coffee shop lady Haven had not given up. Some time that day H.D. had discovered we had some money left. Late that afternoon we took a bus over to Gulfport to eat. I have no idea what kind of restaurant. However I remember two things. Johnny and max followed with their scooters. Also, several of us went to the back of the bus and sat on the back seat. The black folks stood and said nothing. We stayed in those seats on the way back except the bus driver told H. D. those seat were for the Blacks and for us to move to the front and let them have their seats. Later back at the hotel, Lee Doris had taken so much flack from accepting Mary’s man. She decided to cut and run. Then he came to me wanting to know what was up. I was so happy to tell him I did not know. One of the three morning we were still sleeping and I awoke and H. D. was sitting with his feet on my & whoever bed telling us what time it was. It may have already been in the afternoon. Maybe that is why I cannot remember any of the days.
Thursday June 4th we moved all the young men into a single room for the day. We were leaving that evening. I have no idea what was happening on that day. I have two memories that I do not have a date transfixed in my mind. Johnny went to Haven’s room to sleep all three nights. He did not go to sleep with H. D. John B. came to our room. By the second night, John B. was getting a little perturbed, so Carroll got in the floor to take his place one or more times. Another there was an incident with the scooter that involved Johnny and Cynthia, very scary, but here again it was hearsay to me.
I hooked up with Lee Doris and sat in a seat beside her that evening. This time I was able to sleep. We went to breakfast in the morning. There was a lounge car there and we went back and talked to some snotty folks most of the morning. When we reached Bowling Green, all the youngsters were singing (the song I do not know). Soon afterwards the young ladies were crying, I made up mind I was not. Later Mrs. Hennesly was also crying. I became very sad. We reached Munfordville I did not want anyone to know I was crying. I got off the train walked straight to my father’s car and got in. Max had made previous arrangement to take him home. We stopped at the old Houchens store and I cashed my last $20 Travel’s check. I had spent $55 on the best trip of my life. As I write about the end of this trip I still become sad. A very pleasurable part of my life changed it did not end. It is never to be recaptured except in the most fond of memories.
The sales rep told me the two most interesting cities in the US were San Francisco and New Orleans. He thought San Francisco was number one. I have been to both I say New Orleans.
This is put up for the living members of the Munfordville High School Class Of 1959
They can join my site as members and post their memories as they wish. However they get spamed by Weirdharold on many issues they may find fault. Maybe the best is to e-mail me your thought and I will post as comment to your credit. You can print out as you wish. This will be a collection point for all thoughts