Monday, June 10, 2013

Ghosts On The Football Field And Ghosts In Our Coach's Pants

June 10, 2013
   Like most modern citizens of this planet I like to think of myself as enlightened and well beyond the pull of old world superstition. I have no fear of ladders or Friday the 13th and I often go out of my way to step on cracks—but, I do admit to a fascination with certain numbers. I woke up this morning at 5:55. I'm not sure what it means but I did get kind of excited and actually got up to see what it might mean. For one thing, the coffee wasn't on, because it comes on at 5:30. So I went for a walk and it was still cool out, so maybe that's all it was, but I'll take it.

   As everyone here knows, I grew up on Route 66. Well, this year I turned 66 and I thought to myself if I'm ever going to do a book about growing up on The Mother Road, this should be the year.

   Today I read about the haunting of my old school. In the article it said that the population of Kingman is 66,000. A figment of the Chamber of Commerce's wishful thinking? (Kingman had a population of 3,300 when I grew up there AND it was at 3,300 feet above sea level) Or, another sign that I need to do the book. Or, perhaps a sign I shouldn't move back home because I'll mess up the Chamber's claim? 66,001 people live in Kingman because some old fart returned home.

Here's a couple quotes from the article on the Haunting of a High School:

Many in this Mohave County seat of 66,000, 95 miles southeast of Las Vegas, liken the alleged sightings to hair-raising tales kids tell around campfires.

But high school janitor James Miller believes.

"Some nights I hear footsteps. Last fall, I was [cleaning] in the girls' bathroom and I heard someone going into the boys' lavatory," he said. "I hear voices coming from some rooms, little kids mumbling. I can't really hear what they're saying. It's kind of freaky, but it really doesn't bother me. I just tell them all to go home."

In Kingman, a historic mainstay along old Route 66, there are other buildings with strange phenomena, such as weird knocks on the wall and glasses that spill by themselves, officials say.

"In any old town like ours, especially one that involved mining, railroad and cattle, things don't always go so well," said Diane Silverman, a supervisor at the Kingman tourism office. "People die for all kinds of reasons. And they don't all go away happy."

Indeed, America has plenty of so-called haunted places: old hotels, mansions, ships like the Queen Mary. But a modern high school teeming with teenagers?

Part of Lee Williams High sits atop the former site of the old Pioneer Cemetery, which spreads beneath a portion of the school's football field and a set of bleachers, near a memorial stone honoring the 350 deceased settlers once interred there — ranchers, miners, railroad men and Hualapai tribal members. Many call it the scariest place on campus.

End of article.

   I remember having freshman football practice on the grounds of the old cemetery. They were repairing the actual field so we had to go across the street to the empty lot and we hated it because it was full of rocks and crumbled headstones. Nobody was spooked in the slightest, although our coach, nicknamed Boach Caca, used to stand on the sidelines with his hands tucked deep into his sweatpants. That was kind of creepy, but other than that, no ghosts in the machine until now.

I was 33 when I had my first child, Deena Bell. This week she is expecting her first child and she is 33. And grandpa is 66. And what are we gonna do?

Party like it's 1999, which ironically will probably be when I finish the book on Route 66.

Meanwhile, the photo session I did with Bryan Black last month has been published in a local magazine and here is the cover with one of his photos:

Inside, are a couple more photos by Bryan and the cover story:

Check out the entire piece right here at ImagesAZ.

"My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot."