Dad looked at me with an intensity I rarely saw at all, much less experienced anything like it being directed at me. His anger hit me like the solid punch in the face I would only be on the receiving end of twice in my life, and of course never from him. I never experienced even a strong slap from my father. My eyes began tearing up right away.

“These are NOT! Your friends Brian”

I tried looking at him but it was too much. He was so angry.

I could see that I was in trouble as soon as I turned up our driveway from Steiger road and drove up to the house. Dad was waiting for me in front of the garage, pacing back and forth. As I got out of my Malibu, I wasn’t afraid that he’d hit me or anything like that. But I still kept my distance as he shouted at me. Keeping the old station wagon between us.

My Malibu. Somehow, the old family station wagon I had inherited, was part of Dad’s uncharacteristic anger towards me.

As soon as Keith and I had it running, I was driving that rattling old rust bucket all over our little corner of the southeast Minnesota countryside as much as I could. There wasn’t much summer left to do a lot of driving though. I would soon be starting my junior year at John Marshal High that fall of 1975, but I was happy to finally have a car to drive to school.

My motorcycle was no longer an option after scraping the hell out of my knee, so I wasn’t going to have as cool a ride as I’d thought… but at least I had something. At least I didn’t have to ride the stupid bus. The over-all social benefit of having a car was on my mind of course but… so were girls. The old Malibu was no chick magnet but…

It was a car.

Of course Mark had the coolest car in my book, but he wouldn’t discover girls until senior year. Mark was too cool for girls, so they had to admire him from a distance as he drove his way cool 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado. And Mark didn’t just have any leather jacket, his dad had been a pilot so Mark wore his father’s old flight jacket and way cool shades.

I was far from cool in my car but I still got lots of attention. Since I was coming in from about fifteen miles north of town, a lot of classmates (guys and girls) started asking me for rides to school. It wasn’t long before my big old car was filling up more and more every day. Especially when I went to lunch.

John Marshal High School had an “open campus” in those days. The school day wasn’t quite as free of a scheduling system as the brand new and modern modular scheduling we’d experienced in Junior High, but it was pretty liberal. We could come and go from the school grounds as we pleased, as long as we made it to class when we were suppose to. So anyone with a car would usually go to town for lunch.

And I had a big car with lots of room to take lots of “friends” to lunch. This (I was soon to learn) was what had triggered Dad’s anger that day.

To be continued…