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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It was a beautiful warm Saturday in West Bloomfield......March 20th 1976. I was in my Tee shirt working on my 68 Chevy Malibu, putting a new fan belt on. My first car at 16 and I had plans with Mary tonight. Never understood that line from Billy Joel "Catholic girls start much too late....."

Yes it was an unusually warm day in March.......

To be continued.....
 

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It was a beautiful warm Saturday in West Bloomfield......March 20th 1976. I was in my Tee shirt working on my 68 Chevy Malibu, putting a new fan belt on.
I was probably zipping around in my 69 GTO that I bought in 73, also my first car. Those were the days and it no longer feels like just yesterday! LOL

My mom had a 76 Cadillac Coupe Deville and my dad had a 74 Cutlass S, similar to the ones in the pictures, except for in the coupe version.
 

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Ah yes, memory lane.

My first car was a '68 Olds 4-4-2. 400CID 4 speed car.

I still have a 68 4-4-2 to this day. Still with a 4 speed. I like to take it over to Harsen's and go to the School House Grill for breakfast on Sunday mornings and then cruise around the island.

I'm with you on the Catholic girls Chili. I thought the Catholics had great ideas. My mother raised us as Baptists and all we ever heard about was how we were going to burn in Hell unless we repented. I was trying to figure out how I was going to smuggle in a drop of water with me, to help ease suffering for eternity. Then I meet this Catholic girl and they go to church on Saturday night so they can sleep in the next day. They also can do lots of stuff that I was going to go to Hell for. All they had to do do was stop in at the church and say sorry I will try not to let it happen again and then it's off to the races until next time.

Memory lane, not bad. It's 5:30 in the morning here in China and I can't sleep. Reliving some of those days from the mid 70's is certainly working for me otherwise. In a few hours it will be back to reality though and I will be again reminded of what a big world this is. Probably go up over the top to get home today. Shouldn't take more than 13 hours or so. Until then it's 1976, Joyce has a brand new Farrah Fawcett perm and tight jeans. We are headed to Des Moines for a Heart concert. Some storms passed through earlier in the day but the folks out east can worry about that as I shift into third on Highway 65...
 

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Yes, it was an unusually warm day in March for Michigan.......I think up in the 70's. I had completed the work on my car and was getting ready to pick Mary up from her high school in Birmingham. Although it was Saturday, her drama class was practicing for a spring play. I have never really been a "car" guy, always boats. I purchased my first boat when I was 12. 3 years later I purchased a 1956 Chris Craft Ski boat from a guy that owned a restaurant by Cass Lake. This is when I realized boats were the E- ticket. Girls may want a guy with a car, but they will line up in bikinis for a guy with a boat even if he was 15. I met Mary, who was 2 years older than me while mooring my ski boat on Walnut Lake. She was waiting for her friend who had been out on the lake with me......and when I saw her.......she looked at me sideways revealing a bikini wrapped profile to take my breath away, if not all the oxygen from my brain. Her beautiful dark eyes and smooth olive skin...... We spent the rest of the summer skiing and floating around Walnut Lake....We would anchor at dusk and under the warm Michigan stars I would search for hidden treasures.
Fall came and she started her senior year at a private Catholic school and I went back to my high school. Bored out of my mind...... I needed to work on my ski boat. Perhaps I should have studied more, but I had two interests and they were not in the class room. Over the winter I decided to rebuild the transmission and put a new head gasket on the 6 cylinder Hercules. I had very little idea how to do it, but with a manual and tools where could I go wrong?

I had the boat in our heated garage and spent my weekends working feverishly on her. Every Saturday night that winter I would pick up Mary for a date and end up back in the garage, Mary reading the manual out loud as I worked away on the blue marine engine. As the evening got later we would throw a couple of bean bags on the back bench seat of the boat and place a little black and white TV on the engine hatch. Watching Saturday Night Live until time to take her home. It worked out well......we shared our dreams.....she wanting to go to college and make movies in Hollywood. I wanted to travel up the Amazon in Search of El Dorado.

The plans for Saturday night of the 20th were no different, except that I was anxious to get the boat done as the warm weather seem to be calling for an early launch. I hit the gas and felt the 396 roll as Segar's "Katmadu" played on the 8 track, heading east on Quarton Road.....with the windows down and the warm air and sunshine bathing my face. Life is good at 16 in SE Michigan.......

I picked up Mary and we headed over to her house in West Bloomfield. Her Dad was always great with me.....she said he drove a beer truck. I didn't understand how you drive a beer truck and have a big house on the lake and new Cadillacs in the drive and 3 daughters in private schools, but hey my interests were on something else. Her Mom always had a million hugs and was the best Italian cook......you never left her house hungry. Mary's dad always asked me what my plans were after high school and what college was I going to apply to. I always told him I was heading to Brazil and searching for El Dorado. He would smile and put his arm around me, looking me in the eye and tell me....."Always do what you love Chili and you will be a rich and happy man. Never work for anyone but yourself, never". I never forgot that my father, who was a Charter Captain and killed by the Cubans in the Florida Straights told me the same thing when I was very young. Mary's dad knew I had been working since I was 10 with a Pontiac Press, then Detroit News paper route. I started cutting lawns at 13 with a 21" push mower. By the time I was 15 I had 50 customers a week at $25 a crack and no car, but 2 boats. I walked and pushed my mower up to a mile to the jobs and worked my way back home. Many years later Mary's dad introduced me to a guy that owned one of the largest sanitation companies in the area. This guy had bought a 50 foot boat that ended up with the starboard hull side splitting apart at the waterline after a trip down from Mackinaw. I discovered her almost sinking at JB after his arrival. I took her up to Beardslees to be hauled and repaired. That was one of many events to turn me off from a very popular make of boat in the St Clair area. Stories for another time.

Mary's mom normally had dinner for us, but that spring evening they were going to an event so it was up to us to get something to eat. We always had Italian food on Saturday since her mother was from Italy, I suggested to Mary lets get a pizza and go over to the Orchard Lake boat launch and eat there on the rocks with the sunset. Normally I would order Pizza from Maria's on Walnut Lake Road, but since we were going to go over to the launch we decided to call the Galley on Orchard Lake and 15 mile.

While I was at Mary's, my mom called and asked If I would stop by a friend of ours and pick a item up. They had an 8 year old son named Robert and I took him out on the boat often as our families were close. Robert was a great kind, always ready for adventure. My mom told me Robert had a babysitter over, but to please stop buy and pick the item up tonight. I told her sure thing. Now Robert, according to his mom, had had a late lunch at The Big Boy, next to Farmer Jack. They lived just Northeast of the shopping center. At any rate, my little friend Robert put down 2 bowls of Big Boy Chili and a largeStrawberry shake.......earlier in the day. As the storm hit, something in his stomach hit and he told his baby sitter he had to run upstairs to use the restroom.

It started raining and thundering violently as we headed to the Galley, I had the windows cracked and the defroster on trying to clear the windshield. The closer we got to the Orchard Lake Road the stronger the storm and winds were. As we pulled up to the light at Orchard Lake, the storm was intense. I could barely see the traffic lights and I looked over at Mary, she looked at me as lighting flashed and thunder cracked on top of us, I could tell she was frightened. I remember the Eagles "Take it to the Limit" was playing on the radio as I turned into the Galley parking lot......

Mary decided to stay in the car because the rain was coming down so hard, with lighting crackling all around...I leaned over and gave her a kiss........I opened the car door and quickly ran into the store, looking over my shoulder I could not see Mary in the car through the down pour........I had no idea that was the last time I would kiss her in my 68 Chevy Malibu......
 

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I picked up Mary and we headed over to her house in West Bloomfield. Her Dad was always great with me.....she "said" he drove a beer truck. I didn't understand how you drive a beer truck and have a big house on the lake and new Cadillacs in the drive and 3 daughters in private schools.

Said might be the key word there!


Many years later Mary's dad introduced me to a guy that owned one of the largest sanitation companies in the area.

Hmmm? Being half Italian and growing up around Italians and hearing many stories, makes me go Hmmm again!


My late sister Denise Marie was working at the Machus Red Fox the day Jimmy Hoffa disappeared after last being seen there!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Something evil was brewing to the Southwest. By the time I had entered The Galley Pizza store it had already began its destruction. An F4 tornado has winds up to 270 mph.....and this one had touched down at 7:15 PM west of Halstead between 13 and 14 Mile Roads. traveling Northeast, directly to the intersection of Orchard Lake and Maple Road. It would run for 4 miles and create a path of destruction 350 yards wide........

I had our large peperoni pizza in my hand as I looked out the store window, and to my relief, it appeared the rain had stopped. I opened the glass door of the store, and looking at Mary I quickly ran towwards her side of the car.......and then I stopped. It was completely still, no wind, and a very distinct green color in the sky.

I believe Livingston described it best when he was attacked by a lion in Africa. He felt no pain, and a sense of euphoria as the lion bit into his shoulder and started swinging him violently. "It caused a sort of dreaminess in which there was no sense of pain nor feeling of terror, though quite conscious of all that was happening" He said.

I reached for the silver door handle of the car door at the same time I looked towards Belle Tire, then I saw tires everywhere in the air.....and heard nothing, as it was all in slow motion. Just as I almost touched the door handle I was pushed back.....picked up and seeing myself leave the car.....all was quiet to me. I remember the bright flash........

The tornado hit the intersection of Orchard Lake and 15, blowing apart belle tire....and the two gas stations, knocking down power lines and throwing cars throughout the intersection. It back a Winnebago camper and flipping it upside down pushed it through the wall of the Detroit Bank and Trust building....

The wind had blown me out towards road, and the powerlines snapped over my head, with the poles falling down......and one cross tree section of the power line falling and trapping me underneath on Orchard Lake road....and as my luck would be....two tires insulating me from the dancing live wire.......flying debris broke the windows of my car as Mary ducked down under the dash.

The Tornado continued to the Northeast destroying homes.......until it lifted back to the sky near Knollwood Country Club, just west of Inkster.

I opened my eyes......I saw her. She was soaking wet, her beautiful hair was tangled and wet, her yellow shirt glued to her chest, a bright light behind her.....She was crying, her eyeliner streaked her face, I was in an ambulance. She leaned down to quietly whisper in my in my ear, "everything is OK"

Very carefully, as I thought these might be my last words, I looked into her in her beautiful dark eyes and with all my strength, asked..."Do you have any pizza left?" She laughed and cried, as the Ambulance started swaying and bouncing on the road, as I watched her chest in her wet shirt and slowly closed my eyes to the vision of 2 puppies fighting under a blanket.....
 

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It was a tragedy. A young 15 year old girl was killed in the intersection when the car she was in was picked up and flipped over. Over 50 people were injured. Homes and businesses, including Belle Tire destroyed. After this tornado Oakland County developed the Tornado warning sirens you hear and see around the area. The first Saturday of the month for decades now they are tested.
As of this date, this was the last F4 tornado in SE Michigan.
 

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I usually order a Pizza every March 20th......

I remember the tornado......usually for a few minutes. Then my mind drifts back to the many Saturday nights on a bean bag in the back of a boat working Night Moves with a beautiful young woman........

Mary did move out West, and she is making movies. She has done well, very well.

Robert still has a problem using the restroom when it is raining out....other than that he is a well adjusted Lawyer. If there is such a thing.

And The ******.....well he learned something very important about romance that night.....

"Luck" is the Lady he loves the most......

Cheers
Chili
 

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When I look at this picture I see the Gremlin and think of the Oakland county child killings, but that's another story from my era.

Great narrative but I don't recall this storm. Could be I was up north at the time. By the way I had a 73 Dodge Charger at the time.

Sky Motor vehicle Tree Tints and shades Rectangle
 

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I agree with the other poster Chili. That's some good stuff.

Lady Luck is one to embrace for sure.

I saw your avatar. Did you get a new boat?
Thanks for the nice words....

Regarding the Avatar......I had restarted this month writing a few notes about the past 20 or 30 years.....and this avatar reminded me of the fishing boat I bought in Zamboanga.
I was in need of a stable vessel as I was planning to salvage brass shell casings from a sunken Japanese supply ship with my love Tzahala. She had a map but we needed a boat. The problem was it was not for sale, but after conducting services under the sounding board of an island Mosque in the manner of a Sunni Mullah, I was able to procure it for $20,000 and a promise never to return.

Perhaps next week I can start to post.....

Life and Times of Chili ******
Stolen Yachts, Island Ghosts, and The Devils Tango

I meant to ask you....
Do they have Lemon Chicken in China, and do you really get a Fortune Cookie with your meal?

Cheers
 

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I agree with the other poster Chili. That's some good stuff.

Lady Luck is one to embrace for sure.

I saw your avatar. Did you get a new boat?
Thanks for the nice words....

Regarding the Avatar......I had restarted this month writing a few notes about the past 20 or 30 years.....and this avatar reminded me of the fishing boat I bought in Zamboanga.
I was in need of a stable vessel as I was planning to salvage brass shell casings from a sunken Japanese supply ship with my love Tzahala. She had a map but we needed a boat. The problem was it was not for sale, but after conducting services under the sounding board of an island Mosque in the manner of a Sunni Mullah, I was able to procure it for $20,000 and a promise never to return.

Perhaps next week I can start to post.....

Life and Times of Chili ******
Stolen Yachts, Island Ghosts, and The Devils Tango

I meant to ask you....
Do they have Lemon Chicken in China, and do you really get a Fortune Cookie with your meal?

Cheers
[/quote]

I knew there was a story, and a good one at that.

Lemon chicken...fortune cookies?... No.

Nobody in China knows anything about that stuff.

Had a nice ceremonial tea outside the Forbidden City last week, discussing harems, concubines and what a great job being an emperor was... until you died.

You are wise to embrace Lady Luck...beware the Dragon Lady.

Brought home some nice original calligraphy and cheap electronics.

The world is a garden my friend. Nothing wrong with picking some fruit.

Knock off the sodas...that stuff will kill you.

Watch those left turns...
 

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Damn tornados didnt seem to care what time of the year it was, over the last year or so! I wonder where canaller has been, hope he is OK? I always enjoyed reading his posts too!
 
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