January 22, 1980 –
When the team came back, the plane landed at SeaTac Airport. Estimates ran anywhere from 10,000 – 30,000 in attendance to greet the Sonics. It was sweltering, with a couple of people giving out to the heat. The team, the coaches, the owners were all smiles. Everyone said a few words, and there was on a few words said. No one on the team was a great speechmaker.
The parade was watched by an estimated 250,000 fans. The parade route was surrounded by a wall of people. A few people from Neah Bay made the trip to Seattle to see the parade. There were so many people, though that glimpses of the team were ‘bout all they got for their travel. They also felt that even with only this small look the trip was worth it.
While the parade was a great outpouring of support, it seemed maybe a little contrived. Keys to the city were offered to the team, after all, it seemed they “owned” the city. Speeches were made all ‘round. And the gold championship trophy was given a great showing. Even better than the parade may have been the celebration beginning the night of the final win. People were riding through the streets honking, yelling, screaming, “We’re #1!” The raised index finger was seen everywhere the TV cameras went. This celebrating was more fun to watch, to participate in.
7) Valerie Scott was selected to represent Neah Bay at the annual Clallam County Fair. The Fair had been a sore spot in Neah Bay for a couple of reasons. It was a litter sorer later on. The Fair used to be held on the same weekend as Makah Days. We would not change the date of our celebration because of the history of the existence of Makah Days. I guess the fair did the same because of their tradition, but they finally gave in and celebrated their fair a week earlier. This eliminated sore spot number one.
The second sore spot came about a couple of years ago when the Fair decided that they wanted their Queen to be a member of the 4-H Club. This effectively eliminated Neah Bay and Clallam Bay from the contest. This decision was finally reversed, but it left a bad aftertaste.
When Valerie was selected, it was felt that she had an excellent chance to win. The last girl to win from Neah Bay was Cheryl Gorss. The previous Makah to win was Patty Smiley. The fair was celebrating its 25th Anniversary in Queen selecting, or something of this sort and had invited past queens to return for a reunion. They would also choose the next queen. Therefore, Patty Smiley, Valerie’s “Auntie” was a judge.
The night of the coronation finally arrived, and a good contingent from Neah Bay populated the grandstands waiting in anticipation for the festivities to take place. We had to suffer through a country western band. (I have grown to like country music) But we suffered through it in silence, with even a bit of foot tapping to the foot stomping music. The waiting can be unbearable. My sister Lynn lost out in 1968, but I was too young to attend. My cousin Maria also lost a couple of years back, so the town and our family were looking forward to a winner.
Valerie chose her brother Russell to be her escort, and this brought a bit of embarrassment on Russ’s part on stage. Russ was to have stood behind a chair that Valerie was to be seated in. Instead of stepping behind the chair he went in front leaving Val standing in impatience while he corrected his error. It did bring a bright smile from Russ, though the red face reflected his embarrassment.
I personally felt that there was no way Val could lose when I saw all of the candidates. Everyone else thought that the competition was the blonde from Sequim. When she became the 1st runner-up, our section breathed easier. Val won hands down. And while she was crowned Queen of Clallam County, her grandmother listened from her hospital room. It was a very gratifying week.
8) After the evenings’ festivities, I was to take off for home. Brian Scott had ridden in with me, but he slept almost the entire hour and a half. We arrived early and had to kill nearly 2 hours before the coronation began. Brian decided to stay, but Russell decided he wanted to go home, being the only available transportation he went back with me.
I mentioned Russell’s enthusiasm for football earlier. He was going to help the team with this alone. He wanted to win, he hated to lose, and it was a very positive attitude. Hopefully, it would be infectious. More about the football season later. This would be the first time I got a chance to talk to Russ, to find out who he is. It was an informative ride.
A little background is necessary before I get into the conversation. Russell became President of a group calling themselves the “Hell Raisers.” Some of their alleged members included Dobe Lyons, Lester Moore, Joe Ware, JR Johnson and John Haupt to name a few notable members. Some of the stunts they pulled may have included smashing of windshields of those jury members who put Dobe in jail. That is, it was alleged that the Hell Raisers were doing these deeds. Other than this rather sick display, other stunts were spraying painting their names all over and dropping their pants in public places. There was a streaking incident in front of Polly (McCarty) Thompson, and Marsha McGee reports being mooned by both Haupt and Dobe. Although the latter “pranks” seem harmless enough, if true, they too can be classified as sick.
These things were happening to a pretty good regularity until about mid-summer. Dobe had moved into the home of George and Rita Kallappa. With this, he became saved. Soon to follow suit was John, Les, and Russell, to be followed later by Brian Gagnon among others. They all now regularly attend the Assembly of God Church. The gang remains, but what they do no longer is quite as severe or occurs as often as before.
Val and Yo, sisters, talked about their brothers being saved. He reportedly asked them to turn off their records, the Bee Gees at the time because he called them the work of the devil. I admit Val & Yo may have overreacted and made this up or at least overstated it, but some of the stories seem plausible. He, Russell attended many Church Camps, and turning to religion may indeed be saved.
At least his life has been turned around. He had become one of the unfavorite persons in the family. His grandmother did not want him in her house. His Uncle warned him that if they ever bothered Kitty, he would not think twice about taking a gun after them. It finally reached the point where somebody retaliated and smashed in Haupt’s back window. The smell of fear was in the air, where would it end?
Is there a chance that these “boys” could have made a 180° turn as it appeared they did? It seemed very possible to me after talking with Russell for about 45 minutes that night after his sister became Clallam County Queen. I can’t recall what he said verbatim, but I do know that I was very impressed with where his head is at.
First of all, he told me that he had sworn off drinking. That in itself was an important step. The conversation progressed from there. I sure wish I had sat down and written about it when it happened. I’ve missed an essential discussion due to a lack of memory.
9) I’m going to regress a bit from the time of the above conversation to a Sunday spent with Stevie Cunningham. At the beginning of this notebook, I wrote a couple of pages about a conversation I had with Steve when he was in the hospital. I stated that he impressed me with his outlook on his attitude, with the person he showed me that he was. In stating that I wished him to be a pallbearer I said that we weren’t really close friends and that I hoped that this would change. The phone conservation as a step in that direction. A second came on August 12, 1979. (I was typing this on August 12, 1998).
I purchased two season tickets to the Seattle Seahawks. The first game was with the Minnesota Vikings. Greg Arnold attended that game with me. The next home game was the Dallas Cowboys, a Sunday evening game that was televised nationally by ABC, i.e., Howard Cosell; knowing full well that Steve was a Dallas fan I asked if he wanted to go.
I was at T-Bird when he and some other members of the football team dropped in. It was quite late as I recall. He talked to Ron about his knee and his progress in rehabilitating it. Steve wasn’t satisfied that it had progressed at all. Ron had him lay on the floor, and he ran the knee through a couple of tests. By this time there was only the three of us. Steve was getting ready to leave after Coach outlined a series of exercises for his knee when he asked Coach for change so he could buy pop in the machine outside. As Ron got some change from the till he asked Steve if he knew he walked in his sleep; Steve was not aware of anything about this. Coach told him that on a couple of occasions he’s seen Steve leave his trailer walk over to the pop machine buy a soda and go back, all the while being dressed only in his jockey shorts. Steve, as I was, was trying to figure out if Coach was telling a story or telling the truth. With Coach, you can’t say sometimes. Being undecided and rapidly turning red, all Steve could say was, “Really? Just my shorts?” Ron assured him that it was true. A very embarrassed Steve Cunningham left T-Bird.
I left at the same time, and before he started across the street, I asked if he wanted to go. He said yes if he wasn’t working that day.