Sunday, January 8, 1978
Three weeks at home, the holiday’s spirit, my family, and friends have done me wonders. My sickness disappeared. I had 4 TB skin tests taken, three came up negative, and one came up semi-positive. (Neah Jarrett died of TB) But Mom thought it was just nerves, and maybe she was right since most of my aches and pains disappeared while I relaxed at home.
The tribe is running out of funds, so college students were not given Christmas vacation jobs. I went to the center to inquire about a job anyway. I talked to Mark, and he told me to speak with Kibby. The summer’s fireworks I mentioned earlier in this book centered on Kibby. There was a scene, but it blew over, and we remained friends. She helped me a lot at Neah’s funeral. She feels something special for me, for what reason I don’t know. She hired me on the spot, though she wasn’t supposed to. Ben told me about the situation of the college students but said I could work ‘til the end of the week. I declined and worked only those four hours all vacation.
I went home on the weekend of December 1. The high school played the Alumni on the 1st. But I will talk about the basketball teams later. Mom held a party for the staff, and it was hilarious. I studied not a word all weekend and finals were coming up. I go through finals week with no snags. On Wednesday Mel had a BB game with Landgren Christian. I went up and saw her play. She came back to the trailer with me; I took my last test Thursday morning. The rest of the day was spent doing Christmas shopping and bowling. We went home on Friday, December 16th for Clallam’s Christmas Tournament. More on that later.
The next week seemed to last forever for my nieces as they waited in anticipation for Christmas. The big surprise came on Friday, December 23rd, Mom and Dad’s anniversary. The piano Dad bought for Mom was delivered Friday morning. Mom was so surprised when she came home at lunchtime that she almost fell and she began to cry. It was a very touching scene to witness. Dad, Mel, and Maria were all present. It was a great beginning to a beautiful holiday season.
The day before this scene, the house was full of students from Mom’s classes. It was Mom’s 3rd annual holiday party for her students. Over 100 students passed through our house. They ate, drank punch, played pool and played the TV game. All had a good time.
On Christmas Eve the Parker family had a progressive dinner. It all started at our house with hors-d’oeuvres’. Before we left the family sang as Maria played the new piano. We went to Auntie Joan’s for soup, and she served one of the best chowders I have tasted. Salad at Terry and Kitty’s followed. It was the first time I had been in their trailer. Its size and space amazed me. But the best feature was the stereo system. I don’t think I have heard any system that was better. Kitty put on the Manhattan Transfer. Mike danced briefly with Aunt Dorothy and with Patty; then hilariously, Patty dance with Joan Carol. Joan presented me with a problem. She has been messing around a lot and according to Dale has been chasing Henry. Now Dale has enough trouble without having Joan add to them. Having Joan around made me very uncomfortable. Putting that aside; it was an enjoyable evening.
The main course was a potluck at Grandpas. I skipped this to see the Presbyterian’s Christmas program. For me, the high light of the evening was seeing Lawanda’s baby for the first time. I had only learned that Lawanda was pregnant over the Thanksgiving Holiday, explaining her decision to go to Tacoma for school. When I returned on the 1st Mel told me about Lawanda’s baby’s birth. I was shocked. I figured she had a few more months to go before she was due. I felt terrible for Wanda for her trouble. Butch seems to care less, Wanda deserves better. Unfortunately, Wanda still goes with Butch, really steams me; Wanda meant a lot to me. I told her this through letters. What I didn’t realize was the weight I put on and how it’s made me look. She probably didn’t give two looks my way. Mom was worried about Lois getting into the same trouble, but I found out Lois is on birth control pills.
Lawanda’s baby girl, Nicole is a beautiful little thing with dark complected skin and a full head of long black hair. She’s a baby anyone could love. Lawanda is still young; at times may feel trapped by her daughter. Some members of the family have yet to accept their niece fully, but that will come in time.
Christmas was a happy, satisfying day. After the Presbyterian program, we went to Auntie Alice’s for dessert. Oh, that was so good. We went home to finish wrapping, went to the Community Hall for the Community Program. We went home again, went to Ruth’s for Hot Fudge Sundaes. We talked with the Buckingham’s, who are moving from California back to the Northwest. We left there at 11:50 PM, went home to prepare for the next day’s festivities.
Christmas brought a little sadness as I thought of Ethel and Neah. I saved the gift given to me by Big Jim for last and am writing this page with that gift. The loss of these two people has hit so hard, and will for a long time to come.
Now let me turn to something that has grown close to my heart, and a person who is becoming a very close to me as a friend. I am talking about Neah Bay Basketball teams and “Coach,” Ron Johnson. The first game was against the Alumni from the ‘70’s.
The opening game of the season on December 9, 1977, indeed was not a highlight for anyone except the JV’s. Matt Kallappa led the JV’s and Barry Mack, two fine, gifted players, especially Matt, won their Alumni game handily. Matt is going to be a player whose future should be something going forward.
The girls were beaten soundly by their Alumni opponent. Patti Ray, Rose Soeneke, Sally Thompson, Leanna Buckingham and Theresa Sawyer proved to be too much for the inexperienced high school team. Mel had a decent personal game, but could not pull it off by herself. Lois, Brenda Johnson, Margie Chartraw, Fran Parker and Willy Perry all very inexperienced and not overcoming Margie fouling out in the first quarter could not stand up to the test. The final score was 48 – 28 for the Alumni. The alumni had built a 15 – 6 early first quarter lead, getting 8 points from Sally. It was 23 –14 at the half as Mel had 11 of the fourteen points. The Alumni hit for 10 points, and the girls could only get 4 points as the score stood at 33 – 18. Free throws accounted for 8 of the girl’s 10 points in the final period, but the alumni struck for 15 points to put the game away. Mel had scored 18 of the 28 points, Lois had 6, Marge had 2, and Brenda and France had one each.
The girls were just not prepared to play an experienced team such as the Alumni. With only six players, and having Marge foul out early, made the members of the team play most of the game without rest. This team is very inexperienced, lacking in self-confidence and real determination. They are not sure of themselves and are hesitant in their play. They don’t look like they would go far, but only time will tell.
The JV’s ran their Alumni opposition off the court recording a 54 – 39 win behind the 20 points from Barry and 18 points off Matt. It was only 14 –12 in favor of the JV’s at the quarter, but the JV’s raced to a 35 – 16 halftime lead, allowing Billy Parker and Kevin Greene a basket each. They were outscored 13 –19 in the third quarter and the fourth quarter they knotted at ten each. It was no contest after the half. Paul Parker added 8, Mark Johnson had 6, and Ken Rhodes had 2. Kevin Greene tallied 19 for the Alumni. No one else could hit double figures. This JV team looked outstanding, high hopes for them!
Bringing us to the night’s Varsity game. The Alumni outscored Neah Bay in every quarter for an easy 87 – 49 win. It was a balanced effort on the part of the Alumni as they took a 15 –6 first quarter lead. The lead was build to 42 –28 at the half. Cubby Jimmicum hit 8 for the Reds, but Dobe countered with 11 points of his own. The game went the way of the Alumni as they outscored the Varsity 20 –11 and 25 – 10 in the 3rd and 4th quarters respectively. It was not a matter of who played this game as who did not. Gary LaChester, Mark Ray, Kimm Brown and Lester Moore all were not eligible. Mark and Gary’s absence seemed critical, and it appeared Lester and Kimm were not missed. The Alumni controlled the boards, penetrate the defense and dominated the game at both ends. Jeff Sawyer hit for 18 points; Ollie Kallappa 17, Bob Buckingham 15, Dobe Lyons 15, John Haupt 10, Dell Greene 7, and Jimmy Jarrett had 5. This team is a formidable group by any standards. Ronnie tallied 13; Tate 10, Cubby 10, Danny 9, Mike Edwards 4 and Brian Gagnon had 3. A balanced attack that would become very familiar to watch as the season wore on.
This game was one-sided as anyone who knew the players involved might have guessed. The Alumni had an outstanding team that would be hard to beat in any league. The varsity most likely suffered from first game jitters. Though they lost, I told myself that the Varsity could be tough against other high schools. I heard Kevin Greene say to Dick Lyons that the Varsity had “nothing.” But, I knew with a little work they could go far. One note, Jimmy Jarrett looked a little “chubby.”
The girls hit the road for their second game on December 14, 1977. They played the Grace Academy, to be known later as the Landgren Lions. The game was a laugh. The place they were playing at was in Kent. I met the team at Southcenter. From there we drove to the gym. At least that’s what they called it. The facility was at some Elementary school with a tiled floor. There were beams running cross width, very low making any high shot impossible. The court was tiny; there was not a scoreboard, cards with number sufficed. They played six-minute quarters straight through. The whole thing was over in less than 45 minutes. Neah Bay took a 6 – 4 first quarter lead on 4 points by Lois. The score was 10 –8 at the half with Mel making all 4 points for Neah Bay. NB outscored Landgren 6 – 2 in the third quarter and hung on in the fourth quarter outscored by 4 – 7, but winning the game 20 –17. It was not an impressive effort, to say the least Landgren should never have scored. It should have been a whipping on the part of the NB girls. It was all they could do to hang on; doing nothing for my feeling that this team would struggle to win a few games. They have a long way to go.
The Varsity’s next game was at Clallam’s Christmas Tourney against Belmont, a team from Victoria. The date was December 16, 1977, the beginning of a long winning streak.
This first victory was close and well earned. It also offered some surprises for me. First of all Mark and Lester were back. I expected Mark to start, but to my surprise, Les was a starter also. Not only did these two start, but also both turned in outstanding games. Les was the high point with 18, Mark with 15. Les was impressive both offensively and defensively. His shots from the corner kept us in the game many times. Mark, teamed with Danny started to get control of the boards that kept Belmont from getting more than one shot. Belmont built a 15 –13 first quarter lead and increased that to 30 –27 at the half. Belmont came out strong and built a 10-point lead early in the third quarter. But behind Les’s 8 points and Marks 6 points, Neah Bay ultimately outscored Belmont 18 –14 and held a 45 –44 third-quarter lead.
Neah Bay came out in the fourth quarter to build a 10-point lead of its own with less than 3 minutes to play. The score was 56 –46, but even though Belmont scored eight straight points, and missed a last-second shot, Neah Bay never lost it’s cool, played smart and won 56 –54. Belmont had some tall kids, but could only shoot 32% from the field and worse, 37.5% at the foul line, 6 –16. Belmont took part in a tourney PA was in a week before, PA with a new player and all-star for the tourney; Doug Manning had come in second. I thought their team was good, but our team was better than theirs. Neah Bay shot 26 – 63 for 41.2% and 4 –8 at the line Les had 18, Mark 15, Ron 13, Tate 4, Brian 4 and Dan 2.
I did not know I would keep score because Jean Johnson had done the Alumni game. I did the girls game, and Ronnie did the JV game. I walked up to Coach and asked about score-keeping. Jean was sitting one seat about the scorer’s table and looked as if she was going to do the book. But, Coach asked if I would, and I gladly accepted. We stayed after our win to watch Clallam whip Claremont and set-up a Neah Bay, Clallam Bay final.
Jim Reed, who replaced Mark Hottowe as JV coach took his team to Clallam to play the Bruins on December 17, 1977, the second day of the tourney. The Bruins clobbered our boys 47 – 32. Clallam jumped to a 12 – 4 lead and made it 28 – 16 at the half. Matt had scored 10 of Neah Bay’s 12-second period points. Neah Bay scored only 4 points to Clallam’s 15 in the third quarter and trailed 43 – 20 going into the final period. Clallam hit four foul shots, but no field goals as Neah Bay outscored them 12 – 4 for the 47 – 32 victory. Matt scored 15, Barry 11 and Paul Parker (Yak), Herm Ward and Bill Martin had two each. After the game, Ty Gill inquired about Matt, who was he? Who were Matt’s parents? I answered him, and he said that Matt was going to be a good player, I would heartily agree with this prediction.
Next up; the Clallam — Neah Bay final. Because I had to be there early for the JV game, I had to sit through the Claremont, Belmont game that Belmont won. During the contest, Jimmy Jarrett came over and sat by me, and we chatted a bit throughout the game. He and Michele have split again, and he went to the game alone. It was the first time we had made contact since Neah’s death. We did not say much to each other, though I was trying to think of something to mention all the while. Jim chose to sit be me, and I hoped that we could strike up a conversation and build upon a friendship. Nothing much came of it, though you might say it was a start. I had written him before I came home for vacation and had gotten personal again as I usually do in my letters. I gave my feeling in writing about his Mom and Grandmother. I asked for a picture of each and offered my help in the business. I was going to ask about that, but I thought that he might mention my offer sometime. He didn’t, and I did not get any pictures yet. Jimmy seems to be in a bit of fog with his life. I would like to help, but I don’t know how. It came time for the game, and I had to give up his company to keep score.
What a game this turned out to be. It was close, tense and offered enough excitement to last at least until the next game. Neah Bay won its first Christmas Tournament in something like ten years. The Red Devils jumped out on top and never lost the lead. It was a tight game throughout even if Clallam never led at any point in the game.
The score was 12 – 8 by the end of the first quarter. Each of the starting five scored a field goal, Ronnie, Dan, Tate, Lester and Mark mad four points. Clallam got 4 points each from Tim Van Riper and a newcomer by the name of Brian Watling. Neah Bay tacked on 7 points to their lead as they limited Clallam to 6 points all made by Tim Van Riper. Clallam hit only 2 – 9 from the field and the foul line. Neah Bay hit for 13 points in the second quarter with Mark hitting two field goals and two foul shots for 6 points. Lester added 4 points, Tate 2 and Ron tallied a foul ball as Neah Bay led 25 – 14 at halftime.
Clallam came roaring back in the third quarter with 19 points. They were 9 – 16 from the field and most of the scoring was due to Tim Van Riper’s 9 points. Neah Bay lost 5 points on their lead to trail the Bruins into the quarter 19 –14. Ron and Mark hit for 6 points each and Tate added 2. The margin was now down to 6 points and stood at 39 – 33. Clallam went very cold in the fourth quarter hitting only 3 –14 from the field. They added 3 points from the foul line for a total of 9 points in the quarter. Neah Bay hit for only 8 points themselves and hung on for the 47 – 42 victory.
Clallam came very close in the final minutes. Neah Bay kept itself together, did what they had to do and won the game. Lester finally sealed the game with two lay-ups he made by driving through the middle of an excited Clallam defense. Clallam got excited and blew many chances to get back in the game. The Clallam coach received a technical in the third quarter, and Mark made both foul shots. Neah Bay kept its cool and did not give the game away as had happened in the past. I was very excited about the team and the way it played.
Before the game I heard a referee, Hutchinson, tell Coach that he has never seen a better Neah Bay team play ball. Coach told him a little about his program, the new eligibility rules and how he makes the team go silent while on the bus to make them think about the upcoming game, I also overheard that Mr. Van Riper predicted Neah Bay would win. Everything was going well for the Red Devil team. It felt so good to be there to see them beat those almost hated Bruins. Mike Parker was at the game, and he too was very impressed with what he saw. Coach asked him what he thought about the game. Mike told him he thought he saw a team that was using its head and was thinking about what it was doing. Furthermore, it was a team that did not lose its cool when the game got tight. Coach said that that was the key. The team as a whole never lost its cool, though an individual member may have here or there.
After the game, there was a happy Neah Bay crowd. Both Mark and Lester received all-star awards, and Neah Bay had a new 1st place trophy to put in the case. Mom went to Mr. Van Riper to rub in the victory. I went into the dressing room to give Coach the final stats that were as follows: Mark was the high point with 16, Ron had 13, and Lester 10, Tate 6 and Danny 2, Kimm and Brian played but did not score. Neah Bay was 20 – 55 for 36.4% from the field and 7 – 9 for 77% at the foul line. Clallam was 18 – 49 for 36.7% from the two-point range but hit a horrible 40% from the line shooting 6 – 15. I heard Ronnie tell us who he elbowed Van Riper all night though Tim got 13 points. We had Tate convinced he had fouled out the night before, smiles abounded, and spirits were high. It was a tight, well-deserved victory. The Seattle Christian Christmas Tourney was next on the schedule. Gary LaChester was on his way to Indian Heritage, Neah Bay will miss him, but he is missing the chance to play on an outstanding Red Devil team.
The Seattle Tourney started out rotten for me. I was taking Mel, Lois, and Brenda to the game on Thursday the day of the game. The team had left the day before and had spent the night in Seattle at the Towne Motel. Mel and I had already decided that we would leave at 12-noon travel through Tacoma, and go to the Seattle Christian School for the 6:30 PM game. At ten o’clock Dad decided he could tear the Vega down and give me the head to drop off as we went through PA. We got the head off at 12:30 PM and did not leave until 1 PM I was furious at the time. We dropped the head off and Lois exchanges some clothes, and we departed PA at 3 PM. I decided to try to make the 4:30 ferry but missed it by only minutes. We had to wait for the 5:10. We were in Seattle by 6 PM and had a half an hour to get to the game. We would have made it if we had to take the right turn to Pacific Highway and then followed the directions we got from a Texaco attendant. He told us to go up 28th, go through a stop sign, go up a hill and the school would be on our right. We found a school all right, but it was blacked out, no cars were in sight, and it didn’t have a building big enough to be a gym. So I, in my infinite wisdom started hunting for it elsewhere. Ten minutes later we were back at the same Texaco station getting gas and asking for directions again. Well, he gave me the same, and I told him the school was blacked out. He said to me that Seattle Christian was down the road further and the “blacked out” school was boarded up. When we went by it a second time, I found he was right. I had not noticed it the first time, Lois and Brenda were going to suggest going down the road further.
We finally got to the gym, walked in and found that the score was 18 home, six visitors and the first quarter had only minutes remaining to go in it. We were playing Skykomish and thought Sky would be the home team and thought to myself, “Uh oh,” we are getting creamed. The opposite was true. As I sat down to catch up on the scoring, I realized we were leading and that this game would be a real laugher. Neah Bay had a lead of 23 – 10 at the quarter, mostly off of the 12 points by Ronnie. Ronnie and Lester had field days. Either Ron would steal the ball and lay it in, or Les would make a steal and pass off to Ron to lay it in.
The second quarter was quiet as both teams scored 14 points and Neah Bay was leading 37 – 24 at halftime. Coach began playing his other players like Matt, Brian, Barry, Steve, Cubby, Dwayne and Dave Morton all saw playing time during the game. Coach Ron Johnson sent his starting five on the court for the third period, and they exploded for 32 points, holding Sky to 12 as they built a 69 – 36 lead. Mark mad 11 in this quarter with Lester, Ronnie, and Brian getting six each, Tate tallied the final 3 points. Neah Bay coasted in the fourth quarter as the bench spelled the first five. They were outscored 24 – 20, but in the end, it was an easy 89 – 60 win. Everyone scored except David Morton. Ron hid 24, Mark 19, Les 11, Tate 9, Dan 2, Steve Cunningham 2, Brian 6, Cubby and Dwayne with two each and Barry and Matt had six each. Sky had only six players, only one of which was any good. Neah Bay was in the Championship game once again.
Mel and Brenda hinted about staying with the team at the Towne, Lois had run off with Stevie to stay at his Dad’s. We waited to watch the second game to see whom we would play for the championship the next night. I sat down in the stands next to Julie, and she told me that the Seattle Christian coach was once Ron’s coach. I then understood how it came about that Neah Bay had been invited to Seattle Christian’s tourney. Mel and Brenda came back into the gym after changing, (they were cheerleaders) and Mel told me about Lois leaving with Stevie and his Dad, making me a little mad, but I got over it right away. Brenda went to Matt and sat with him while Mel sat among the crowd. Tate told Mel to scoot over and sit by him, this she did, and it started a little relationship that lasted the weekend. Mel and Tate were going together in the summer and fall, actually since last spring. They broke up, and Tate is going with Darlene Elvrum now. During this weekend Mel and Tate were together, just like the old times.
I was telling everyone that Mel and I were going to stay at the trailer and the Johnson girls were to be at their Aunts. Tate, Mel, Brenda, and Matt all started campaigning for the three of us to stay at the Towne. Mel dropped a hint to Coach, telling him that we were going to the Towne. He did not say no, but he did not make an invitation either.
The three of us got into the car after the game, and I figured we could follow Coach to I-5 and head South to Tacoma from there. I followed him all the way to I-5 and got on it heading toward Seattle. I suggested that we go to Seattle so that we might take in a movie. It was only 9:30 at the time and the girls readily agreed. We got off on Seneca, still right behind Coach. While driving through downtown Seattle, Coach hit a yellow light, went through and I stopped at the red light. Coach got stuck in the group of cars waiting for the next light in front of us. That light turned green before ours, but Coach sat in the middle of the street waiting for us so he could lead me to the Towne. He didn’t know I could have made it on my own.
The three of us went to Coaches room. While waiting outside his door, Ronnie stuck his head out of his place. Someone shoved him outside, and the door closed on him. He was wearing only a towel. Someone came along and grabbed his towel, but Coach caught them, so Coach went in and gave them a lecture I assume. Brenda, Mel and I retired to Coaches room where I asked Julie about room rates. Twenty dollars was pretty steep, but I was prepared to pay it, though I was still undecided and had said nothing to the girls about changing my mind. We learned from Curt Ledford that Brian was sick, as it turned out he was afflicted with the 24-hour bug. Coach invited us to eat with the team at Shakey’s. So, we waited for everyone to shower.
I followed Coach to Shakey’s, and the two of us beat Curt even though he had left before us. Julie went around and got an idea of the kind of pizza everyone wanted. She then ordered eight large pizzas. I sat down and talked with Coach and Julie, while everyone else played the games the place had. Coach had ordered a pizza for himself, and I sat across from him as he ate it. I felt uneasy as I sat there and watched him eat that pizza by himself.
When the pizzas finally came, I ate only one piece, being self-conscious about my weight. Julie kept trying to get me to have more, but I politely declined. Coach told her that I was bashful. To a certain extent, he is right. I still feel uncomfortable among this group of young men. My problem is quite simple. I stand in awe of their athletic ability. I enjoy watching them in action, the teamwork, and the art of the sport they are playing. Their talent is three times anything I ever did. They work together as a team better than we did. This year they have an excellent chance to make it to the tournament in Spokane. But, I’d still be watching them even if they didn’t have a chance to make it to the league tourney that takes 4 of the five teams.
There are many reasons why I try to attend as many games as possible. First of all, there is my sister Melonee. She is a cheerleader and plays basketball and runs track. I don’t like to miss anything in which she participates. I am closer to her then either Lynn or Dale, and I hold a special place in my heart for her. My second reason is the players themselves. I’ve known most of them for years now, and it has become interesting to watch them go through what I went through only a few years ago. Sharing in their experience now is a selfish way for me to re-live the memories I have for my participation in high school sports. A third reason is our coach, Ron Johnson, or Coach as he is known to everyone, is a man who I have grown to respect a lot. He had become a friend when I needed on most. Neah Jarrett left a massive void in my life when she died. Coach has helped fill that void, one that will never be filled again completely. Neah had a passion for sports and gladly supported many sports programs. In this tradition, as she did, I will give my time and energy to help in any way I can.
Everyone had a good time; everyone got their fill of pizza, even leaving a pizza and a half to bring back to Brian. Mel sat with Tate, Brenda, and Matt all the while we were there, while I sat with Coach, Julie & Curt Ledford. It was an enjoyable evening, though it was now about 11:45 or later. I was tired, the girls wanted to stay, and I decided we would. I didn’t say anything as Tate and Matt got into the car. We followed Coach until we stalled and the car died. We pulled over, I restarted the car, and we got to the Towne minutes after everyone else. As we all got out, Mel discovered that she had left her purse at Shakey’s. I informed Coach of this discovery and Curt offered to take Mel back to Shakey’s to retrieve it. Brenda went with her. While they were gone, I decided to get a room. Julie told me to get one on their floor and have them put it on Coaches bill. I went downstairs, picked up a key and found out we were across the hall from Coach.
I went back into Coaches room took out a $20 and asked to whom should I give it? Coach said, “Keep it.” I asked how it would get paid for, how much we should kick in. He said, “Just rip us off.” Julie said that they were going to ask Shirley Johnson for some of the money they were earning off of the pinball machines at the teen center. If they didn’t get any, then I could pay them later. Mel and Brenda finally came back, and I gave them the good news. They were happy.
The girls didn’t get to see much of the boys that night. When they left to get Mel’s purse, it was 5 minutes to 12. The players had a 12 o’clock curfew, and many of them did not know we spent the night. Most of them were up until the wee hours of the morning, climbing along the ledge from one window to another. We were undisturbed and spent a peaceful night.
We started getting up in the morning at about 9:30 AM. We were all ready by 10:30 when Ronnie and Lyda dropped into the room and asked if we were going to the movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” It was at the King Cinema across the street. We said sure and were told to run our money to Joey Delgado who was standing in line for everyone else. I took the room key to the front desk as I was expecting to go home after the game. Mel and Brenda went over to the line, but by the time they got over there Joey had bought his tickets and was standing in front waiting to go inside. Brenda and Mel were told to get in line with Lester. We bought our tickets and cut into line with Mark, Ron, Lyda, Tate, Joey, Dwayne and Lester. It was bitterly cold outside, and a stiff wind was blowing. When we finally got inside it was a relief. Ronnie, Lyda, Mark, Les, Dwayne, and Joey all sat in a row, and Tate sat near the end. Mel, Brenda and I took seats a row back, but a section over. Mel wanted to sit with Tate, but could not get the nerve. I finally got up, and we all went over to sit with Tate. The show was all right, but it wasn’t what I expected. The plot was thin, but the special effects were significant.
Mel, Brenda and I went shopping downtown for Mom’s birthday. We finally ate around 3:00 PM, with poor Brenda, starving. We got what we could and went back to the Towne and waited there until it was time to go to the game. As we were leaving for the game, Matt got into the car and was sitting in the back seat with Brenda. Tate was on his way over, and Brenda told Mel, “Is your heart beating hard?” Tate got over the car, leaned through the opened doors open windows and told Matt he had to ride with them. Matt got out and left, and I told Brenda “Did your heart quit beating hard?”
We got to the gym and watched Landgren Lions beat Skykomish. We were going to play them the following weekend. Landgren won, and it was time for our game. Before the game, Russ Lance said a few words about Coach and how he once coached many of the team’s fathers. Mrs. Lance had bought a photo of the ’57 BB team, fascinating.
Neah Bay had no problem winning the game. Neah Bay jumped out to a 14 – 8 first quarter lead. Mark and Ron hid three field goals each while Tate added 1. Neah Bay hit 7 – 16 while holding Seattle Christian to only 4 – 14. The Reds increased the lead by 8 points as the outscored SC 18 – 10. Les canned 6 points, Mark hit for six more. Tate added four and Dan scored 2, Ron failed to score. SC was shooting only 4 -–18 while Neah Bay hit 8 –21. Neah Bay led 45 – 28 after three-quarters. The bench played many minutes, and our bench was stronger than theirs. Neah Bay outscored SC 22 – 15 in the fourth quarter. Mark was high with 18, followed by 14 for Ronnie, 12 for Tate, 10 for Lester, 5 for Danny, and four each for Brian and Barry. Neah Bay hit on 30 –75 from the field for 40% and 7 –13 at the line for 53.8%. Seattle Christian was only 18 – 70 for only 25.7% and 7 – 15 from the line for only 46.6%.
Neah Bay had captured its second Christmas Tournament and had a four-game winning streak. At this point, Neah Bay is shooting 40.7% with 116 – 285 from the field. At the line, NB is 28 – 54 for 51.8%. Mark Ray was leading the team with a 17-point average with 68 pts. in 4 games, while Ronnie had 77 points in 5 games for a 15.4 average.
The whole team was pretty well on a high note. I wasn’t feeling well, it was cold outside, and I didn’t want to make the drive home that night. Brenda and Mel certainly didn’t want to go home. Before we left for the game, Julie had told me she didn’t want us to drive home because she didn’t want to worry about us. Coach settled the matter when he invited us to spend another night with the team and help them celebrate. I, of course, accepted on the spot and the girls were overjoyed.
Matt and Tate rode home with Mel and Brenda, and I was their chauffeur. We checked in and were in a room with two twin beds across the hall from Lester and Mark among others. Mel slept in a sleeping bag on the floor while Brenda and I claimed a bed each. Seattle Christian did not have any shower facilities, so the team showered at the motel. Many players were running around clad only in their basketball trunks as they waited for the showers to come free. Tate claimed the bathroom in our room but was the only one who used it. I had Mel call home, and when she did, Brian got on the phone and chatted with Mom. Brian is undoubtedly one of Mom’s favorite students.
Things were finally calming down when Brenda came running into our room laughing her head off. Matt followed at a slower pace and told us what was going on. Matt and Brenda were sitting on a bed in Matt’s room when Barry walked out of the bathroom drying his hair and wearing nothing else. Brenda saw the whole show before darting out. Barry instantly covered up, but it was too late.
Both Mel and Brenda got their eyes full when they opened the door to our room and across the hall stood Mark with nothing more than a towel. The girls were having a time of it all right. Finally, having showered and dressed and all took off for Ivar’s for dinner. Once again Tate and Matt were our company. On the drive down Tate asked someone to point out a hooker to him, because, “I’ve never seen one.” We just told him that he could take his pick among any of the girls walking down the sidewalk.
Our car arrived at Ivar’s last. As we walked inside, we found the rest of the team standing in the foyer. We finally were seated, and the thing got a bit confused as everyone tried to find a place to sit. Mel sat to my right at the end of the table. Keith Ledford was to my left and his Dad next to him. Les sat across from Mel, Lyda across from me and Ronnie to Lyda’s right, with Danny next to Ronnie.
I could tell Les and Mel were uncomfortable, and I know I was. Lyda, never one to be uncomfortable calmed us all down a bit. She found a mask that Ivar’s gives to its children guests. Lyda put it on, and everyone had a good laugh. She wanted someone else to put it on so she could see what it looked like on others. Les and Mel refused, so all eyes turned on me. Lyda egged me on; Mel put an elbow into my side as she urged me to put the mask on, so finally, I put it up to my face for a few seconds. Lyda was not satisfied. She wanted me to put it back on and blink my eyes or something. I complied and roused a chuckle out of Lyda, Mel, and Lester, breaking the ice somewhat, and what little tension existed was eased. Ronnie demonstrated his ability to hang a spoon on his nose. I picked on Melonee like I usually do, and this seemed to amuse both Lyda and Lester. Mel was somewhat embarrassed, but she went on the offensive now and then. I would say something to Mel, Les would be listening, I would look at him, and he would turn away smiling. While Mel and I were not joking around with each other, Mel and Les found time to have small conversations now and then., this to Mel was nothing less than amazing. Mel has had a thing for Lester for years now. But, Les is a silent, non-talkative type. Les did not return Mel’s interest. I came home once, was talking to Mel and she told me she and Les have become “kinda friends.” We used to sing to Mel the song, “More, More, More by Abba and use to tell she liked someone, more or less, Lester Moore.
Way back when Robin Snyder was a cheerleader, she told me she liked, really liked a player from Quilcene. His name was Steve Handly, and she had a crush on him. After a game in Quilcene, I walked out of the locker room and ran into Robin. I told her that I had run into this Steve Handly guy and he told me to say to her that he liked her, putting her on cloud nine. I, of course, had not run into Steve Handly and in fact, have never talked to him in my life. But, my matchmaking worked. I went to the same with Mel and Les. Soon Mel admitted a liking for Les, but there was no response from Les at any time. No matter, the seed had been planted.
That’s one reason for an interest in Les. The second is Kibby’s attachment to him. Kib sees Les as one of her one children. Kib talks of him often at work. Les is slight of build, small in height, dirty blond, curly hair and has a determination almost unmatched. He is a pleasure to watch; though we are not very friendly off the court. I was surprised that Les was starting for the varsity, but after watching him play, I knew he would offer some exciting basketball.
Mel was surprised about how much Les talked to her. Later she told me that Les has never seen the side of us that he saw that night. I thought that this was probably true. Maybe a little friendship might come out of it. Mel was to see more of Les later that night.
Dinner ended, and we all packed up to go back to the Towne. Tate and Matt were once again our passengers. The streets were empty by this time. Tate asked where all the hookers were. I told him they were probably working. He said, “You mean they have night jobs?” I told him, no, but they were doing their job. It took awhile for him to catch on, but when he did he gave out a long “ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!”
Tate and Matt stayed in the room until about 1 AM. I finally got into bed, while Brenda and Mel hung around the door. Some of the players were playing knock, knock, so Mel and Brenda were going to be ready for the next knocker. Mel was looking through the peephole when she spotted the door opposite ours open. Slowly, Lester came out the door and walked to our door. Just as he got ready to knock on the door, Mel and Brenda flew open the door and surprised Lester, who happened to be clad only in his underwear. Like I said above Mel was to see a lot more of Les.
Coach came around to quiet things down. He asked the girls if I could take someone home the next day. I agreed, and so Barry and Matt were to ride back with us. Since Tate was going with Darlene, Coach didn’t think it was a good idea to have him ride with us.
Matt, Barry, and Brenda rode in the back, with Mel and me in front. I tried to get them to put someone in front, but they refused. We were to drop Matt at Aggie’s to meet his Dad, or over at Swains. We checked at Aggie’s, and Matt’s family was not there. We dropped him off at Swain’s, went up to Payless, back downtown and finally again to Swain’s to see if Matt was still there. He was, I couldn’t leave him there, so we took him home. I never found out what happened, but the weekend was over, and it came time to look forward to the next game.
Neah Bay’s next game was against Indian Heritage on Jan. 3, 1978, the day after the Washington Huskies great victory over the Michigan Wolverines in the 1978 Rose bowl. What a game!
The heritage game was going to be a strange one indeed. Gary LaChester was suiting up for Heritage, with the game at home; Gary would be playing on his home court in the wrong uniform. Neah Bay jumped to a 17 – 15 first quarter lead. I.H. connected on 6 – 16 shots from the field, while Neah Bay hit on only 7 – 25. Ronnie made 7 pts, Tate had 4, and Dan, Mark, and Les had two each. Stan Markishtum had 8 pts for I.H. and Gary had only 2 pts.
Neah Bay exploded for 25 pts. In the second quarter, but I.H. scored 26, and Neah Bay’s lead was only 42 – 41 at halftime. Mike Edwards scored 8 pts. To lead Neah Bay, Gary and Stan scored eight each to lead the Eagles. Neah Bay outscored I.H. 20 – 10 in the third quarter. Neah Bay led by Mark’s 7 pts followed by Les’s 6 pts. Neah‘s defense held Gary to 4 points and Stan to only 2.
The game ended with Neah Bay on top 83 – 69. A 21 – 18 4th quarter didn’t hurt. Ronnie’s 9 points led the way for the Red Devils. Stan scored 8 pts. Before he fouled out. Gary managed only 3 pts. On the night Ronnie had 21, Mark 15, Mike Edwards 12, Les 11, Tate 10, Dan 7, Brian 4, Matt 2 and Kimm 1. Stan scored 26 for the Eagles, and Gary collected 17. Neah Bay was 35 – 90 for 38.9% from the field and 13 – 29, for 44.8% from the line. Heritage was 27 – 80, 33.7% and 15 – 30, 50%. Both Stan and Randy received a technical.
The game was close most of the time, and Ron, Dan, and Tate lasted through the game with four fouls. Heritage wasn’t sharp, except Stan’s shooting. Five in a row for NB, 5 – 1.