R E U N I O N

Churchill 40 Year Class Reunion
Classes 1967-1968-1969


http://www.churchillreunion.com/

Alex Blasdel
Alexander Blasdel
Alexander Zephyr Blasdel
Improper Wedding Etiquette
Kate Norton



Saturday, February 10, 2007

A Sixties Teenage MotorHead
Speeding Down Memory Lane


Thirty-nine years ago and it seems like yesterday. Last night was the Churchill-Whitman game and I had not been back to the school since a visit in 1969. By the way, for five bucks these games have plenty of action, great seats and offer a heavy dose of nostalgia sitting in the bleachers of the high school gym where you graduated almost four decades ago.

I decided to drive my old route to school from our former family home, through Potomac to Churchill. Coming from Herndon, VA, I go across the Cabin John Bridge, exit off on the parkway towards MacArthur. Brickyard is too congested this time of evening so I turn left on MacArthur towards Great Falls. 


I'm now reminiscing about the time spent in the '63 Chevy Impala Hardtop Coupe, 327 250HP, 4-speed Borg Warner, later upgraded to Muncie close ratio. Probably would fetch $25,000. I sold this car to Andy Hatch in 1968 and when we pulled the heads off, there was not a spec of carbon. Wonder how that happened? I always thought this car was faster than a normal 250HP and it turned out to have a balanced and blueprinted engine when Andy tore it down. He bought the car and put a 396 block in it. 

The Camaro, while acquired before graduation, never got to be utilized for school transport, due to a slight difference of opinion with the local gendarmes during several traffic stops and the attendant points kindly assigned by the Maryland DMV. In a unique and bizarre twist of life, I was repeatedly in the wrong place at the wrong time-- in a 32 day period, between June and July of 1967, I received four tickets, each one for three points. Walking for an entire year, including my entire Senior year in high school and living in NW DC while going to my final year at Churchill was no fun.  

The day I took delivery of the Camaro, Tod Theros, (red/black/black 1966 396/350 Chevelle convertible) and I took a cab to Rosenthal Chevrolet so he could drive it home for me. The car eventually did make it to the Churchill parking lot in the Fall of 1969 when I traded Mickey Curro for his TR-3 for a week, causing the reigning muscle car, a hemi engined Boss 429 Mustang, to be knocked off its pedestal when its owner backed down from a challenge to a "speed event." That Mustang is worth really big money these days, I'm guessing around $300,000-$400,000, only 1,359 were ever produced.

I cruise past Old Angler’s Inn, lots of memories there, none from high school though. Things look pretty much unchanged, I’ve been down this way hundreds of times since Churchill, but for this ride I want to be living in the past. Near Falls Rd. on the right, the Frank Lloyd Wright Wannabe development, Picasso Lane. Then Fawcett Rd., the street of Betty, Danny and Tony Hugueley, what a great shop Tony and his Dad had behind the house, we all knew how to turn a wrench to some degree, but these guys built cars and welding was one one of their specialties which saved the day for more than a few. One particular car, an incredible Cadillac
V8 powered (later upgraded to a Pontiac GTO block) Metropolitan named "Moma's Metro." The last time I saw Tony was at this house in the mid 70's, the family had moved out and he and Suzi (Reus) were living there. At Churchill, Suzi had a very nice 1964 Chevelle, maroon. I seem to think it had bucket seats and automatic with a console shift.

I drive past Chandler, Rock Run and Brickyard, conjuring up, Corky Fields, who had a 1965 GTO, John Webster and Buster Greenwood, who had a red 1962 Corvair Monza Spyder, one of the first production cars to feature a turbocharger. Buster married Marjorie Andrea in '73 and her first car was a brand new 1969 Firebird. Buster's dad was a master bodyman at Chevy Chase Chevrolet. Also in these neighborhoods Cheryl and Brian Thrower, Tony Kercoude. I’m immediately saddened because Tony was kia in ‘Nam. Brian’s gone too at a young age from a motorcycle accident. Corky was murdered in a robbery in Oklahoma in the early '70's.

Almost at my street, this particular spot on Falls Rd. marks the spot of the starting line of Potomac's very own dragstrip. From the the early 1960's until the Montgomery County Police presence became more prevalent later in the decade, there was actually start and finish lines marked and remarked in white paint on this section of Falls Rd. Also in existence during this time period was the marked off part of River Rd, out near Seneca that witnessed many contests with dozens of attendees, one fatality and numerous police raids.

Coming up on Alloway, I make the left. Going down the street, I’ve been here many times since we moved out, but it now clashes with my 1960’s memory. Quite a few new houses and something else is wrong, it’s almost surreal. What in the hell is different? It dawns on me that the wide open mostly treeless dairy farm that Miller built the neighborhood on now has lots of large trees lining the road and surrounding the homes. "Back in the day,” these trees along the streets, as well as those around the houses, were not much more than saplings so it was quite a bit more open. There is now a tunnel effect from the trees along the road. It takes a few seconds to adjust.

First house on the left, home of the Thompson girls, one went to Churchill for a year then transferred to NCS, can’t remember her name. Caroline? Carol? Or is this really a West Rockville Junior High memory? Now at Belmart, down to the right is Liz and Tommy Sullivan’s house as well as younger brother Michael, who was friends with my brother Bill.

Ahead on the corner, there’s our house. When we moved here Alloway Dr. ended about 200 yards past our lot and in 1960 ours was one of only five or so homes then built; the selling prices were in the $60-70,000 range. Belmart Dr. was just a dead end. 


The first motor-memory is of the old man's* 1966 Olds Toronado, first year of production for this car and an amazingly quick beast with a 425 c.i. 385 horsepower V8 that put out 475 pounds of torque. Curb weight was 4410, so in real use it got closer to about 5,000 lbs. Yet the performance was an astounding 0-60 in 7.5 seconds. With the front wheel drive and the huge engine up front, nothing could stop this beast in the snow. When this car was fairly new, on a rarely granted solo outing, I surprised the "Cadillac King" Tony Hugueley, by torqueing it up past the stall speed and smoking the tires for about 20 feet. Dad's ride before this? One of two, his-and-her 1962 Rambler American two-door sedans. What were they thinking? Totally kerfugly. Mom's twin in this crap car combo, thankfully, was later turned into a 1966 Cutlass convertible, so I could stop pretending I was reading the newspaper or otherwise hiding my face, whenever I was subjected to riding into town or heaven forbid, school. Another influence is from my sister, Barbara. These included a beau with one of the first Mustangs, albeit six cylinder three speed and another with a lunky Chrysler product whose saving grace was the venerable Hemi V-8 sitting under the hood. Also, another car that piqued my automotive interest, her girlfriend's Dutch built DAF with a belt drive constant-velocity transmission.

My brother Bill started out with a '72 VW Super Beetle and later graduated to a '74 Datsun 240Z and then went Euro with a Saab 900 coupe. Bill also introduced me to Formula 1 racing, having attended Watkins Glen several times in the early '70's. Since moving, I’ve seen this house many times and know that it’s been heavily redone, but that’s where I spent part of my life… uh oh, memories going on overload, have to move on. Next house is Laura Morgan’s. Uh...wait a minute… I lived next door to Laura Morgan? …and did nothing about it? What was I thinking? Brilliant. In any event, she had a 1966 Pontiac GTO convertible, burgundy metallic, black interior and soft top. Laura also went to the University of Tampa.

Further down,
one of the many Charlene Schmoyer houses. Mr. Schmoyer loved to flip them. Coming up the hill on the left, Elizabeth and Linda Haack’s home. Their Dad was President of the New York Stock Exchange, a great networking opportunity; except teenagers do not possess foresight. It was the sight of a great party where I first met the vivacious Kass Boyne (whom I'd love to explain the "dating" controversy to her with my version of events).

Straight ahead, Patsy Ackerman’s, taking a right on Stanmore, about four or five houses later is the home of our family physician, Dr. Vosger. They had a very nice 1962 Corvette, gold in color. It was the wife's driver and the good Doctor told me once that they probably turned down a dozen offers a year to buy it.

Up about a hundred yards I stop and look at a helpful thing for my past housing memories. On the left sits the former home of Time Magazine’s well known writer, Hugh Sidey. This house is virtually unchanged since it was built around 1962 or 1963. There are no two homes in this development that are even similar, but, much to my father’s anger and threat of a lawsuit against WC & AN, there are two houses in this subdivision that are identical. So while I can barely recognize my childhood home due to the extensive rebuilding, I have Mr. Sidey’s, which is a perfect copy, to reminisce on. Maybe I better get some photos before that one also bites the dust.

Next is Neil Brogger’s house. He went to Harker but not when I went there in 9th grade. Later he and I split an apartment at the University of Tampa in 1970-71. Neil's drive was a 1964 Triumph TR-4. Heading back to Falls Rd, still on Stanmore... hold it, something happened here at this house on the left. A party around the summer or fall of 1968 or 1969 and an altercation in which I’m involved; fisticuffs with Charee Speros' boyfriend. I end up taking her home. In 1969 I was lucky enough to go to every one of the Redskin home games, courtesy of Michael McFadden, who broke ground by becoming one of the first to use a van as an everyday driver. His brother Bobby had a very swift 289 Mustang Hardtop running a Crower cam, Edelbrock intake with a Holley 4 barrel, a set of Jardine headers, plugs fired by a Mallory dual points distributor; good for 300+ HP. Drivetrain included a Ford new process 4 speed driving a 3.90 rear, a set of Goodyear Polyglass Wides mounted on Astro 5 spoke aluminum wheels. This was also the car you saw in Potomac that always looked like it had just been detailed. Probably a $75,000 car today as the vintage Mustang market is performing quite well. Their sister Linda's boyfriend/fiance, then husband, Scott Stone, had a '57 Chevy wagon. I digress, the Speros Redskin seats were about five rows ahead of ours. However, not too much conversation became of it. Can’t blame her though, we were slightly on the rowdy side and conveniently on a first name basis with the beer vendor.

Back to Falls Rd, a good friend Willy Wilson’s house, home of his never ending build of a 1934 Ford Coupe
powered by a 1950 Olds 303 with a Borg-Warner T-10 four speed. Another driver he had was a low mileage and completely stock 1956 Chevy Bel-Air. I once stayed at his house for a week during an enforced "vacation" from the House of Pain and he gave me this car to use. I'm guessing $20-30,000 today. Also, his Dad, a Congressman from California had a friend that showed the group his 1966 427 Cobra. Probably worth well over a million. I'm going on memory because I missed this event so can't verify that it took place. Next door to Willy lived a willowy Katie Weisiger, I think she was in the pre-Churchill Richard Montgomery or Whitman crowd. Then the Sonley's house down Garden Way or was it Sonley’s girlfriend? Anyway there were some great poker games there in the early 70's, not of the dime and quarter variety.

Towards Potomac again... Burbank Dr. Not on the way to school, but a mandatory diversion for this Memory Lane trip. House on the left, Trisha Webb. Further on I know I’m going past Claudia Stewart’s house, somewhere, not sure which one, then Jeff, Sharon and Shelly Alexander, not Churchillites, though. One of the girls had a tragic car accident, if memory serves.

On the left Sallie and Wendy Coleman’s. Also, somewhere in here, I think further down, is Susie and Ginny Shipe's house, Taffy Kneipp and I think also Maggie Horne lived on this street. Some of the homes appear to have parcels sold off and new houses built. This, along with extensive remodeling, has changed the look of the neighborhood; my 1960’s memories are having a hard time coping. A great site for fantastic views from the air is Microsoft’s http://local.live.com/ . Incredible aerial shots that are ten times better than Google Maps. You can look at any point from four different perspectives. It’s like flying in low from the front, back and both ends over a building. Spectacular.

Now I come to 10824 Burbank Drive, one of my best friends of this era, Robby Danzi’s house. Incredible! The house and property are exactly the same as it was in the 60’s and an aerial view also shows the grounds are virtually untouched by any remodeling or additions. This house has a ton of great memories, I think there were periods where I spent more time here than my own house including an almost two month stint with the very gracious Mr. and Mrs. Danzi while my father was getting a Nevada divorce. This couple provided me with a reality check and reference point of what normal parents are supposed to be and it was always a refreshing oasis from my own semi-dysfunctional family.
Many great parties and the central meeting point for the many local car nuts, including a kind of 50's style car club, "Coupes Anonymous." Many automobiles come to mind, the Danzi's built some great machines. Robby’s white 1958 Chevy Impala with a tri-power 348, White Lightin’, a highly modified, track only, ’49 Oldsmobile and a totally driveable vintage WWII Jeep. He later replaced the '58 with a 1963 Impala SS convertible.

Robby's brother Rick dated my now ex step-sister Debbie Flavin
for a number of years, I introduced them on Christmas Eve of 1968. Her ride was a 1965 Corvette convertible, it was the 327/365 HP engine in Nassau Blue with white interior and white soft top. Having been originally ordered by a radio peronality/DJ, it had the "radio delete" option. Probably worth now over $100,000. She also blasted around town in her mother's 1969 442 convertible, double white with red interior, would have to bring around $50-60,000. My father sold me this very car sixteen years later in 1985 and it still ran strong. Interestingly, the day I got it from him was the very first time I ever drove it. I guess that one's not too hard to figure out. So with the Camaro and a 1965 442 I bought in 1971 for $900, that makes three I let go. Debbie, after she sold the Corvette, had a 1965 or '66 Mustang Convertible, six cylinder, automatic and not cheap these days either. It was a total repaint and thankfully a color change to dark blue, the car originally came from the factory in pink. I remember trading my Camaro to Rick for this Mustang for a week. Another gal Rick dated sometime prior to this was Kristie, who was Duffie Duckett’s sister. Their rides most of the time were one horsepower show horses. Otherwise, I think Duffie and Kristie's ride was a blue metallic '64 or '65 Corvair.

Ricky had an incredible 1962 Impala christened the "Moly Orange Crate," painted Poppy Red, a '64 Ford color which was chosen because it was a very close shade to Chevy's
orange engine paint called Chrome Moly Orange. White interior and a 4-speed Muncie with a Hurst Cobra sized shifter. It had dual four-barrel ram induction on a fully tricked out small block with a Crane roller cam. He gifted me a pre-license behind the wheel spin in this car for my 16th birthday. I used to have a roll of 8mm movie film of this car, sadly lost somewhere. Later, when he came back from ‘Nam, he got a very rare 1969 W31 Cutlass 2 Door Hardtop Coupe. I seem to remember at the time a conversation with his Dad, who was the GM of Paul Brothers Oldsmobile, about the very low number of W31's built in this body style. It turns out that this car was one of only 569 Hardtop Coupes out of a total build out of 913. Today, probably worth at least $100,000. Rick also had the first chopper I had ever seen, a 650 Triumph hardtail in gold metallic with an extended springer fork.

There is another car that came to this house that I’ll never forget. One Sunday, a “non-regular,”
Bryan Shaver pulls down the driveway in a Porsche 911 coupe . Even us go-fast-in-a-straight-line motorheads were impressed. It would fuel my post-greaser passion for imported sports cars, culminating in a stint of buying and selling mainly V-12 Italian exotics with world class vintage and classic dealer Ed Waterman's Thorobred Motorcars in Arlington. Thanks, Bryan!

Back out to Falls Rd. again. I remember a guy across the street from Burbank somewhere that had a, I'm guessing the year, 1965 or 1966 Pontiac Gran Prix with a 421 HO with Tri-Power. Word on the street was he changed the plugs in this monster every two weeks. Coming into the Village, first on the right is Potomac’s second shopping center, with a parking lot seemingly designed for hanging out, peeling out as well as toss a few beers, although we would alternate with the original across the street on River. This original shopping center has many more stories to tell than the second one. Next is the Amoco, owned by Jimmy Luehrs' father and my very first employment at the age of 15. Jimmy had a red metallic Pontiac and I'm not sure which model, I think later he acquired a T-Bird. This is also the scene of one of my major bad judgment calls; too long a story to detail, but the key phrases are: friend of a friend's white Corvette fastback, huge horsepower engine, no driver's license, no permission. There wasn't an accident or an arrest, thankfully. There was hell to pay, however, and a valuable lesson learned.

On the left is the former site of Homer’s grocery store (best beef in Maryland) and then turned into the Happy Pickle by one of the partners or owners of the Bagel Den, by the name of Mark, can’t remember his last name, but I sold him his first Mercedes, a 1972 280SEL 4.5. Hell of a car. The Pickle was “the” hangout place for a number of years. It is now an office building with WC & AN Miller as its main tenant.

Crossing River Rd. I decide to pull into the old shopping center. Mitch and Bill’s is still Mitch and Bill’s, the DGS is a new incarnation of The Hunters Inn, the cleaners is not the cleaners, didn’t notice the bank, but the Surrey is still there and Potomac Village Pharmacy, another great hangout when they had the lunch counter, huge memories, is closed down and getting remodeled into a Walgreen’s. I think the sign said it was to be a 24 hour version if you’re in the area and need to re-up the Lipitor.

Mitch & Bill's Exxon, it was
Mitch & Bill's Esso back in the day, brings back some memories. Mitch Mitchell and Bill Schumacher opened this place in 1949 and I believe Bill was just a teenager around eighteen years old. I'd say the celebrity Mitch most resembled was Fess Parker and had the charisma of Clark Gable. Mitch is still with us as is Bill and the station just had a reunion last year of Mitch, Bill and a lot of the former employees. There was always a great crew working there. Mitch's son Mike, a 1968 Harker graduate and who now runs the station, had a pair of Chevy's. The first was a 1967 Corvette Coupe finished in Sunflower Yellow and Black with a 427/390 and 4-speed, black stripe and Stinger hood. The second Chevy was a 1957 210 Sedan with 283 bored out to 301. I can't leave out one of the most memorable animals I've known, a dog named, appropriately, "Esso." A woman came in one day with a dog she had to give up and Esso became the station mascot for the next seventeen years. Never chained or leashed, he roamed his kingdom of Mitch & Bill's at will; he liked to bark on occasion and always came running when called.

I start back down Falls, darkness is falling now and I'm remembering what was across from Mitch & Bill’s was Mike and Louie Dunham’s Dad’s shop, Dunham’s Motor Service. A motorhead hangout the Danzi's introduced me to. Incredible place and Al Dunham and his brother Frank, along with the kids, could fix anything. Mike had a magnificent ’57 T-Bird, painted in Silver Mink Metallic, back in the day when these things were not the over restored trailer queens they are today. Another car that's now worth a fortune.

Also on the left just past Dunham's is 
Megan,Pat and Dennis Burke’s house. Pat and Dennis went to St. Johns; Pat dated Karen Lynch and Dennis dated Ria Difato. Pat had a very nice dark blue, four-speed,1966 Pontiac GTO. Further on, the big church on the left just before S. Glen, that road has a whole set of memories. I think Joanne Kurz lived near the corner. Another of my one date wonders. Coincidentally, we went to a party Rick Danzi was having on Burbank.


A little further down Falls on the left is Larry McBryde's house who I first met on the #30(?) school bus to West Rockville Junior High in 8th grade, 1961-1962. Larry has an incredible collection of vintage Potomac photographs, many of them posted on the Face Book page titled "Classic Potomac."

Cruising down towards the Normandy Farms curve, a bad memory… the curve though, not the restaurant; by the way, owned by Cheree Speros father. Coming towards Potomac one day, I was blasting down Falls Rd. with Jay Hughes riding shotgun and started to negotiate the curve. Surprisingly, the car started losing control. I had almost pulled it out except for the fact that a Normandy Farms patron coming in the opposite direction decided to stop, thereby occupying increasingly valuable real estate that I needed. Ouch! Nobody got hurt, but I got the ticket, higher insurance rates and about, in today’s dollars, $3500 worth of damage to the quarter panel of a less than a year old 1968 396/375 SS/RS Camaro. Later that day, seeing how I had pulled this feat off a few times before, without all the swerving and the car didn't seem to be driving right, I discovered that an added suspension piece, one of the traction bars, had broken, inducing a severe case of bad handling. In any event, it was the only time I ever saw Jay Hughes somewhat frightened.

Past Bells Mill Rd. The street of David Drew, Jimbo and Bucky Buchannan and Pete Garrett. Jimbo had a BMW motorcycle, the first real "motor"
I ever rode, when he lived in Daytona Beach along with Rob and Rick Danzi, Bobby Christmas, Kenny Lowe, Mickey Curro and Pete Garrett. Most, if not all were going to Embry-Riddle at the time. Rumor had it that Kenny Lowe once made it from Potomac to Ocean City in just under an hour and a half in his 1966 442 2dr sedan and zero options, even down to the small hubcaps. Pete Garrett, was a St. John’s grad and dated Joyce Woodward for a while. Pete's older sister had a friend, Vanessa, who was the sister of Trip Owen. Vanessa had a '63 or '64 Corvette convertible. The Owen's, well known restorers of early vintage automobiles, had some fabulous restorations and a collection of First Place Trophies.

The three Courembis brothers lived, originally, in one of these houses on the right just past the golf course. These were the first guys I met when we moved to Potomac. The only survivor is the oldest, John; Lloyd, rumor has it, died in Paris somehow. George is gone too at a young age. Lloyd was at Churchill for a short time, but surprisingly, was dating the very gorgeous Wendy Helm. Lloyd was also famous for a wild ride one night with one John Bontique. Too long a story to tell here, but the episode did appear in the Washington Post and involved police from more than one jurisdiction. Unfortunately for Lloyd's brother, John, it was his new Pontiac Le Mans they were driving.

Glen Rd. and more memories if I had time to think about it, but now I am upon Jay Hughes' house and even though it is getting dark, it looks like it is in its original condition. Another place of vast nostalgia; Jay’s father was the distributor for Budweiser for the metro area and always had a bar keg of Michelob on tap. You do the math.

Jay had an incredible array of machinery during his tenure here. One was an extremely rare 1962 prototype Shelby AC Cobra with a 260 c.i. that had a 2 bbl. on it, bought around 1965. In the ensuing years post-Potomac, I could never figure out this car. All the early Cobra's I had known and bought and sold were 289's. Later on, research did show that the original Cobra's were '62 models that had 260 C.I. V8, making this an extremely rare item, one of approximately 75 built in '62.

The single deuce carb is still a mystery, however. I can only guess that an owner prior to Jay detuned it to stop burning the tires off. Originally, these 260 C.I. cars came with a 4 Webber dual throat carb set up or one Holley 4 bbl., which may explain how this small V8 was able to take the twin 4 barrel carbs that Jay installed shortly after he acquired it.

I tried to buy it from Jay in 1981, but he had sold it to his Dad’s horse trainer, Rick Jacob's (Debbie Gordon's ex) in the late '60's and its whereabouts were unknown. I believe this car in restored condition would bring in excess of $1,000,000 today. This based on the fact that
the Hughes car is a very rare and Caroll Shelby's personal 427 Cobra brought $5.5 million at Scottsdale this year. Hell, my $3,600 Camaro would now bring close to $100,000 (due to four rarely combined options; 396/375 aka L78, the RS (Rallye Sport) and the SS, (Super Sport) ). However, at the time, no one knew what a baby boomer was, much less that they would be bidding up their teenage dream cars into the stratosphere. These things were just used cars when we sold them. I think I got $1500 or so for mine.

There is Tuckerman Lane and I take the right onto it.
I have double memories for this road. Besides Churchill, I also traversed it twice daily going to a summer session and full year at Harker. The school "buses" for summer session, prior to their purchase of VW vans, consisted of a fleet of government surplus 1957 Chevy's. John Cunningham lived off to the left somewhere. I'm reminded of a rather dangerous incident outside the Zebra Room a long time ago concerning a '66 SS 396/(hp unknown) Chevelle convertible owned by the older brother of John, aka "Lupe," who had a '71 or '72 Chevelle SS convertible, Cowl Induction and powered by a monstrous LS5 454 engine with gobs of torque.

I'm somewhere near what used to be the original entrance to Harker, but I think the school is now defunct. While at Harker that year, 1963-1964, someone stole the wooden hand crafted and painted "Harker Preparatory School" sign that adorned the front of the school driveway. There was a major investigation, threats of expulsion, etc. as the Headmaster, Col. Kieffer, was sure it was one of us. No one returned it, no one 'fessed up and no one ever found out who the culprit was, making for a very pissed off Colonel.
In the summer of 1964 Jeff Alexander and I were forming a band, on my first visit to his house, there’s the Harker sign in the family rec room, having been made into a rather nifty looking coffee table! Apparently his sisters and/or their boyfriends had "acquired" it somehow and also, apparently, some furniture building skills.

Going past Herbert Hoover, where a lot of Churchillites went, including my brother Bill. Up the hill and on the right Charen Rubin lived somewhere. Left on Gainsborough. Football field, parking lot… of course they changed everything, temporarily derailing the memory bank. The front of the building has been extended so the front lawn is gone and the circular drive now has just the top 1/5th or so of the circle. I park out front and go in the main entrance. Inside I can tell what looks about where the old building starts and I see about where the cafeteria was. Everything is new and modern, maybe some of the cinderblocks are the same, perhaps. The cafeteria is now a computer learning center. If those walls could talk! I think the gym is roughly in the same area, but it was 39 years ago.

 Whitman wins by one point, 42-41, action packed from start to finish.

After some post game conversation, I head on out and cruise the neighborhood, a lot of people lived nearby. I see Georgetowne Dr. across the street, which was an early morning pre-home room smoking (tobacco) hangout. I cruise down Victory Lane and other streets surrounding Churchill where Kenny Lieby, Tim Campen (I think), Stacy and David Apple (David also went to University of Tampa), Karen Kovar, Sissy Coiner, who I shared an 8th grade class with at West Rockville, Ed and May Biggs, Sandy Moore (major crush, totally unrequited, naturally) and Jimmy Bogley lived. Kenny Lieby and Tim Campen both had nice Ford Galaxy 500 coupes, if memory serves (and it doesn't all the time). Kenny also had a hot rod named "Granny Grunt," a 1934 Ford 2 door sedan powered by a 301 Chevy.


Jimmy Bogley brings back memories. I dated Debbie Lloyd prior to Jimmy and her marrying. I didn't get invited to the wedding for some strange reason. I think the church scene in the 1967 movie "The Graduate" may have influenced the parents; "ELAINE!...
ELAINE!... ELAINE!" Anyway, they get married, have three children, get divorced. Eleven years later an old college girlfriend of mine moved into an apartment complex that Jimmy managed in Bethesda and found out where Debbie worked. We ended up dating for a few years.

I couldn’t remember the Lloyd's street even though I’ve been there many times, so I can't find the house. I can envision the Lloyd's 1963 Chevy II convertible, white with a black top. Hard to forget when Bogley chased Debbie and I around in it for a few dozen miles through the back roads of Potomac one night. BTW, Debbie's sister was Dee Dee and I think the class of 1971. It’s dark and again the now grown trees have changed the look of this neighborhood also. I give up and cruise out to Seven Locks to head back to Virginia.

Down
Seven Locks Rd. Further up is Cabin John Shopping Center, home of three hang outs, The Bagel Den, Bambino’s and Peoples Drug Store when they had the lunch counter. Karen Lynch and Debbie Lloyd worked there. These were not major places for me, I was introduced to them because of Debbie.

I come up to Bradley Blvd, where I'm pretty sure the über fox, Peggy McFarland, lived nearby on the corner somewhere as well as the gorgeous Christine Collins, Further down are the neighborhoods of the Lampley brothers, Greg and Jim (not a Churchillite), the HBO sportscaster. Also Kathy and Ann Dieman.
Kathy had a boyfriend (prior to Jay Barr), Bruzzy Pitcher (prior to his Clydie Divver and Holly Hjertberg) who had a pair of 1965 Chevelles one with a fully worked 327. Very, very quick. Also a very distinct memory from this area: the Kerrigan's many incredible parties. I heard years later, I think the early 80's, from his brother EJ that Vinny had a rather unfortunate ending. Further on is the neighborhood of Greg Fuortes. I had some great times with Greg, including a wild road trip to Florida in 1969 and watching a memorable spin in his Dad’s XK150 Coupe on River Rd’s Dead Man’s Curve, the Jag going backwards at speed with all four tires smoking and somehow not hitting anything.

I'm now at River Rd and turn left to get on 495 and head back home.

Well, that was my long winded, rambling,
self-aggrandized, motorhead oriented, "reliving the sixties," road trip to Churchill; just a small fraction of many mostly great memories I had living in P Town. Corrections welcomed. Also, if anybody has photos of any of the cars or people mentioned, I'd love to see them. My email address is at the bottom of this blog page.

A note about my guesstimates on what these cars would be worth today: Probably on the high side because I'm basing it on the last time I saw the car. In most cases a car I saw in the 1960's would be not only in incredible condition, but completely original and with perfectly documented provenance.

*The term "old man" is generally deemed to be one of irreverence, in my case it is the opposite, as my father, a Naval Academy grad, retired with the rank of Captain. "Old Man" is the reverent name for the Captain of any vessel by its crew, not to his face, obviously.

9 comments:

C said...

Robbie, I found this by accident surfing the web.What a supprise!Thanks for the read down memory lane and the mention! Hope you are doing well.
Clydie

Rob Blasdel said...

Hi, Clydie! Hope you're also doing well. I'm doing great. Email me sometime: rblasdel@gmail.com

Christie V said...

Hey Blase! You probably don't remember me, but I dated, and subesequently married, Willy Wilson. We were married for 14 years and had two sons before divorcing. Reading your blog was quite a trip! I also found it by accident when searching for anything on Taffy Kneipp, who was a friend of mine in Potomac Elementary School. You and Lynne (Riley) Miller should get together to reminisce. As do you, she has an incredible memory of the days in Potomac. Lynne, Rob Danzi, Suzi (Reus) and Tony Hugueley....and Dennis Burke and me, have had a few mini reunions over the last few years when I've been back there on business. I plan to pass your blog address on to them, so you'll probably hear from them soon. Willy is married to his third wife and lives in Ventura, CA. I've been happily married again for 22 years and live in San Diego. Best of luck to you. Thanks for the memories! Christie (Hyler)

Rob Blasdel said...

Hi, Christie! I have been confused the last 40 years because your yearbook entry is "Sandra." Anyway, it's a little hard to forget you since I have a garter somewhere you used to own! And I remember that candles and veils don't mix!

Gerry Snider says "Hello" and corrected me that Taffy didn't live on Burbank, but out near the Norton's somewhere. I guess because she hung around with Sally Coleman is why I was thinking Burbank.

I'm sure you know about the reunion in June. Email me sometime rblasdel@gmail.com. I'd love to go to one of your mini ones sometime. Great to hear from you.

Lynne said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rob Blasdel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Hennessey said...

Hi,

Found your site when searching for the Happy Pickle. Thought I might know some people in your article, as I was into hot rods back in the 1960s. I was B-CC 1970, so I guess we missed each other by a couple years. Then I saw the pic of Willy Wilson's Olds-power 34 Ford. I once owned that car!

I saw this 1934 Ford sitting in a farmyard in Pooleville, with sheep all around it, and under it. I stopped and asked about it, and yes it was for sale. I ended up buying it. The title was still in the name of Robert Carlton Wilson, who must have been Willy's father. I wrote to him, and had him sign it over to me. Think this was done by mail, so I never met him. He lived on Falls Road. I still have a photocopy of the title somewhere. Probably around 1971 or 72. The car looked just like the picture on your site. I remember the ugly front wheels.

The engine, which I think was a 1950-ish Olds was locked up. I bought a 1956? Oldsmobile from a guy working at Day's Gulf in Bethesda. I took the engine out and put it in the '34. I took the rest of the Oldsmobile up to Beahm's junkyard, but they had just closed for the day. I was driving the long way home through Potomac (why? no idea), and ended up abandoning it in a parking lot near Dunham's Motor Service. The next time I was back that way, there was a bank there, instead of an Oldsmobile. I figured I must now own that bank!

Well, the engine was a drop-in, and it ran, but not too well, so I ended up putting a Chevy 327-350hp in it a year or two later. Also put a new rear end - think it was from a later model Olds, like a 4-4-2 or something - 3.23 to 1 ratio. Had to get a driveshaft made by Martin & Boyd Spring Works down in DC. This gave the thing some real top end. I drove the car all the way to Missouri. On the way back a couple months later, the Ohio State Highway Patrol clocked me at 95 on I-70. But the cop told me that he saw me slow down when I saw him on a bridge over top of I-70. He said "I figure you were doing 120, but the average through the area I clocked you (not radar, LIDAR or something like that) was 95. So I'm writing the ticket for 95." I didn't have hardly any money on me, so I couldn't pay the fine to the local magistrate. Since I was from out of state, they didn't trust me, and I had to spend the night in the Marion, Ohio jail, until I could get some money Western Unioned to me. I sold the car about a year later, but I don't have any idea of to whom.

Dave Hennessey
dave@toyhouse.org

Dave Hennessey said...

Continued...

Dunham's Motor Service - I went to some wild parties that Lou Dunham, one of Al's sons, had at their place on Glen Road - late 60's or very early 70's. Al had a building full of old cars. Outside, rusting away, was a 1928 Model A roadster pickup. I asked him if it was for sale. No it wasn't. I think I offered him $1000 for it, but "NO!". Years later, Al moved to Frederick or somewhere, and sold the land to a housing development. Around 1980, a friend of mine who was working heavy equipment called me and told me that they were building the streets for the development, and they found a Model A in the middle of this field. I went with him to look at it - it was Dunham's 1928 Model A roadster pickup. So I ended up getting it for free.

I drug it home. It got the starter rebuilt, ordered a distributor rebuild kit from J.C. Whitney, and rebuild that myself. Borrowed a carburator from a guy in Rockville whos dad had Model A's. Added gas, oil, and spark plugs. It started right up. Unfortunately, it was way rusted - the frame was rusted in half in one place. I ended up selling it to some guy who wanted the engine for an old airplane.

In the early 1970's, this guy named Larry Strouth lived in the first house on Falls going towards Rockville. Same side as Dunham's. He had a 195? Kaiser-Fraser Henry J. with a 60s Chrysler Hemi in it. He used to run it at 75 & 80 in B/Gas. Occasionally, he would pull it out of his house, and down to the intersection of Falls and River. He'd use the traffic light like a Christmas Tree, and practice his whole shots. He'd then just pull it into his driveway. I don't remember any cops ever showing up.

I didn't actually race out at Seneca, but me and friends were often out there. One time the cops came, and I ended up getting a ticket for "inadequate exhaust". In the space for "location", the cop wrote "River Road Drag Strip". I still have the ticket.

You mentioned a fatality there. Maybe not the same one. This was not at the drag strip, but more like around Poole's Store. There were 3 guys in a Porsche. The guy lost it, and went sideways into a guard rail. The guard rail went in the passenger door, and out the driver's door. Both were killed. My friend (Kevin C.?) was in the Porsche's "back seat", and was unhurt. But he had to sit there with these two bloody corpses until they could saw the car apart. He was never the same again.

Did you know someone in Potomac who purchased a 1970 Camaro with a ZL-1 engine? The ZL-1 was an aluminium block, and put out like 500 hp right from the factory. The Camaro was $3K. The engine option was $4K. He was a friend of a friend, and I went to his house once. But I have no idea who he was. Perhaps you knew him?

Dave Hennessey
dave@toyhouse.org

Byron said...

Wow. What a great read. Hard to believe it has been 43 years. Reading this let my mind roam and what fun. You probably don't remember me. I dated Sallie Coleman prior to Univ. of MD. and have been on quite a ride since then. Thanks for the memories.

Malon Metz