They Told Me To Go to OH
Back in the 1950s Oak Harbor was a combination of a Dutch Reform town and a navy town. The Dutch Reform Church doesn’t seem to be talked about as much now as it was then but Oak Harbor is still a Navy town with lots of Dutch influence.
In 1956 I was a junior at Vancouver (AKA Fort Vancouver) High School when one day my parents said: “You are moving to Oak Harbor Washington and will continue high school there. They owned a home and some property near Oak Harbor and my maternal grandmother and my brother had been living in the house for the past couple of years. My brother was buying the Oak Harbor machine shop and it never occurred tome to ask why I was all of a sudden going to live in Oak Harbor. At that stage of my life I understood our home was not a democracy. I had learned by a fairly liberal application of corporal punishment it was safer to do what I was told to do than ask questions. I could say, looking back I was raised in a dysfunctional home but at the time it seemed normal to me. TV was fairly new and we hadn’t yet been educated about what was normal and what was dysfunctional.
I drove my non-cool 1950 Ford two door sedan to Oak Harbor and became an Oak Harbor HS student. My first recollection of Oak Harbor HS was getting the opportunity to participate in a smoker. It didn’t have anything to do with cigarettes or barbecuing. It was an all school activity where students competed with each other. I can’t say what other students did or what the other events were because I got the opportunity to box in the boxing ring with Fred. I was told, or get the impression, Fred was not the first choice of a boxing partner by anyone with much intelligence. It didn’t occur to me to wonder why I got the honor of trying to stay conscious in the ring with Fred for three rounds. I did it and Fred won by a decision. I didn’t get knocked out but we both agreed afterwards we probably had suffered concussions. Not only was I not smart or quick enough to realize I should have thought twice before boxing a guy no one else wanted to box, I now realize, knowing what they now know about concussions, I should have been smart enough to lay down and take the count instead of standing there flat footed for three rounds slugging each other as hard as we could.
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