Lifetime friends and the crazy stories that go along with it

Mar 3, 2011
California's Central Coast Wine Country
I have the tremendous good fortune to remain in regular contact with FIVE friends I met in first grade. We grew up in the same neighborhood, went to all the same schools, etc. Three of us still get together with each other on a regular basis. We first met in 1959. We're talking 63 year friendships. Think about that for a moment.

Anyway, the five of us were group texting this morning. One comment led to another, one subject after another, one car or motorcycle story after another. Which led to me recounting this story. This happened in the Santa Cruz Mountains in California on Hwy 84; half way between the summit on Skyline Blvd. and the coast on Hwy 1.

Sports car country; I had my heavily modified triple carb Austin Healey 3000 BT7, my friend had his Datsun 2000. The year was 1973. It was 2AM in the morning, but let me assure you we were 100% sober. Truth!


Mike drifted wide on a corner and hit a concrete drainage abutment with his left front, launching his car into the air. I was right behind him and still have a crystal clear image of his disintegrating car airborne 15 feet in the air, upside down and sideways in front of me with glittering bits of debris sparkling in my headlights. I swerved left into the same embankment he hit, trying to avoid hitting him, but not hitting the concrete abutment. It launched my car into the air and I vividly remember seeing the roadway surface through my right side window. I came crashing down, right side up, engine ripped off its mounts and into the radiator, my left front suspension and wheel assembly completely torn off the frame. I ground to a stop 50 or 60 feet down the roadway (Jeff C. was in my car).

Dave was by himself in a third car, far behind us. When Dave came upon the scene Jeff C. got into his car and immediately left to get help. They were gone in 30 seconds. I got out of my car and ran up to MIke’s car. He had no roll bar and his car was resting upside down, completely flat on its hood and trunk. I vividly remember running around Mike’s car in circles with my hands up to my head, screaming and gasping. Both of them were most certainly DEAD! I ran around in circles 3 or 4 times in total panic, not sure what to do. Except for my screams and gasps there was dead silence.

I decided to try and get Mike out. I opened what I thought was his door. I forced it open, grinding it against the pavement. I vividly remember that grinding sound. Bizarrely, the center console light came on. Another vivd memory. I could see I had opened the passenger door instead of Mike’s. Jeff H. was still in his seat, his head smashed forward into the dashboard, blood pouring out of his nose and mouth, gasping and making death sounds. I reached inside and undid his seat belt and dragged him off to the side of the road, propping him upright against the embankment. I vividly remember recoiling at the sight, standing back and looking at him, debating whether I should stay with him for his final moments or try and get Mike out. But he was probably dead already.

And then I heard “SCOTT! SCOTT! GET ME OUT OF HERE!”. Mike was alive! I ran over and opened his door and tried to pull him out, but his left foot had gotten crushed inside the footwell and was trapped behind the brake and clutch pedals. I crawled up inside the car the best I could but there was barely any room to work. I vividly remember fearing the car was going to burst into flames - which to this day the thought I Mike being trapped in his car and burning to death right before my eyes makes me shiver and wince.

I was grabbing and pulling on Mike’s left leg and crushed foot, Mike screaming in pain but knowing it had to be done. No matter how hard I yanked and pulled, no luck. I finally was able to work myself far enough up inside the footwell to get to the brake and clutch pedals. I literally bent them to get them out of the way so his foot was freed. I dragged him out and sat him next to Jeff, Jeff still making horrible noises and surely just minutes from death. Jeff lived but had several broken ribs which had punctured his lungs, as well as several other significant injuries; but he fully recovered.

At any rate, we needed help ASAP, and Dave and the other Jeff were gone. But dumb luck had it that there was a dirt road right at the point of MIke’s initial impact. I ran up there thinking there may be a house. Now consider just for a moment, pounding on the front door of a house out in the middle of nowhere in the blackness of night at 2AM. A person can get shot for that!

No sooner did I hit the door a few times, the door opened and in the blackness someone shoved a phone through it and said, “We heard the crash” (IIRC they never came down to the accident scene). I quickly called 911 and went back to Mike and Jeff. Jeff as still unconscious and making horrible drowning sounds and Mike was in obvious shock but was SKY HIGH with frantic energy. The three of us sat there for 30 or 45 minutes, me trying to calm down Mike and trying to comfort Jeff for what were surely his last breaths.

Dave and Jeff returned after making their 911 call at Alice’s Restaurant. The CHP finally arrived, then an ambulance, and finally a flat bed truck. They loaded Mike and Jeff into the ambulance and drove off. Seeing things were “okay”, Dave and Jeff C. left, which to this day I don’t understand. So there I was alone with multiple CHP officers, asking me a lot questions.

By now they had loaded MIke’s absolutely DEMOLISHED car onto the flat bed. My Healey 3000 sat there all by itself in the darkness, bleeding fluids everywhere. Two hours passed and then a car appeared in the darkness. Another driver passing through perhaps? No. It was my Dad and Mike's Dad (we lived across the street from each other). I’ll never forget hearing Mike's Dad gasp out loud and drop to a knee, nearly fainting at the sight of his son's absolutely DISINTEGRATED car; nothing more than a chunk of debris strapped onto a flat bed truck.

My Dad walked over to me and asked if Mike was still alive. He was but had serious foot injuries that took over a year to recover from. I told my Dad Jeff H. was probably dead. I remember seeing my Dad walk back to Mike's Dad and speak with him for a moment or two. Then my Dad walked back over to me, so angry he said (exact quote, I’ll never forget it), “I’ll leave it to you to find your own way home”. And with that, they drove off to the hospital in Redwood City.

Finally, another flat bed truck arrived, which loaded up my broken machine. The tow truck driver was nice enough to give me a ride home.

Quite a story, eh?

I have been told by "professionals" that my vivid memories are a classic sign of PTSD.

And to think we're all alive and well, and remain close friends. We are blessed. In many ways.

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Everyone was fortunate that evening. Emergency response was not like it is today. Ambulances were called meat wagons for good reason.

I’ll bet the ambulance was a big Cadillac station wagon or similar with the rotating red light on the roof.

Good to hear all survived. I’ll bet that one guys foot bothers him when the rains come.
Wow, that was stressful to read, never mind to recount having been there. So glad that you are all alive and well, you are all so fortunate.
That's a great story. I'm glad no one was seriously injured.
My Army buddies remind me of the time they were to relieve me (it was their shift) from guard duty by them one night. I was so sleepy I just fell asleep on the catwalk of my Howitzer. When I awoke, I had catwalk grid impressions embedded into the side of my face.
:rolleyes: 🤷‍♂️
I’ll bet that one guys foot bothers him when the rains come.
I spoke with Mike last night and asked him. Other than his left ankle being larger and stiffer than his right one, he has no lingering effects. With all of us at age 69, other things are more bothersome; stiffness and whole body aches and pains leading the pack.

I don't think the guys will mind me posting this picture. None of us are on the witness protection program!

The only ones we've lost track of are the two guys on picture left and the guy with the glasses (their families moved out of the neighborhood while we were in grade school). Other than those three, all of us remain in close contact. Mike is the one lower right, smiling and looking sideways. I'm the one in the back row, second from left, looking at the camera.

Also, a picture of my Healey before its demise (it's BRG, not black). I have an old Polaroid picture of Mike's demolished Datsun 2000 but can't find it right now.

All of us feel blessed having these lifetime long friendships. It's one of life's jackpots.



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I have three friends from elementary school that I'm still close with, and 10 guys from college. I'm 45. Agree it's quite a blessing to have life long friends. (y)

No stories like yours though! Ours are mostly memories of good times, stupid fun, shared experiences, losing parents, etc. It's a cool thing to grow up, go to college, get the girls, start careers, have kids, etc with a bunch of great friends at your side. We're all busy and not in the same areas anymore but we still get together at least yearly, have those ongoing group texts, etc. Just went to Florence to visit one of the guys a few weeks ago.

Lost touch with a couple of college friends, but a few years ago I decided to look them up. Now I stop by their house and hang out for a couple of hours every summer when I go to the beach. Reliving the old days is the best fun you can have with your clothes on.
What a coincidence. I had a Datsun 2000 in 1973. 2 in fact for part of the year. Never wrecked them, but it was not for lack of trying.
Really glad your friends recovered.
I have a grade school friend who have I have remained in contact with over all the years. We also both went to the same high school. And one of the things that we've talked about over the years is the very unusual person who taught math at that high school back then. The high school was Carrick High School in Pittsburgh PA South Hills, actually Carrick. The teacher's name was Slavko B. Rajcic, he earned his math degree from the University of Zogreb in Yogoslavia. He told all the students that the Germans occupied where he lived during World War II, and one day someone killed a German officer so the Germans sealed off a huge section of the city surrounding the blocks of buildings where the officer had been killed and arrested everyone and took everyone to a concentration camp including him. He also showed us the tattoo number on his arm did the Germans had given him when this happened. After they determined who killed the German officer they released everyone else. That is when he decided that he did not want to live in an area that was occupied by the Germans. He knew that his best Avenue to escape was over the Swiss Alps using skis. But he had heard that the Germans had Patrols that used German Shepherds and those dogs were trained to kill anyone trying to escape. So he learned martial arts to the extent that he could hold his ski poles in one hand and kill and attacking German shepherd with the other free hand. When he had reached that level of confidence in martial arts he then escaped over the Swiss Alps, but did not run into any German patrols when he did that. He was an extremely athletic and very muscular person for his relatively short stature. One of the things he demonstrated to to the students you see would take a desk and place it so that it was not near any other desks and then he would stand in front of the desk which had a writing area attached to it and he would jump completely over the desk and land behind it the desk without taking any moving start for his jump.

The classroom that he taught at was on the third floor of the old school and there were still Wells that went down from there on both ends of the hallway actually four floors of stairs because below the ground floor there was another subfloor. He offered that if any student could race him down all four flights of stairs and then across the basement hallway and up the other side of stairways and back to the classroom faster than he could he would give that student an A grade. One day one of the students took him up on that offer and the student was getting ahead of him going down the flight of stairs so he jumped a half floor by jumping over the railing and won that race. Another thing that he did wants to demonstrate his athletic ability was believe it or not, he did pull ups from outside the building on the third floor windows by holding on to the brickwork at the bottom of the windows outside the building. Totally insane. That is a very tall building and if he fell off even though the area below is dirt and grass he would have been messed up for the rest of his life if he survived it.

I was in the classroom one day when one of the most unusual things he did happened. It was the middle of the year and we were getting our report cards and there were two students in the classroom who were football players. He said to the entire class that we have a problem. There are two students in this class who are football players and they have to get at least a c or they will be not eligible to play football. So he said, we have to think of something for these students to do to earn a c. He then addressed one of the students and said to him you have earned a d, so what can we do to make you earn a c. He then said oh I have it, and he turned around and took the chalk and scrolled a very long line across the chalkboard in front of the entire class. He then turned to the student and said if you look that off the chalkboard you get a c. The students looked at him for a few seconds and then got up in front of the entire class and licked the chalk line off the board, leaving a wet streak across the board where his tongue had licked the chalk off.

Rajcic then stood in front of the class and addressed the second football player. He said, you have earned an e grade. So we have to think of something for you to do that's even harder. He then said oh I've got it and he turned around and scrolled a chalk line on the chalkboard right down the middle of the wet mark from the tongue streak from the previous student. He then turned to the student and said, same place, lick that off and you earn a c. The student thing got up and lick that off the board.

That teacher was one outstanding character to say the least. I had to relay this story to my friend's wife because he had told her about this character that we had as a teacher and she was weary of whether he was telling the truth or not so he asked me to tell her also about this character we had back then as a teacher. By the way, one time he told us that he had invented and patented a way to tell if a tire was properly inflated by putting harder rubber outside the tires Edge aligned in areas so that whenever the tires properly inflated the edges of the rubber above and below the area that each of these hard rubber pieces were located would then alinghn properly. But he could not get any tire manufacturers to buy his patent.
I’ve got a few but not many since I’m still pretty young. One time I took my friends around the automotive school parking lot in the bed of my pickup truck and they were trying to act country and were yelling and everything nothing bad but it was still yelling and the assistant principal seen it and ran to the classroom to get the teacher to identify us and she asked who was driving they were quick to rat me out but luckily I talked myself out of getting in trouble. She was very upset with us. That’s the only time I ever got in trouble in my life. To this day all those boys are still my friends though. I personally think it was ridiculous she was upset about it but I guess we all see things differently. Especially at the time 16 year old me lol. I mean it was the last week of school let us have some fun. That’s probably one of the wildest things I’ve been talked into. My parents don’t know about it. I had to beg my way out of them finding out. She was ready to call them and I made up a bunch of stuff about how boys will be boys and then I think she realized how upset I was so she just gave us a warning and said if we ever done it again she would send the school resource officer after us. I’m the type that always tries to reason my way out of things lol. Most of the time it works. I would of probably gotten my license taken for a long time by my parents had they found out.

The rest of the stories aren’t as exciting as this one lol. Yours is the best though.
That is a great story, thank you very much for sharing. Well written, not too long and captivating. I just read this story, but was talking earlier today about exploring with my buddies when young. We did a lot of it and generated quite a few excellent stories. I even told one about a small motorcycle, my buddies, a girlfriend and some cliff jumping from Sun Rock, 42 feet down into the lake, and the trouble I got into.

It is wonderful to go through life with good friends. Like you, I was blessed with some of the best close friends a man could have. Unfortunately, all but 1 have died, the sole survivor suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke. I miss them all terribly, but am forever thankful for a lifetime with them. God, what a ride it's been. BITOG is probably full of similar "types".