Memoir – Draining, Spraying, Stealing, and Hiding Beer

These are the collected memories of my spent and misspent youth. Names have been
changed as some of the people involved now live respectable lives and I would
hate to sully their reputations. At times I will take liberties as in who did
what, or maybe combine a couple of stories together that really didn’t happen
together. I am seeking to entertain, not write a documentary. Hope you enjoy

Draining, Spraying, Stealing, and Hiding Beer

Old Style Coaster

I am going to come clean – we drank some beer during the teen years. I can try to justify it – “it was a different time”, “we just didn’t have the awareness we have now”, “it was more accepted”, “we were bored”, “it was there, who else was going to do it?” – but it doesn’t make it right. But it did happen, and it did generate memories.

Draining – The Sandwich Fair officially kicked off the social season. Each year, right after school started , the fair went on during labor day weekend. Harvesting wasn’t really  going yet but much of the summer farm work was done. Great time for a celebration. The fair was also one of the few times you could mingle with kids from other schools. This didn’t happen much otherwise, towns kept pretty much to themselves for the most part. Anyway, we (when I say we, I know it was at least Cisco, Hymie and I, but I think there were others involved) met some people we knew and heard about a party out in Somonauk. We followed our new friends out there to find a small, quiet gathering of teenagers. We doubled the size of the party and tripled the noise. This little party has a fresh case of beer in the fridge, and we had brought along a 6 pack. We turned the music up, chatted the girls up, and managed to drain all the beer in the house in under 45 minutes. When it was dry, we left.

Spraying –It was winter and we had gotten a hold of two cases of beer. We had no place to store it, so we kept it in a cooler in the trunk of my car (’73 Sprint/Duster, trunk so big I could sleep in it comfortably). The party season was a bit weak that year, so we had no place to use it up. Over Xmas break we went to a basketball game. At halftime, we had the bright idea to go out and down a beer or two. Hymie, Spanky and I headed out to the car. We each brought a beer in from the trunk and we say three wide on the front seat. For some reason, we did the one-two-three- Open! ritual, making it so we all opened at the same time. Big mistake. The beer had partially frozen, when we opened them, they sprayed all over the windshield, the dash, the front seat, and us. We piled out of the vehicle and into the school parking lot, sprayed in beer. Not to be deterred, we laughed and took a long drink of our beers. Beer that has been through temperature changes gets skunky, and skunky does not taste good. Then it dawned on me that the remainder of the beer in the trunk was also bad. Fortune smiled at that time, as a couple of sophomores came by and asked, “Hey, you guys got any beer to sell?” We made them a hell of a deal, and $10 later they walked away happy.

Stealing – It was summer and our beer sources had dried up. We kept a multitude of sources, older siblings, older friends, girls that looked older… but we had come up dry this warm night. We heard about a small party a guy was having since his parents were out of town. The rumour was that he had scored quite a bit of beer. He was not part of our regular group, more of a rival crew of good timers. While we were not antagonistic with each other, we did travel in different circles. But, they had beer and we didn’t. Something had to change. We devised a plan. Three of us, with girlfriends, went to the front door. Girlfriends was critical, since their girlfriends would talk to our girlfriends and give us an excuse to be there. The door opened and the talking started. Soon, everyone was out on the front porch having a good old talk. At this time, the remainder of the crew snuck around the back of the house, went into the kitchen and liberated two cases of beer from the fridge. Once we got the all clear sign, the guys out front made noises that we wanted to leave, so the nice little talk broke up. Thirty minutes later, we were out at Buef’s house, sitting around a bonfire and drinking some nice cold beer.

Hiding – This was the year after high school on Xmas break. The first time we were all back together again since summer, and New Years Eve was to be our big time. Beav’s parents would be gone all night, so we had the blast there. It was cold and snowy that year. The New Years Eve temp was expected to be in the teens. We, being older, were more experienced and efficient at acquiring alcohol. We had a lot to be exact, and there were probably 20 of us at the party. We were having a great time, until around 1 am when a car pulled up in the driveway and Beav yells “It’s my parents, hide the beer!” We quickly organized a line of people who emptied the fridge and hauled the coolers out the back door. A few of us stayed inside to explain the cars out front. Beav’s dad was in the bag and his mom was feeling pretty good. They rambled through the house, on some unknown errand, but they made it clear that they would be leaving again. 20 minutes later, as they were headed out the front door, Beav’s dad yells out “We’re leaving, won’t be back until morning. You can tell everyone out back they can come back in. They’re probably getting a bit cold!”

I still say it was a different time then. Today, someone would snap a picture of this activity, post it, and kids would get suspended or worse. I feel bad for kids now in some ways, they don’t have as much room to make the little mistakes that helps to develop the judgement to avoid the bigger ones.

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