As we entered the halls of Enterprise High School for the first time, we were listening to "All Shook Up" by Elvis Presley, "Wake Up Little Susie sung by the Everly Brothers and some Buddy Holly songs. Another big hit that year was Party Doll by Buddy Knox. Who could ever forget that one. Jerry Lee Lewis was still shaking and the age of Rock N Roll was deeply embedded in all of us. Then came "At The Hop" by Danny And The Juniors, "Tequila" by the Champs and that cheek to cheek song "To Know Him Is To Love Him" by the The Teddy Bears. There was Conway with "It's Only Make Believe" another song of young love and let's not forget the beginning of the Hula Hoop craze.

Then there was the plane crash that killed singers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper). That day was known as the day music died. But the music continued with "Stagger Lee" by Lloyd Price, "Kansas City" by Wilbur Harrison and that ever popular "Sleep Walk" by Santo & Johnny. The music was such a big part of life back then. I remember the music but not some of the people. I guess music had a bigger impact on me then. I remember carrying around with me a record storage box full of those 45 rpm records of my favorite music. If I went to a friends house, we had music to play. I would get them out at parties and sometimes come home with more than I went with. But nobody cared and it always evened out at the next party or the next after that.

What did I drive back then? Well, I had an old 1951 Ford for a short time, even a 1929 Model A 4-door, chicken top. I moved up in the world with a 1953 Studebaker then to a 1957 jet black Ford. I remember pulling up to stop signs with that beauty and then be engulfed with smoke from the engine, but hey, it looked good going down the road, lowered in front with those clamps on the front coil springs. I put a $19.95 conversion kit in it that allowed me to have a floor shift. Now that was "Kool" but it jammed a lot and I found myself laying prone on the ground under the car a lot with a tire iron to pry the shifting bars back in place so it would shift. But it was "Kool". I even had simulated tuck n roll seat covers straight from Western Auto and the fuzzy little stuffed animal in the rear window. Girls just loved those. I would have several in the trunk just in case they wanted the one in the window. Never wanted to run out of them. They came in handy.

The Drifters and their "Under the Boardwalk" melody, the Crystals with "Do Run Run", the Teenagers with their song "Why do fools fall in love", along with the other Doo-Wop groups and sounds of the 50's. This was us. This was something that no other decade can match as to memories. We grew up in the 50's and began life's challenge at the start of the 60's with the morals and convictions granted us by the laid back times of that decade.

The Friday night cruises were where we would all meet in downtown Redding waiting for the magical hour of 9 P.M. That's when everyone tuned their radios to KRDG, 1230 on the a.m. radio dial. This was the home of Jerry McGee and his program Jerry's Jukebox. This was the time the most popular songs were played and the time when the cruise usually began down Market Street, radios turned up full blast and the competition between cars got serious.

Stagger Lee by Lloyd Price blared from the open car windows mixed with hot-shots yelling for attention or some guy challenging another to a drag race. Those races took place later in the night out on Airport Road, east of town. Over the radio we would hear request by guys to their girlfriends in the cruise or the other way around. Every now and then you would stop at a pay-phone and call the radio station to put your message out to the one you loved at that moment, then get the ribbing of your life if your buddies recognized your voice.

Down the street we would roll, listening to the twangy guitar of Duane Eddie with "Rebel Rouser" and Jerry Lee Lewis pounding his piano to "Whole lot of Shaken going on" and all of us head bopping to the beat. This was the time to show off, to look for friends, make plans for later in the night, find a girlfriend or lose the one you had. This was our time and we never got bothered. The cruise was slow, a snails pace, allowing you plenty of time to chat with those from other cars and with the gawkers sitting on the high sidewalks lining the street. This was the 50's. This was our time to shine and we did. We did it in style and we were the champions of style. Or at least we thought so then.

After the cruise, many of us ended up at the U-Name-Us Drive-in on the Miracle Mile (North Market Street). We split up into smaller groups depending on style, convenience or party location. Sometimes a few would have to fight to show their manhood or their stupidity. Normally it was the ones that had too much to drink. Most often, stupidity prevailed. This was a side that most EHS students didn't see but it was there. Even back in the peaceful 50's, there were personality and turf wars. Maybe not as bad as you hear about in the inner-cities today, but we had them. Maybe it was just what I wanted to see because that was the exciting thing to do. Go out, drink, get drunk, fight and be sick. Where was my brain? Was this really impressing the girls? Yea right.

The mega-movie hit at the box office in later years was American Graffiti set in the early 60's. We were the original American Graffiti. We lived it with our own Drive-Inn like the one depicted in the movie. It was called Don's Drive-Inn, located downtown just off of Market Street with car-hops, door trays and all. This was another gathering spot for the young and restless to meet and exchange glances and if you were lucky, find a date for the night.

When you were through there and lucky enough to find a date, you headed for the Starlight Drive-in Theater where lots of popcorn was eaten, cokes drained and very little movie watched. The chances of seeing a movie all the way through was nil if you were anybody at all. Sometimes, you didn't even bother to put the speaker in the window. Who cared what the movie was all about. If your windows weren't all fogged up within 10 minutes after the movie started, then you knew it was going to be a long night and probably not too successful and you were going to learn a little about what the movie was about. .

The names of Denny, Fitzgerald, Wilhelmi, Moore, Arney, Hillman, Cleland, Russell and Guerra are now names of the past. The places such as Don's Drive-in, the StarLight Drive-in Theater, Dickers Department Store, Don's Studio, The Coliseum Skating Rink, Girimonte's, Jays, The Hub and the ever popular Cascade Theater and the balcony of sin are all distant memories. Remember the days of the $4.98 pair of Levi's, the 6 for a dollar hamburgers at Gene's Drive-in, the 30 cent milkshake and the gas wars that brought down the price of gasoline to .15 cents a gallon. The time of simplicity, a time to remember and sometimes wishing it could come back but really hoping that it doesn't. Why? Because we only reflect on the good times and try and forget all that was bad. The turmoil of maturing and the agony of rejection, the depression of being alone on a Friday or Saturday night. But because of how, where and when we grew up, we made a difference in this world. Some of our time are now leaders within the establishment, the ones that other generations look up to and wished they were us. We are the children of the 50's, the graduating class of 1961.