Those were the days before small towns lost out to regional shopping centers, when Sutherland streets were filled with people every night, but especially on Saturday night. That was when farmers and ranchers came to town with their families to shop and to visit. Everyone’s favorite pastime, it seemed, was to drive downtown early enough to watch the passing parade of friends and neighbors.
Months later when he was interviewing me to become a “printer’s devil” or his apprentice in the newspaper office, Waldo Warren, publisher of The Sutherland Courier, explained to me pointedly that “it is not the policy of The Sutherland Courier to ever publish anonymous letters.” Waldo left no doubt in my mind that so far as he was concerned the letter I’d written was not and never had been anonymous to him. I seem to recall that he had published my letter anyway, because he agreed with what I’d written, but he added a disclaimer and a warning about any more unsigned letters to his newspaper.
I was bored with school and became an unofficial party planner. If nothing else, I had plenty of ideas and was willing to share them with others anxious for a project, not always constructive. I had finished my four years of high school in three so I could get a head start on college. But I had not a penny for an education. I had never had any encouragement from teachers (except Beth Sarrah McNeel) to go on to college and consequently had no confidence I was even college material. If I were to be completely honest, my efforts to complete four years of high school in three was not so much to get an early start on college as simply to escape from the tyranny and boredom of high school one year sooner.