Billy Driving

Billy Driving

Wally Wrote:
John, et al — so sorry that I haven’t replied sooner.  Alas, I am not able to attend the latest Cow Girl round-up.  But I wish I could be part of any discussion about Billy.  He was my advisor for three years, and although I didn’t realize this until much later in my life, his wisdom and gentle take on everything was a calming influence for me.  Most of the time we had our weekly sessions getting into his car (he bought a new Pontiac Chieftain, as I recall) and driving on those (at that time) empty rural roads.  Ultimate destination?  Returning to Manumit safely.  Does anyone out there have memories about Billy’s driving prowess?  Swaying down the lane, leaning to the left, now leaning to the right.  I love that man…

Robert Dean Wrote:
I too will not attend the round-up. Wallace’s comments about Billie’s driving trigger my own thoughts about this abstract mind that used the roadways in total as his own. Why follow the right side when you can go around the corner hugging the left side and cut your time. He used to scare us when we were dumb enough or forced to ride with him. It was during our teenage years and boys can be very cruel. He bought a very small sedan that barely fitted him and if critical we could squeeze one other person in it. Since it was so small and had a very weak engine, we would sneak up behind him after he got in the car and held on to the back bumper so that the car could not move. When he would get out to look we took off. Being a good sport that he was, he never complained but went along with the joke. I hope there will be another reunion soon and maybe up in CT, MA or NH. It is exciting for me to reunite with a number of my old class mates who I haven’t seen or heard from in some cases over 70 years. Now that is a long time!! I would love to hear from anyone who is still kicking.

Robert Dean Wrote:
I hope you don’t take my stories too serious. He was an outstanding person and he provided an incredible experience for my brother and me. When we were in Meadow Brook during the last years at Pawling, he taught us about the beauty and depth of poetry by encouraging us to read every morning during English class. We were required to read something that we could choose. Then we would discuss it in detail. I still enjoy poetry because of his teachings. His educational ideas were way ahead of his time. His one major weakness was his lack of business sense. He ran the school on a shoe string and always needed financial help. Your email doesn’t say who you are and what your relationship was with Billie. I would love to hear from you with some of these details.

Craig Work Wrote:
That small car was a Willys, as I remember, and I also remember that it was placed on a front porch one night.   Luckily, I never did drive with Billy. Craig Work

Ray Raphael Wrote:
Unfortunately, somehow I never got to know Billy, nor ever heard of his driving skills.  What I do remember most of him though was his standing up front in our assemblies leading us in song–with such an enjoying broad smile and faraway look, face seeming to be looking at heaven and hand waving, waving………………and when he came to that place in The Golden Vanity………”and with his_____and _____, in the side he bored holes three”, he always made a funny turning motion with his hands that I didn’t understand.  It was many years later when  I started to search and collect the words of the Manumit songs, that fragments of kept popping into my head, I realized he was drilling!

best to all,
Ray Raphael

Ira Deutsch Wrote:
n 1950,  I made several trips to NYC with Billy and Bunny Brown to rehearse for Billy’s illfated TV show; Uncle Billy’s Treasure Chest. I do not recall anything unusual about his driving.  That being said I was only eleven!

Joyce Brown Wrote:
I remember the boys of our group at Broad Meadows all 13 or so of them, piling out of Billy’s tiny car. There is “home” movie of that event somewhere.

Barbara Dutton:
I
t was a Crosley – blue. He bought it because of gas rationing. It probably had one cylinder and got terrific mileage. A very funny match – little car and big Billy. I wasn’t much of a driver myself and didn’r notice his driving. Do recall driving to Pawling with him for an ice cream soda and a “talk…the bitter with the sweet.   “Barbara

Klaus Breibarth Wrote:
Yes, I remember that little Crosley–  it was moonless night…Punky Courson and few other muscled kids moved the car–one of the guys put it in neutral and all pushed the Crosley to the barn.  I didn’t see Billy’s reaction but Crosley and Billy were united later that morning. No harm done, but a great deal of excitement at breakdfast time. Klaus B.

Robert Dean Wrote:
You are right. We also brought it to the barn behind the main house where we stored all of our luggage and hid it under the suit cases. Billie went crazy trying to find it. Finally one of the girls told him. We would also jack up the back end just enough so he couldn’t see but enough so it wouldn’t touch the ground. He would spin his wheels and finally realize he had been had again. God we were bad!!

Robert Dean Wrote:
I too will not attend the round-up. Wallace’s comments about Billie’s driving trigger my own thoughts about this abstract mind that used the roadways in total as his own. Why follow the right side when you can go around the corner hugging the left side and cut your time. He used to scare us when we were dumb enough or forced to ride with him. It was during our teenage years and boys can be very cruel. He bought a very small sedan that barely fitted him and if critical we could squeeze one other person in it. Since it was so small and had a very weak engine, we would sneak up behind him after he got in the car and held on to the back bumper so that the car could not move. When he would get out to look we took off. Being a good sport that he was, he never complained but went along with the joke. I hope there will be another reunion soon and maybe up in CT, MA or NH. It is exciting for me to reunite with a number of my old class mates who I haven’t seen or heard from in some cases over 70 years. Now that is a long time!! I would love to hear from anyone who is still kicking.

Robert Dean Wrote:
Lindy as I knew him did not drive while we were at Cambridge School or even the first summer camp in PA. I worked with him and others that summer while waiting to be drafted. I avoided the draft in August because the camp was quarantined for polio since we had six cases. That was the start of the PA operation and it was total bedlum.

John Kramer Wrote:
What a beautiful conflation! Pawling and Pennsylvania joined in a magical realism of tiny cars that can be held in place by children and Pontiac Chieftans. Billy’s driving skill seems to be described by our own responses to the man himself. In my case he was a slightly goofy, gentle soul, and like Wal I had no idea of his dedication and genius till years later.  I never drove with Billy. My mentor and driving instructor was that Yalie, Lindlof. Mechanicsville Road was the course though an actual license did not seem to be the goal.  See you Friday, JK