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The Story Behind the Poem
by Terry Brinkman




Granite High


Forty Five year reunion

Smoking pot behind bleachers

Drinking coffee at Tony’s

Dragging State Street

Roxanne’s water sofa

Gail’s flashing porch light

Work release

Vietnam War


Friends M.I.A.

Flag at half mast



This year will be my forty-five year reunion, from Granite high school. I have never been to a reunion, the school has been sold to be torn down. Our Class President is dead. I have never been to a reunion, should not start this year.

When I was going to high school, if you were cutting class, or any reason you went past the bleachers. The group almost always there smoking Pot, would offer you a hit. If you turned down the hit they would call you Nark, then you would get beat-up. Best option was to take a long slow drag, then leave and go about your own business.

Utah winters are sometimes cold, Tony’s place across five hundred east was a great place to get a hot cup to warm your bones. Some students would hide there most of the day.

Dragging State street, was our Friday-night past time. With Gasoline only twenty five cents, was cheap entertainment. Who-ever had the best car at the time, is the one we would take. We would start at  Thirteen Hundred South, where South High was. Head north and turn around at four Hundred South, over and over. Until we met some girls, or got bored and found something else to kill the night.

Roxanne was a girl in a few of my classes; kind of a hippy. One day she invited me over to check-out her new Water-Sofa, I had never heard of such a thing. So I went over to her house to check it out, one of my friends Dan came along.  I tried it out, I have never heard of such a thing again.

I dated Gail on and off for four years, until she married some guy, I think from Church. I must have been on her porch hundreds of times dropping her off after going out. We would stand on her porch and talk, the first time the porch light was flashing did they had a power problem.  She explained to me it was time for her to going in, they had the same problem for four years.

When I went to high school, senor year, if you had a job you could get out school half a day and work. At the time it sounded good, now after working fifty years I should have passed on working so soon. I worked for Ambassador Releasing, it was a four wall movie company. I and my friend Dan who was the owner’s son Took care of shipping and receiving. We would ship the movies and trailers to the Movie houses, and get the returns and send them out again. We also did the other odd jobs, like getting the Christmas tree; I wrote a short story on us getting the Christmas tree.

When I was going to high school, the Vietnam War was going strong. Granite was in a working class area of Salt Lake, so we had a lot of friends go and die. They would announce the names of the M.I.A. shot-down and killed students, our friends last year.

The Lottery is everyone’s dream to hit, but not when I went to high school. They had a lottery for the Draft, they drew birth dates. I have not won much money, but I was in the last Draft lottery, lucky me number seventeen.  At that time without a deferment the first one hundred went to Vietnam. Then the next one hundred may go and the last one hundred and sixty five did not go. 

I received a Telegram calling me up after I graduated high school in June.  I received a Telegram in late May that changed my orders; we were pulling out of Vietnam. I did not have to go to Vietnam but I was in the stand-by reserves for ten years. I was required to carry my draft card on me for ten years, the day the ten years were up I quietly put a match to my draft card.

M.I.A. some of my friends are still missing, people had wrist bans with their names on until they came home; you still may see the bans today.

Whenever I see a flag at half Mast, it reminds me when they were half Mast for my high school friends.



The poem Granite High was first published in Salt Lake City Weekly, October 25, 2018 




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