In Memory

Fred Barnes

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05/23/10 02:59 AM #1    

Craig K. Arey

............Fred was a good ol'guy, who got bit by an encephalitic New Jersey mosquito that  killed him when he was only 16 years old.........Sixteen years of life......pretty quick in and out experience....especially when you look back now on our own long lives....and all the many life experiences and different phases  and changes and all that we have all had since we were 16........sure does make me grateful to still be here......sitting here typing......ol' back aching like all hell.......but still breathing.......still breathing

......and remembering...... one night when Fred stole a fifth of liquor from his dad and drove over to my house on his Honda 50.......somehow, we also stole his dad's bigass powersteering Oldsmobile Leadsled outta the carport and picked up 2 more friends, Tommy Roberson and Helen Hanson............and

... drove all around Raleigh until the wee hours.....Helen didnt drink any of that shit at all....and I only took a swig......but Fred and Tommy killed it...and both got falling down puking shitfaced..... make a short story long, someway, we got Helen and Tommy safely home.....parked the Olds back in the Barne's carport and alls that was left to accomplish was getting Fred back home on his Honda 50......

....but, I found it totally impossible to keep Fred from falling off the back of the bike....steering the bike, shifting gears and holding onto Fred at the same time.....he kept falling off every six feet or so, onto the hard paved, I left Fred passed out in my next door neighbor's front yard...drove the Honda back to Fred's house and stole his father's new powersteering bigassmobile outta the carport again.....

......dragged Fred into the back seat and could not figure out for the life of me why everytime I turned that damn steering wheel left or right, we ended up in everybody's yards.....I had never even heard of Powersteering , let alone attempt to operate that crazy thing and unfortunately, poor ol' Fred got tossed back and forth as we swerved all the way back to his house......

.....Fred was moaning and groaning as I tried to push his limpass body back into his bedroom window.....when all of the sudden the lights in the house went on!.....and I ran like hell leaving poor Fred sticking halfway in and halfway out of his bedroom window moaning and groaning .....for his parents to find........

....we all got busted by our folks, and in a sincere effort to show my repentence for having taken that swig of liquor......I volunteered to dig a ditch in my parent's back yard....there was no need for a ditch to be dug for any usefull purpose....I guess that I must have seen convicts digging ditches somewhere.....and figured that it must be good punishment for doing bad things.....

......anyway, for many years I used to have dreams where Fred and I would  meet and talk until it hit me right in the middle of the dream that Fred was dead......but here we were talking to each other......!

......I used to think that this must mean that Fred was not really dead....and he and I were getting to hang out together on that glorious Astral Plane of Heaven or just think it was a dream.....just a dream.....but Good Dreams for sure!

08/11/15 12:48 PM #2    

Susan R. Vartanesian (Ryder)


Craig, I was there too.  And I remember that night well.  I think I drove, because I had a license.  Fred was a great guy from a wonderful family.


08/11/15 10:07 PM #3    

Craig K. Arey

By God, you are so right, Susan. You were driving that night. The driver is always the most underappreciated player in a teenage adventure.........

08/12/15 02:45 PM #4    

Barbara Perkins (Perkins)

 Since your cohorts are no longer with us, I hope you & Susan will use this as motivation to come to a mini- reunion and/or our 50th along with the rest of those who are still amount us and reunion bashful. Losing 4 classmates in 4 months motivated me to pull the retirement trigger 2 years ago. I have enjoyed seeing everyone over the years. Ya'll come!  

08/13/15 10:04 AM #5    

Paul R. Woodard

I remember drag racing Fred and friends on Oxford drive.  We were lucky we did not get arrested for careless and reckless driving.  We sure had good times together.


08/14/15 02:29 PM #6    

Linda A. Rhyne

I didn't know Fred, but sure enjoyed the story! I did know Helen and just can't picture her involved in such antics. I can just picture Fred hanging out of his bedroom window. What a sight to see!

08/14/15 03:49 PM #7    

James G. (Jim ) Speidel

Craig,  Great story !  ( Barbara, looks like news letter material ).  After my "friends" propped me up against my parents front door, ( after an evening of teenage indiscretion ), rang the bell and ran away, I learned to scratch on my sisters ground level window screen to be let in. My dad would wonder why the screen was in the yard the next day. I am glad to still be here too !

May the gods smile on all of you.


Jim Speidel



08/15/15 07:47 AM #8    

David P. Mason

I think Fred was our version of Steve Mcqueen. Cool guy, daring, short light hair, compact build, and that motorbike of which I was so envious.  Dave Mason

08/16/15 11:20 AM #9    

Mary E. Plybon (Edwards)

I was probably at the library studying with Bill Hambett and Nancy Pruitt and Jihn Jenkins while you were all out having fun!

08/21/15 10:33 PM #10    

Deborah Renn (Wolcott)

I love this story too.  Great writing, Craig.  Fred sat behind me in Miss Rogers' English class.  I called him "Derf"; that was "Fred " backwards.  No I wasn't having adventures like Fred and certainly not studying like Mary....probably trying to find "Peyton Place" on t.v.


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