Wednesday 31 January 2007

‘I was up 24 hours a day at that age’

He certainly adhered to his fathers’ words, in 1972 he told Geraldine Phillips ‘My family, they were a big influence on me. They taught me how to work. We didn’t have much, so I worked at everything. Like everybody, I sold Liberty magazine, sold spices door to door, hustled bags for old ladies at the supermarket. The most boring job I ever had was in a can company, sending sheets through the lithograph oven. I was 16 then, and a few times I’d daydream and they’d all crash. I was thinking about the evening before, or that evening- as I was up 24 hours a day at that age!’ If the hard work did anything, it certainly toughened him up, but Clint remembers the days fondly, ‘That was the happiest time of my life up till then.’ Clint made two important friends that particular year, Bob Sturges and Jack Macknight. As a rebellious threesome they bought various car parts and together they would construct drag cars that they would enter into furious races. Clint vividly remembers seeing his friends dragster burst into an inferno at 100 mph.

The Police were of course another part of the growing up experience. With the noise created by the dragster meetings it was perhaps natural that it would cause a spate of residential complaints. Clint particularly remembers a gathering in secret early one Saturday or Sunday morning. They had all barely arrived before the cops appeared from all angles. Obviously tipped off, the police had both ends of the road blocked. He recalls how dragsters split in every conceivable direction across the fields and meadows with livestock charging everywhere, and the Police following hot on their tails. ‘It was like a scene from a mad movie.’ The three friends became closer and closer, and by the weekends they were gatecrashing pretty much any party they could find. They would naturally be chasing the girls with rich fathers, why just a party when it could be a party set around a swimming pool with plenty of food and soda. Together they would change into their trunks and generally have a great time with the girls that were becoming more and more of an interest to the boys.
Back at Oakland Technical High School, Clint continued to maintain steady progress in his studies, while doing his best to avoid the continued attempts by his teacher to involve him in more school plays. He was now into his 16th year and attained his full height of 6ft 4 inches, and naturally he was somewhat forced into the schools basketball team. As far as Clint could remember ‘There was one guy taller than me at six-five.’

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