Posted by: 2russ | September 2, 2013

Keith

Keith was a friend of mine and one of about five of us who hung out together in Cato during high school and for a few years after school. There was Lee Jay Boyd, Karl Reid Hotaling, Mike O’Neill and me, and Keith.

I used to go down to Keith’s on weekends during those school years, to either pick him up to ride with me, or to catch a ride with him. He’d usually been working all day. Most guys hop in the shower. But not Keith! I’d knock on the door and perhaps his mother would answer and she’d say he’s getting ready up stairs. “Go ahead on up,” she’d say. So this one time he shouted out that he was in the bath and I said: “Oh I’ll wait out here!” He said: “No!” “It’s ok, it’s a bubble bath!” Sure enough, bubbles four inches thick. You couldn’t see a thing except his hair, mouth, eyes and nose! I thought that was hilarious. It was routine for Keith, he liked baths, baths with soaking bubbles!

I remember that he would get irritated with his grandfather, who we all called, Parm! His name as it turns out was Palmer Titus. Keith’s Dad’s name was Herbert, although I would not have remembered it except that both Keith’s dad and grandpa sponsored the printing of the Yearbooks for CMCS.

One time Keith was mad at Parm. Parm had an old farm, the original Titus Farm, off the corner of the Federal Road, (which I lived on) and Route 134. There was a hillside there and the school bus would turn the, and go by this field of Parm’s.

We noticed that a cow was always sleeping in the same spot for over a week. Finally we asked Keith. He said: “That cow died there, and Parm wasn’t aware of, or wouldn’t do anything about it!”

Keith had an older brother, Steve. I didn’t really know him. He was a year ahead of me. I believe he was taller than Keith. Keith was a good athlete. He was tough on the football field. Keith also had a sweet voice with a cut way of talking that I believe went right to the point. He was a nice guy.

One time, a bunch of us were out racing around and taking-off fast. I had my dad’s Studebaker Golden Hawk, which had a 289 engine and a four speed stick shift on the floor. I decided to take off and go through the gears. With second or third gear, under a load, all of a sudden something broke! It felt like the car twisted in under me. It felt like a sponge and a rubber band working against each other! Somehow, I limped it, the car, quite a ways over to Keith’s.

The more I think about it, the better I feel. Well, I broke the motor mount on the right side and it torque’d the motor every time I hit the gas! So… I had to nurse it, and somehow I got it to Keith’s! Back then it was maybe find a telephone booth, or just show up on someone’s door. Don’t know how it happened. But, starting late, like after 10:00 pm, Keith took the car down to his shop – down in the barn. We ended up staying up all night, and Keith welded the motor mount back to the engine. As far as me staying out all night, I just said I “crashed” at Keith’s. Well: Keith fixed it. I think now, (since now I know that a motor mount is a combo of rubber, steel and bolts), that it probably was ready to go out on its own. ‘Course, I edged it along a little, for sure. But, boy, did I beat myself up over that for a long time, in fact, until now! But the point is that Keith had this built-in kindness, and just knew what to do, ahead of time. I think he was a leader! As far as I knew, my dad never knew the difference about the car. I never gave up the ghost. The car worked great! Problem solved! Thanks, Keith!

1948 Chevy:

Well, I went off to college to Cortland College. So, sometime around 1967-1968, I had the “opportunity” to “get” a car! The car was, believe it or not, a 1948, same year as I was born, a Chevy sedan, black in color! It actually looked like a Mafia car, now that I think of it!
Anyway, I bought it for $100, and I am not sure how much I ever: started it, or drove it. But it ended up in the parking lot of the apartment that my roommates and I were renting. What a problem! So, one Fall, I got in touch with Keith!

He actually came down from Cato to Cortland. He had a flat-bed trailer. He hauled it up to the lot to the “right” of the barn, below his house, on the other side of the road. There it stayed! Kind of like Parm’s cow. Well, in a way!

So, after that, I said: Keith: “Market that car for me, if you can.” During this period, my Dad would drive by there, and glance at that car. In fact, during some summer, or spring breaks, I’d go by and see it too! I don’t know how that got resolved! I think Keith sold it eventually. I was glad he didn’t sell it to my dad! Anyway, Keith was gracious!

I remember that Keith had a trucking business. I know that he hauled hay, for one thing! I know that he always worked hard. He was a good football player on the high school team. Keith had a car that he was very proud of. It was a 1963 Ford Falcon. He had put a V8 engine in it and it was a three speed. He had it suspended with a beef-up set of springs. It was light weight, fast and clean. Guys in the ‘60’s liked their fast cars! His was very clean.
Looking through the Yearbook of our school, I found that Keith was very involved. He was in Communications Club, Varsity Football and Chorus. He had a sweet voice and a raspy voice at the same time. I am glad that he found great love in his family and children. He died too young. I hope that these remembrances are received well.

With these sketches and memoirs Keith is memorialized just a bit more.


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