Hazing was alive and well at the Palo Alto High School I attended. It was almost the end of summer vacation in the year of 1950, and I was soon to be a low-life freshman at Paly High. The group was me, Harry Petersen, Cecil Cutting, Bill Kimpton and Lincoln Hawley. Bill and Lincoln would not attend Paly but would obtain their education in private school.
What happened next to five hot shot boys with a swagger in their walk having recently graduated from Jordan Junior High as they sauntered down University Avenue would probably land the perpetrators in jail today. But in 1950 kidnapping five boys in broad daylight on University Avenue was one of many happenings that would endear me to Paly High forever. We were loaded into two non descript cars and told that we would be going for a little ride and that we all looked like we needed haircuts. Well I thought that we would be taken a few blocks, lose a few locks of hair and then be set free. But that’s not what happened. The next stop was a side road off of Skyline Boulevard where we not only lost most of our hair but all of our clothes except our shorts. I think we were all in a slight state of shock as our perpetrators drove out of sight with lots of hoots and hollers and waving of stolen clothes. Well we didn’t get too far when we started to find our clothes scattered along Skyline Boulevard. I’ve forgotten how far it is back to Palo Alto but it was agreed that hitch hiking was hopefully going to save a lot of walking. I forget how long we walked as there were several cars that passed and gave us the body language signal that said “I don’t have room for five ruffians.” Finally, a kind fellow in a pick-up truck pulled along side and said, “it looks like you kids need a ride, why don’t some of you get in front and the rest in the back and then tell me where you want to go.” It was agreed that we would go to the Hawley house in Los Altos and our parents could meet us all there.
My dad upon seeing me and seeing I was non the worse for wear started to laugh and said “welcome to starting at the bottom.” The other parents also agreed that this was a right of passage. So ended one of many fond memories at Palo Alto High School.