It was summer and very hot. Most people didn't have air conditioners back then, certainly The Kid's family didn't. They sometimes had a little electric fan that sat on a table in the living room and sometimes they just waved a magazine back and forth to create a breeze. Sizzling July and August nights were often sleepless matters of tossing and turning and sweating.
The idea was simple, they would camp out. Except they didn't really camp out, not in the sense of pitching a tent in someone's back yard. Instead they met that evening and spent the night in the loft of some garage behind one of the houses on Lancaster Avenue.
Since many of the garages were converted old carriage houses, most likely this building with the loft had been one also.
Now there was The Kid and Stu and Dave and probably Bill and Ted. A least that is the best guess. Five boys that age allowed to be out unchaperoned for the first time, so you know how much sleeping got done. Maybe a bit in the wee early hours before dawn when they all drifted off from exhaustion.
The one playing as The Kid first became aware of the music was Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! The Kid was enthralled by it.
When he was back home, he asked for Oklahoma! from his parents and somewhere along the line, they got it for him.
He became an instant Rodgers and Hammerstein fan and he began collecting their play recordings. His favorite was Carousel.
During the fifties he had a good collection of Broadway Musical cast recordings: South Pacific, Allegro, Flower Drum Song, The King and I, State Fair (which was a movie), Cinderella (a TV special), and Sound of Music -- all by Rodgers and Hammerstein. He was never able to find a copy of Me and Juliet or Pipe Dream, their two lesser successes. He did get Rodgers' No Strings.
He had most of Lerner and Lowe's musicals: Camelot, My Fair Lady, Gigi, Paint Your Wagon and Brigadoon.
The Kid had many of the other great and not so great musicals of the fifties. And it was in those days he decided to write one. He thought it would impress a girl.
A man went up to a scaffold real high,
A way to roofs simplify.
Got too near the edge, sweet old guy,
And as he slipped, you could hear his cry:
What does have to do with that night was the Great Coca-Cola Caper.
Sometime late in the night, like one AM, the gang got thirsty. Not far from the roost where they lay was a gas station and in front of the gas station was a Coke machine. The decided to go get a soda.
The machine, about six feet tall, all red with the pictures of Coca-Cola bottles worked this way.
Below that was a lever and in the middle was a small door. You dropped in your coin, pushed down on the level, opened the door and withdrew a bottle.
Inside the door you could see several bottles lying on their side in a kind of cage. It had this metal framework and when you dropped your coin and pushed the lever, the cage opened enough to allow you to pull out one bottle.
"Now watch," said Ted and he slowly allowed the lever to return toward its original position, but not quite, then he pushed it down again. There was a sound of the innards of the machine working and the little pop it made when a new bottle was in position. Another boy opened the door and there was a bottle clear and free of the grid. He took it out. Again, Ted did his thing and at the end all five boys had gotten a Coke on that one thin dime. The gang of thieves walked away into the night feeling very proud of themselves.
Ah, ha, The Kid had been a thief even before he stole those "Girlie Magazines".