Here's a remembrance of Hayes Williams.
Many years ago, probably 1954, in Ms. Poor's class, Hayes Williams pulled a joke on me that I could never possibly forget.
You may remember that in those days, most of us rode bicycles with no gears. I had a gearless Schwinn, its tires rather fat across the treads like those of today's mountain bikes. And you may recall that many of us removed the fenders to lighten the bike and get a little more speed, or so we thought. Mud up the back when it rained was the real result.
Well, one morning as I rode my bike to school and pedaled up the little blacktop road paralleling the tennis and basketball courts, Hayes met me just above the playground steps. He said he'd give me 6 pieces of Chicklets gum if I'd ride my fenderless bike while sitting on the back tire. As guys with fenderless bikes knew, that was easy. And Hayes knew it, too, I'm sure. I accepted the challenge, dropped my tush behind the seat, and let it rest lightly on my spinning rear tire as I rode away.
Having successfully met the challenge, Hayes handed me my Chicklets and I popped them all into my mouth at once. After I'd spent about five minutes chewing, Hayes started laughing and told me the gum was actually Feenamint, the popular gum laxative in those days. He laughed. I laughed.
Later in class, Hayes and I were laughing about something; probably the Feenamint, when Ms. Poor caught us and said we'd have to stay in the cloakroom during recess. So, when the rest of the class went outside to play, Hayes and I parted the drapes to the cloakroom, entered, and began to serve our time.
You may remember, and as many of you know as parents and grandparents, little boys love to make body sounds. You know, belching, making noise with hands in armpits, and, yes, audibly passing gas. Well, my stomach started rumbling and I thought I was going to make an audible sound loudly enough to claim a prize. Instead, the Feenamint had worked.
An embarrassed little boy had to make it to the restroom and clean up. We''ll spare the details, but it was a memory never to be forgotten. I always checked where my gum came from after that.