Free Watermelons, Waterloo, Indiana
In the summer of 1963, Harvey Wells, Waterloo Chief of Police, pulled over a truck loaded with watermelons for an infraction of the law. The truck was on the street just west of the cop station.
The driver was arrested or abandoned his load, and the truck sat there, and the boys who hung around Hamilton's Rexall Drugs didn't miss a lick.
The boys decided a watermelon would taste pretty good on a hot day, and somebody crawled up into the truck and took a prize melon. Then another boy did the same..then ALL of them, some under cover of darkness, likewise claimed a piece of the bounty.
I said I wanted no part of stealing a watermelon or anything else. I was called a "chicken" for my lack of courage.
Well by God! I was no coward OR a chicken! I'd show them. As soon as Harvey drove off in the patrol car, I sprung into action; I climbed that trailer and plucked a fine watermelon! How proud I was of my boldness!
I took my prize home and right away mom said, "Where did you get that watermelon?"
"Well, a truck broke down and..."
Mom was so disappointed in me that she called Harvey and turned me in for the theft. I was lower than snake belly at that moment.
Harvey told her that if I return the melon he wouldn't file charges...I know that Harvey knew every kid was taking a melon and nobody , especially Harvey, cared.
So I took my watermelon back to the truck and my buddies watched as Harvey Wells, Waterloo Police Chief, watched me nicely lay my prize back into the truck.
In the middle of the night, some kids went into the truck and smashed nearly all the watermelons onto the street ... I noticed them when I arrived at 4:45 A.M. to fold my Journal-Gazettes for my route.
Darn kids, anyway!
I learned a valuable lesson, though: don't always follow your peers!