The Corpus Christi adventure of Wes ...
Posted Tuesday, July 4, 2017 01:33 PM

And it wasn't even Spring Break ...

Some of you know that I am the younger sister of Wes Burleson of the class of 69.  It is an understatement to say we were quite different people.  I was the church-going straight as an arrow goody two shoes.  Wes was the charismatic good looking renegade who didn't give a s*#t about anything.  There was never a mean bone in his body, but he was a person who always went his way and did what he wanted, including during his school years.  His intellect was prodigious, far beyond any of his teachers who were as hard pressed to control him as his family.  School especially (and life in general) was a cosmic joke.  Our poor parents did their best to control his more adventurous impulses, but it was an uphill battle all the way.  When a 17 year old grows to 6 feet 4 inches and weighs over 200 pounds and has wrested control of his own destiny, there is not much a parent can do.

I admired Wes to the moon, but it was not easy being his younger sister.  Girls at Macarthur tended to push their school pictures into my hands to take home and show him, in the hopes that he might get interested in asking them out.  Others, when they found out that I was his younger sister were incredulous:  "YOU'RE Wes Burleson's SISTER?????  I can't believe that.  He's so cool!!!"

And I certainly was not.  Thanks, sweetie.  Picture a little black storm cloud over my head with lightning coming out of it.  Lord knows I tried, but I couldn't even come close to his Aquarian appeal.

Anyway, many of his adventures are not shareable, but I was remembering one of the more amusing and less harmful of them.  And it was so typical of him.

It all started with the HAIRCUT.  Many of our fathers were ex-military and nothing bothered them more than to see their sons trying to grow their locks over their ears and collars and into their eyes.  They just couldn't stand it.  By God, when they were 17 they were milking the cows, slopping the pigs, and then walking five miles in the snow to school.  No son of theirs was going to go around looking like one of those long hair freak hippies driving around in psychedelic VW beetles!!!  And so they fulminated.

Now Wes had the added disadvantage of being the son of a barber (and a WW2 vet)!  Around the age of 14, that hair was getting a little bit too long, and Wes was resisting the upcoming haircut a little bit too much.  It had gone on for a couple of weeks with my father's insisting on giving him that needed haircut, and Wes managing to weasel out of it.

On a Saturday afternoon, my father had had enough.  He announced that he was going to take Wes to our barber shop on Sunday morning and whack off that hair whether he liked it or not.  End of conversation.

Well ...Wes was not going to have any of that.  When my father finally opened his mouth like that, there was no turning back and Wes knew it.  So he started hatching his plan.

Years back, my parents had made the mistake of buying him a Vespa motor scooter in which he buzzed all over San Antonio looking for sources of amusement.  We were accustomed to his often being gone until 9 or 10 at night.  He was usually visiting friends or taking in a movie or a game of putt putt golf and the Coolcrest mini golf park.  But on this Saturday night at 9:00, the phone rings with a collect call from none other than Wes himself.  And he was at the Corpus Christi airport.
He had gathered all his cash, buzzed over to the airport on his Vespa, and bought a one-way ticket to the coast.  That would show them!  After he wandered around the airport awhile, basking in his cleverness, his adrenaline ran out.  What the heck was he going to do now?  

My mother of course accepted the charges and Wes began the conversation by insisting that he wasn't going to get that haircut and would stay in Corpus Christi forever if necessary ... (living on the beach?)  Now Mom was a pretty cool customer and not prone to going into hysterics over anything, even her 14 year old son who had bought a one-way plane ticket and was now stuck in another city on a Saturday night.  She told him if that was what he wanted, that was what he would get, and best of luck by the way.  Then she rang off.

It took less than 15 minutes for him to call again (collect) and acquiesce.  He was pretty surly.  Mom and I had to go to the airport at 10:00 p.m. to the Continental Airlines desk and purchase another one way ticket for him to get home.   The ticket agent probably thought (correctly) we were one loony family.   The ticket cost us $49 which we really couldn't afford.  These were the days before online booking and Visa to take care of such troublesome matters ... Wes arrived back in S.A. around midnight and returned home on his Vespa, not wanting to talk to anyone.  No one wanted to talk to him either.  

On Sunday morning, a surly 14 year old sat in his father's barber chair in an empty barber shop, and got "peeled".  This was the term we used when some hapless boy showed up at school with a buzz cut or white sidewalls.  Wes was a skinhead.

My father did get Wes back a couple of years later.  Again, it was over a HAIRCUT.  Wes had matured and tired somewhat of the sloppy long hair (much more limited now) and had expressed a desire for something different.  But no way did he want Dad peeling him again!  My father knew of a hair stylist for men.  This was something rather new, having hair styled rather than the plain old haircut.  Like a beauty operator, but for the guys!  Wes agreed to the appointment, but the day before, my father made it a point to call the stylist and tell him to give the boy a nice haircut, but make sure it was nice and SHORT.  It was one of the shortest haircuts Wes ever got (even shorter than my father could have cut it), and he hated it even though it was a rather nice looking cut.

Did he deserve it?  I think so.