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English 1B, Sec. 5
Mary Rasmussen
Due Oct. 24, l976
\ā†=35;\Ī»
\C		     DEAR OLD RICHARD

\J	I'm sure  that  the  noise  can be  heard  for  miles...who  could
possibly miss the screeching of tires as Richard "lights up" ("peels  out"
from stop  signs), or  as he  squeals around  our street  corner and  then
screams to a halt in our  driveway?  The neighborhood regards him only  as
"just another  crazy,  reckless teenage  driver  whose license  should  be
suspended," but to Vic and I, he is simply our "dear old Richard."
 
	Richard, a seventeen year old high  school senior, is the kid  who
presently rents a room  in our house.  His  father, a famous scientist  in
the field of robotics, accepted a position at Purdue University in Indiana
last year.  So, he moved away from Pala Alto with his wife and one son  in
June of this  past summer.  Richard,  being quite an  independent kid  ("a
liberated teenager,"  as  he  so  calls himself),  elected  to  remain  in
California and rent out a room from  Vic rather than, "having to move  and
put up with all of  the dumb Indiana farm  boys and their tractors."   For
six months now, Richard has been  living with us, and what an  experience
it has been!  Thankfully, we have  "survived through it all," and we  have
high hopes  of even  living  through the  next  six!  (Providing  that  he
doesn't run us over with his car between now and then.)
	
	As far  as  I can  see,  Richard has  exactly  four loves  in  his
life---cars, Coca-Colas, MacDonald hamburgers,  and his green  push-button
telephone.  Cars, of  course claim the  number one spot  with Richard.   I
must qualify that statement, though, as only a few cars are acceptable  to
Richard---namely Mini Coopers,  MGs, or Austin  Americas. All other  cars,
such  as  Volkswagon  Rabbits,  BMWs,  Ford  Pintos,  or  Chevrolets   are
scornfully shrugged off as "piles of American junk suited for the average,
dumb American consumer and driver."  Indeed, no one can talk Richard out of
his conviction that "his cars  are the only decent  kinds of cars sold  on
the market."
 
	After one visit to our house,  it would quite evident to all  that
Richard also  loves any  piece  of junk  that  could possibly  be  welded,
kicked, pounded, or twisted into an auto part for any of his cars.  At all
times, at least one of his autos is sitting in the middle of our driveway,
with junk heaps, greasy rags, oil cans, and empty Coke bottles surrounding
it.  In the far  back part of  our backyard  is Richard's "official  junk
yard," of which every square foot  is covered with pieces of metal  scrap,
engine parts, tools,  or torn  apart junk  cars.  Even  Richard's room  is
piled high with his "more valuable pieces of junk."
 
	Yes, cars and junk  remain Richard's Number  One Love.  Put  quite
simply, Richard just  lives cars.  Practically  every hour of  his day  is
spent near a car.  His present  school schedule includes only two  classes
this semester, a  two hour "Body  Shop" class, and  a one hour  "Plastics"
class.  Richard's after school and weekend job is, of course, a job at the
nearby junk yard.  (He is fortunately one of those few people who actually
love every minute of their  job.)  When he is not  at school, at the  junk
yard, or at  the MacDonald's  hamburger joint,  he is  with a  few of  his
friends in his backyard junk area.  It is not uncommon to wake up at  four
in the morning and  look out the  window to see  Richard hunched over  the
engine of a car, with the small glowing lamp at his side piercing  through
the darkness of the early morning hours. And, if by some chance he is  not
in the above mentioned places,  he is bound to be  in his bedroom, on  the
phone, talking with a friend about some recent car happenings.
 
	As for the girls, Richard seems  to not yet have discovered  them.
Or, perhaps  it is  the  case that  he  has not  yet  found a  female  who
appreciates cars to the same  extent that he does  (or one who would  even
put up with all of his car talk).  To the disappointment of his father, he
presently holds no scholastic aspirations either.  Not being  academically
oriented in any way, it is doubtful  that he will even graduate from  high
school.  Because Richard  is actually a  very intelligent kid,  Vic and  I
sometimes worry over his total lack of concern towards education.  However,
it is all of no great importance for Richard, as he is happily prepared to
remain in the car business for the rest of his life.
 
	Richard will not have anything to do with liquor and drugs either,
which is quite unusual,  when one compares this  behavior with most  other
high school senior boys.  In fact, besides cars, his only other  addiction
is to  Coca-Cola.  Richard  is an  easy-going, friendly,  thoughtful,  and
happy kid who  just happens to  love cars.   And, as a  roommate, we  have
enjoyed almost every minute  of living in the  same house with him.   Even
with his reckless driving, his neverending junk piles scattered around the
house, and his constant car talk, we just happen to find ourselves  loving
Richard dearly.\.