A new friend. We build a fort in the woods and I lose my legs.

A greaser. Exactly what Pat was.

One Saturday in late November 1970 I made a new friend. His name is Patrick Conoly. He lived a couple of streets over from me. Brian and I met him as we were cruising the neighborhood. Pat was rough and tough. He grew up in Levittown New York. He was a bit of a street fighter if you know of the type of person I am talking about. He greased his hair back. He wore his cigarette pack rolled up in his T-shirt sleeve. He wore what he called “street boots”. They were somewhat pointed. I admired Pat. He was somthing that my upbringing would never allow me to be. He drank beer. Hey could swear in a way that would make a sailor blush. Pat attended 10th grade for awhile then dropped out of school entirely. He was tough and he looked tough. He fascinated me!

Pat immediately took the roll as leader in our group of three. The three of us formed a small group that Pat named “The Leasure Beach Bombers”. We would roam the streets at night in Leasure Beach like tough demons from hell.

A typical fort in the woods

Brian and I along with Cindy Ponti had begun to build a fort in the woods. The three of us searched our garages in search of building supplies. We managed to collect some plywood, two by fours, and various bits and pieces of supplies.

Cindy and I dragged our supplies over to Brian’s house. We then piled the stack of floatsom and jetsam on Brian’s wagon and pulled it down the street. We pulled the wagon to the dirt road and headed down it. We pulled it back of the cement processing area (Leasure Beach was still under construction at the time. Only around 20% of the lots were sold.) and past the waste water processing area. On the west side of the dirt road is a pond and just past that a clearing.

We stopped and dragged our building materials into the clearing. Then we began to dig. Our intentions were to dig a basement and then cover the hole with the building materials.

So we dug and we dug and we dug and we dug. We dug out a space aproximently 10 feet by 6 feet. We kept digging and around 5 feet down we hit water. We did not know that the water table is very high in Florida. Anywhere in Florida you only need to dig a few feet down to hit water.

So we stopped digging. The rectangular hole was only about 4 and 1/2 feet. That would have to do. We laid plywood on the floor so at least we would have a dry floor. Then we went home with the intent on meeting here again tonight after dinner. It was a friday night and our minds were full of ideas.

We met back at the fort around 7 PM that night. Pat Conoly came along. He had brought some beer and some joints. I had tried alcohol at that time but never had tried marijuana.

So all five of us sat around the pit that we had dug with our feet hanging down in the pit. The joint was passed around and me, not wanting to seem like a greenhorn, which I was, took a big drag on the joint and passed it on.

After the coughing subsided I began to feel this feeling of euphoria sweep over me. The joint came around full circle and was again handed to me. I took another big hit from the joint and passed it on.

The feeling of euphoria increased. I looked down at my lap and noticed that my legs were missing! I started to laugh uncontrollably! I blurted out. “Where are my legs! I can’t find my legs!!” This started the others laughing. I could not stop! I laughed and laughed and laughed! Finally Brian, who was sitting next to me said to me whilst wiping tears from eyes “Look! Your legs are down in the pit!” I looked and that brought on another wave of laughter to all of us! I was indeed very relieved that I had found my legs!

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