In Memory

Jay Roller

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07/14/14 10:38 PM #1    

Lee Badger

I want to thank my classmates who put together this web site.  I hadn’t heard from Jay or his family in the last sixteen years.  I thought maybe Jay had tired of my middle-class lifestyle.  Upon seeing the web site I learned of his death.  It inspired me to make a maiden name search for his sister.  Paula said he died June 1, 1998, after a long, lingering illness that attacked his major organs.

Jay was never much interested in the American Dream of house, yard, new car, and 2.5 children.  He didn’t want to work indoors shuffling paper or selling things.  He loved reading, writing, traveling, and most of all, the American West.  Jay spent most of his time in California and Colorado where he worked for two different railroads and, briefly, at a silver mine.  His sister and I received many long colorful letters chronicling his adventures.  It was like corresponding with Mark Twain.

We spent several summer vacations in high school and college traveling together.  We drove highway 1A from Maine to South Carolina.  We went to Pittsburgh to ride one of the street trolleys on their last day of operation.  In 1967 we drove to French-speaking Montreal to see the World’s Fair.

In high school, we spent many Friday nights at the “Lemon Tree” drinking ginger beer and listening to folk music occasionally preceded by a movie at the “Art Theatre” next door.  The sitting room in the theatre lobby was scattered with old New Yorker magazines, which we would peruse for cartoons.  It was a thrill to memorize the ones we couldn’t “get” and investigate them later.  Sophisticated we weren’t, but we tried.

Now for my favorite high school memory.  I had my first illegal beer with Jay.  It was two weeks before his eighteenth birthday and, by God, no government was going to tell him just when he could or couldn’t have a beer.  “Christ, Lee, they let twelve year olds buy beer in France.”  We pulled up to this rundown bar near the railway station sometime about 11pm.  It was Jay’s theory that they would need the business and therefore not card him.  He was right.  Jay entered the bar and after some time returned loaded with the take.  What had taken so long?  Along with the beer, he handed me a paper cup, a napkin, and a bottle opener.  We split the beer making sure we each got exactly half.  Jay said his experience in the bar was rather embarrassing, made more so by the crowd of gawking alcoholic patrons witnessing the transaction.  After he placed his order for “one beer to go,” he realized we had no way to open it.  Could the bar gratuitously provide an opener?  And then there were germs to be considered.  Two paper cups and two napkins would complete the order.  The bartender’s response,  “What are you…….going on a picnic?”

07/15/14 07:38 AM #2    

Karen Atkins (Patton)

Thanks for the great memories.  That's what true living is all about.  You have brightened my day and caused many to live on!--Karen

07/15/14 11:53 AM #3    

Bill Hildebrand

Jay was in Boy Scout Troop 233 at Our Savior Luthern Church in Oakwood for a period of time.  As I recall he quit about the time he turned 15 and made it to the rank of Star.  I remember his particpation on campouts and at meetings.  Jay got along with everyone quietly enjoying the experience and avoided the spotlight.  Thanks for sharing the memories. 

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