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Tales from a Townie: The ’47 Chevy and the W.A.I.W.W.

by | Feb 19, 2024 | Featured

This story is about Jim and my greatest adventure in the ’47 Chevy (the first tale about this vehicle was published in the Jan. 10 edition of the Independent).

We were cruising in the Chevy one night in the fall of our junior year at Hopkinton High School (1958). We were on Clinton Street at the Holliston town line and turned around on a cart road. There had been a pile of junk dumped on the cart road. Jim said, “Did you see the wigwam warmer on the pile of junk?” I said, “What?” He said, “Let’s go back and get it.”

We drove back, and on top of the pile was a birch pole about 3 inches in diameter and 3 inches long, with a concrete lump about 8 inches by 12 inches on the end in the ground. It had been a post in concrete, dug up and dumped on the pile.

We opened the back doors of the Chevy and put it in the car, on the floor. The next question: “What will we do with it?” Jim said, “Let’s put it at someone’s house.”

ales from a Townie-WAIWW

This drawing depicts what the W.A.I.W.W. looked like.

So, we went to classmate Nancy G.’s house at the corner of Wood Street and Elm Street and dropped it off. At school the next morning, Nancy said, “My stepfather, Larry, found this strange thing in the front yard and threw it over the banking.” She drew a picture of it on the board, and Jim said, “Looks like an ancient wigwam warmer.” We proceeded to retrieve it from where it had been thrown.

For the rest of that fall, we moved it around from one classmate’s yard to another — not on a regular basis, but once or twice a week. We would put it in Jim’s garage for a couple of nights. We even put it at our houses a couple of times. Some other classmates even moved it a couple of times. We never knew where it would turn up next.

It became known as the “Wandering Ancient Indian Wigwam Warmer,” or W.A.I.W.W.

When Halloween, then Christmas, can around, someone put the proper color bow on it. It became like our class mascot. When winter came, we stored it in Jim’s garage.

Upon spring’s arrival, the W.A.I.W.W. continued to travel. In summer, it went back in storage.

We continued the tradition in the fall and spring or our senior year, with time off in the winter.

No one in the class ever knew that Jim and I were the originators. We always moved it after dark and stealthily.

At the end of our senior year, we retired the W.A.I.W.W. into Jim’s garage, and that was the end of the story — or was it?

My brother and Jim’s cousin were in the HHS class of 1962. In the fall of 1961, they found the W.A.I.W.W. in Jim’s garage and reactivated it, placing it at a couple of the yards of classmates who had brothers or sisters in our class of 1959.

Alas, the end came when they left it at a teacher’s home. He didn’t think it was “cool” and put it in the trash. That was the end of the W.A.I.W.W.

Fast forward 40 years. We had our 40th class reunion on Thanksgiving weekend, 1999, at a hotel in Marlborough. We rented a large meeting room with a regular-sized hotel room on each end of the larger room. My future wife and I rented one room, and Nancy G. rented the other single room.

The week before the reunion, I took a No. 10 can, filled it with concrete, put a birch stick in it and scratched “W.A.I.W.W. Jr.” on it.

The first night we were at the hotel, I put the W.A.I.W.W. Jr. in front of Nancy’s door. She came out in the morning and tripped over it. In about 42 years, we had come full circle, since Nancy’s stepfather had tripped over the W.A.I.W.W. We had a lot of fun with the whole business.

Jim and I finally owned up to the class that we were behind the W.A.I.W.W. and the W.A.I.W.W. Jr.

1 Comment

  1. Stephen D Small

    You were (are?) definitely a piece of work.
    I had no idea that Jim was so mischievous though – I guess I missed your “coming out”

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