Personal Histories



Bob Wills History

Killjoy

I think a lot of people my age; those who were around during World War Two have heard of and still remember Killroy. Who knows if he was an actual being - all the time? I have seen the words “Killroy was here” scratched, written and etched on walls in latrines, heads, johns and places I don't care to remember, from Long Island, New York, to Adak, Alaska. He seemed to have been every place habitable by man.

Engraving of Kilroy on the WWII Memorial in Washington DC

Engraving of Kilroy on the WWII Memorial in Washington DC. Picture courtesy of Wikipedia.

Killjoy might be synonymous with Killroy. When I entered the world of law enforcement I joined-up with the forces of "Necessary Evil." I learned almost immediately that cops are okay when they are working on the other side of town and arresting other people. And too, some people just don't like cops - period. This was true whether on the job or socializing.

The Killjoy was most noted early one evening when I was "Shaking Doors" (checking doors to see if they were locked and secured). I was on Main Street near the Rohner Park entrance when I heard what appeared to be a loud noise from a vehicle exhaust. The violation of "Excessive noise – modified exhaust system" was being repeated several times. (A specially constructed glass pack muffler had been installed to amplify the sound.) After a few seconds, I observed smoke and noise being emitted from a vehicle parked in front of an Auto Insurance office across Main Street from Goble's Shell Station. I walked to the driver's side of the car, observed the window was down and a young man was sitting in the driver's seat. Evidently he was having the time of his life. He stepped on the throttle again and again and was grinning ear to ear. After a few seconds of observing and just as he made the exhaust really reverberate; I tapped him on his left shoulder and said in a slow utterance "Hi There." Yes, it was humorous to see his face and even hilarious when I found that it wasn't even his car. His buddy owned the car and the buddy was inside the office purchasing Auto Insurance.

More about shaking doors! Believe it or not, I have found doors left open and sometimes merchandise still displayed on sidewalks hours after closing time. The owner/owners of the stores were always phoned when doors were found unlocked. In some instances I had to almost beg owners to come to the stores. A few requested "will you lock it for me?" Of course I didn't because there had to be an accounting as to whether it was left unsecured or if a crime was being committed.

Working on the other side of town! I was parked near the south end of Eureka; observing traffic when a lady walked up to the patrol car and thanked me for patrolling the area. "She resided there, had children, and appreciated having traffic control in the area." That afternoon, on the other side of town, I was parked and observing traffic when I observed a vehicle speeding by like "there's no tomorrow." I stopped the vehicle and found the driver to be the lady who had thanked me that morning for patrolling her street.

One morning I went from the office to a late reported collision that had occurred during the night. The vehicle had run off the road, down an embankment and struck a tree. The driver was obviously more than "Driving under the Influence". He was slightly injured, but really smashed, unable to stand and had to be carried on a stretcher. The ambulance crew, with the help of volunteers, carried him to the ambulance. One of the volunteers was quite verbal as to what he thought about "Drunken Drivers." Later in the day, in another part of the county, I came upon a vehicle that was weaving all over the roadway; it would increase in speed and then slow and showed all the indicator signs of "Intoxicated Driver." I stopped the vehicle and some of the first words the driver uttered were "Hi, remember me; I helped you carry that guy out of the wreck this morning?"

One more Killjoy! One night my partner and I were parked across the road from a Gin Mill between Fernbridge and Ferndale. From the sound of the laughter and loud music, it appeared the natives were really whooping-it-up.
Then the saloon door opened, people began emptying onto the parking area and started accumulating around two male individuals who had drawn a line in the dirt. They seemed to be preparing for a fist fight. We felt that it was not in our best interests to let them pound on each other and we were not overly anxious to get involved. Neither of us wanted or needed a roll in the dirt and who knows how many we would have had to battle? So I turned on the red spot light, aimed it at the crowd and the light immediately became the item of interest. A short period of silence engulfed the assemblage, they seemed to lose interest in the potential fight and then they began moving like a bunch of ants, it was scatter time. Question! Did the spectators think we were Killjoys? The would-be gladiators perhaps were tickled, thought us to be the cavalry to the rescue and didn't have to put up or shut up.

 

 

NEXT: Leaving Fortuna

 

 

 


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Kilroy was here is an American popular culture expression, often seen in graffiti. Its origins are unknown, but recognition of it and the distinctive doodle of "Kilroy" peeking over a wall is almost ubiquitous among U.S. residents who lived during World War II. More in this Wikipedia Article

Kilroywashere.org