My High School Years: Facing Temptation

My School, West High School

One thing that was sadly lacking in my life was someone to come along side me and counsel me in the area of sexual temptation and dating and marriage. I think young people really need that guidance, especially in those high school years, when their bodies and thoughts are swiftly moving in that area.  All through high school I wasn’t at all seriously thinking of marriage or even dating. In fact, I purposely set my mind toward God and bringing people to Christ any way possible, especially through Hi-C club, the Christian group I was involved in.

Then again, when my guard was down, which was too often, I couldn’t keep my eyes and my mind off of girls. And I didn’t exactly know how to handle it. I didn’t feel ready or bold enough to ask girls on dates, but still I had eyes and an imagination. Sometimes, at a weak moment, I longed to see as much as I could. I remember going to the beach just to see as much skin as I could. And I was a Christian! What was I doing? Well, in those days, much of the time I was just very rebellious.

And then along came Joy.  A girl named Joy. The first time I remember seeing her was while I was in band practice playing my trombone. She would be looking at me through the glass classroom door and smiling and waving at me. And it was a little embarrassing, because I really didn’t know her, and some of the kids noticed that she was trying to get my attention.

I really wasn’t attracted to her and she wasn’t that attractive. But she seemed to really like me. So, I invited her to our Hi-C group. I figured that as long as I had her attention, maybe I could get her saved. She started to come to our group, but I kind of knew that she was just interested in me.

One evening after group I walked her home; and when we got to her house, she really laid one on me—she kissed me. My first reaction was repulsion; her breath stunk of stale tobacco. But then, without warning, the feeling hit me. I felt something deep down in my soul. Instantly, I was in seventh heaven, and I wanted more. We kissed again, and I felt even better. But when I went in for a third time, she said she had to go. That was okay; I knew I would be back and I was still flying high. I ran all the way home. I was in love. For the first time in my life I was really in love. 

I can’t remember exactly what I did next. All I remember is that I wanted more kisses from her.  So, I tried to see her more. Even though I was always busy after school with sports and Hi-C clubs, I always had her in the back of my mind—especially her kisses. I longed for her, but it seemed that things were reversed. I was wanting her more than she was wanting me. I was going full steam ahead and she was putting on the breaks. I remember sitting in her house one time. Her mom was home, busy with house work, and me and Joy were sitting—in separate places. I was sitting on her couch watching TV—I think. And she was sitting in another chair reading a book. She was like my sister, always reading. I would be just sitting and she would be sitting and reading. All I could think of was when I was going to get another kiss. I have no idea what she was thinking. It was a strange relationship.

One day she opened up to me about her life. It wasn’t good. She had been—and maybe still was—on drugs; and she also had sexual relationships. I started to think that maybe pursuing her wasn’t the best idea. Yet I wasn’t ready to give up on her. I felt that I really loved her, and so, I doubled down on praying for her. Sometimes I prayed for a long time with tears, begging God to save her. I remember those prayer times. In fact, even now, fifty years later, every time I think of her, I pray for her salvation. Yet I have no idea where she is or if she is even alive.

Toward the end of my senior year, I got the itch to work. It didn’t take me long to find my first job at Minneapolis Floral, just a couple blocks from the school. It was a fairly easy job. I mainly just swept the floors, especially around the people who were trimming and arranging flowers to be sent out to weddings and funeral and such. I think I had that job for only a couple of months.

The next job I had was in a foundry, which was located in the warehouse district of Minneapolis. It was a lot harder, but it paid more. I think I made $2.50 an hour. I stood all day long in front of a grinding wheel, grinding and smoothing off little medal parts. What those parts were used for I had no idea and I didn’t care. Oh, my back and shoulders would just ache after a few hours of work. But it was work. Soon I got use to it. I think I only had the job for about a month. They were sorry to see me go, but I had to leave to serve my country.

A few months before I went to work, it must have been just at the end of my senior year, I remember walking down the sidewalk with a friend of mine, a wrestling buddy, on my way home from school one day. We were talking about what we were going to do next. He suggested going into the service, maybe the Marines. That was the first time I had thought about the service, but that thought kind of intrigued me. I wasn’t thinking at all about war; I was thinking more about really getting into shape and “becoming all I could be.” Something like that. Well it didn’t take me long to decides on the Marines.

Looking back on it, I think it was how God provided a way for me to escape from the temptations I had for Joy, and what would have been a very wrong path.

My High School Years: Hi-C Club

When the bus could’t go any further, this is how we got to our destination at Arrowhead Springs
I am in the upper right corner.

Hi-C actually started in Junior High, as I have already written about. But it continued into high school. I am so thankful to God for this group, because it kept me excited about my Christian life. And one of the verses that I remember using during that time was John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.” Yes, I think Hi-C for a me was all about living the abundant life in the midst of so much pain and turmoil at home, and also in the classroom—I just wasn’t a very good student.

I think God was using Hi-C, along with sports, to get me through life at that time; otherwise I think I would have been very depressed. The first thing I remember about the club was our trip to Arrowhead Springs, Colorado (pictured). I don’t remember a lot, just that it was a great motivator and I felt so much joy being around other believers. It was like experiencing a small bit of heaven.

Similarly, I remember our city-wide rallies. Hi-C wasn’t just in my high school. It was in several high schools in Minneapolis. Jerry Kaufman was a God-send for the rallies—a great motivator. Anyway, we would have city-wide rallies about once a month, and Jerry Kaufman, with his accordion, would lead them. It was mainly a time of singing Christian songs; and we also usually had a special speaker that would give a gospel presentation. Oh, we also had plenty of time to play games and be rowdy. And now that I think of it, there were also city-wide hay rides and other events.

This is Gary.

I think I actually made more friends from other schools, through the city-wide events, then from my school at West High. And I went to great lengths to keep those relationships going. I remember having to ride the bus for very long distances, using two or three transfers to get to places. And it was worth it. I often visited my friend Gary Westlund. He became sort of a mentor to me. I remember when we would team up and go witnessing at Lake Calhoun beach. It was always me and Gary.

The Hi-C Club at West was a much smaller group. I was elected President, and we also had two secretaries and a treasurer—so I guess we were fairly organized. Anyway, we had weekly meetings where we would usually invite a speaker. I remember that one of our regular speakers was Mr. Baxter, who was a teacher and a coach at West. Everyone liked him.

Our intention in the group was not just to have fun. We set out to invite as many as we could from school to group meeting so that they would eventually find Christ.  I’m not sure how many that was, but there were a few. I sometimes wonder where they all are right now. I know that many have been greatly influenced by Hi-C just as I have been. I don’t have many pictures, but I do have several writings in my year books that have mentioned Hi-C, and they usually signed off with “In Christ,” or even “Love in Christ.” Those were the days. I pray that they are still going on for the Lord as I am.