We grew up down the street from each other on Madison Avenue. He was a couple of years younger than me. His brother Larrie and I were in the same grade and his younger brother Ed was in my sister’s class. The two sisters in their family were both the oldest and youngest. Judy was a year ahead of me and Margie was a few years younger than my sister and Ed.
Our parents were very close friends and both of our families moved from Madison Avenue to our new homes that were also about two blocks apart on the same street. Larrie, Mickey and I were in the same motor pool unit of the Indiana National Guard at about the same time. Over the last couple of weeks, I have had several Mickey Johnson memories.
I was talking with some friends about when Madison Avenue was being reconstructed into a four-lane street and how that construction was affecting my dad’s service station business. The road was never totally closed, but it was very difficult to maneuver in or out of the station property. We also had some school buses and that made things more of a mess. We decided to lease another Sunoco station at Carson and Hanna avenues until Madison Avenue was finished. My dad stayed at the Madison Avenue location, and I mostly operated the Hanna-Carson location. It probably wasn’t the most ideal plan, but it seemed to work.
One morning, I showed up to work at the Carson-Hanna location and was surprised to find Mickey Johnson’s car parked directly in front of the door into the office of the station. My first thought was that something had gone wrong or needed repairing on Mickey’s car. The building had a small slot that would allow someone to drop a note and a set of keys into the office. I went inside and got the business opened up and then I looked for his keys and maybe a note. I didn’t find anything.
About 8:30, when my helper arrived, he came over to me and said that there were strange noises coming from that car by the door. I walked to the car and also heard strange noises. Something was thumping around in the trunk. I tapped on the truck and was rewarded with a familiar voice. Mickey was locked in the trunk of his own car. He had no idea where the keys to his car might by. He finally gave me the names of a couple of guys that were out and about with him the night before.
I made a couple of calls and found out that Mickey and his buddies from the night before had been at a party and when it was time to leave the party, Mickey seemed to be in no condition to drive. However, his buddies had second thoughts about delivering Mickey home in his condition. They developed a plan. Because he had gone to sleep, they put him in the trunk and dropped his car off at our service station. The keys were hidden under the car. They knew he would only be in the trunk for a few hours because the station opened at 6 a.m. We found the keys and opened the trunk. It was a sight I’ll probably never get out of my mind.
We helped Mickey into some clean dry clothing, a station uniform. I sort of remember someone coming by and taking Mickey out for coffee and breakfast. I have no memory of his explanation to his folks of why he didn’t get home that night. Cars now have a latch or button in the trunk that would allow someone to open the trunk from the inside. I have always referred to it as “The Mickey Johnson Button”. Michael Howard Johnson passed away several years ago. I’ve still got many memories.