The Barons begins with Mark trying to figure out who his parents are. His father, Leslie, is a non-Catholic immigrant from England. His mother, Nora, a Catholic, emigrated from Ireland. Why would these two get married? Didn’t the Irish hate the English? He never does figure this out. His brother, John, bought a car before he even knew how to drive. Rather than suffering under their father’s tutelage, John found a girl to teach him. For the guy’s first road trip, John and Mark head for Detroit; only to get stuck in a snow storm. Prior to going into an all-boys Catholic High School, John insisted that Mark take dancing lessons at Arthur Murray’s. This enabled Mark to meet the girls in the many Catholic High Schools in the area. While a friend was teaching him to drive, Mark rolled the family’s car on its side. Now he had to tell his father that he had totaled the family’s car. He asked St. Anthony to give him the proper words to explain this disaster to his father. Instead Mark said, “I totaled the car!” His father whole heartily agreed. In desperation Mark declares it can be fixed. “You fix it, you can have it,” his father declares in frustration. Fix it Mark did. In less than a week, with the help of an old friend, it was fixed. This is how Mark Anthony named his car, Cleopatra. John formed a car club with a bunch of his older friends. They called it the Royal Order of the Barons. He invites Mark to join. The club made Mark their president, who knows why? The Urchins become royalty, if only in their minds. The Kelly family continues to take their month long summer vacations. This one was to Washington DC, Georgia and to Florida. Later in the summer, John’s girlfriend invites him to visit her at her high school sorority’s cottage at Madison-on-the-Lake. John, Mark and their friend, Dick, drove to the lake for the time of their lives. The girls took them to the local dancehall where they taught the guys how to drink by chug-a-lugging each beer. The girls have to drive the guys back to their cottage for the night. The following Kelly summer vacation was to Canada. John declined to go. The trip includes Buffalo, Rochester, and Albany in New York. The Kelly’s camp along the road. Through Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine; into Quebec, Ottawa, and on to North Bay Canada for an extended stay. “We are going to visit the home of the Dionne Quintuplets”, dad announced. “They are the most famous people living in Canada; five sisters born at the same time.” We saw their home but not them. Upon leaving they stop for Sunday Mass in Callandar. In walked the Quintuplets who sat in the pew in front of them. Back in Cleveland, Mark suggested that the Barons rent a cottage of their own at Madison-on-the-Lake. They did! After two great weeks of meeting the girls, dancing and drinking beer Mark returned for his last year of high school. His fame proceeded him. He found new friend at his high school along with a new set of girls from Beaumont. When the Korean War broke out, Mark convinced one of his new friends to joining the Navy Reserves with him so that we could get the GI Bill for college after the War. Upon graduating from high school they went into the Navy.
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