“Should I ask what Hoover Hills is?” Rita asked.
“And where the or what the… is Hoover Hill?” Martha soon posed there after.
Ah yes. It’s always a blast getting back in touch with old friends. Old college acquaintances or at least three chicks I stalked around Winooski back in the college days when stalking was cool. And yes, I was put up to that even though the other party will deny it to her grave.
So in a recent comment discussion in a Group on Facebook, the topic of Hoover Hill came up. Just what is Hoover Hill? Well, lets start with this;
Hoover Street (marked with the balloon with the letter A) is a side street that sits off Shelburne Road in Burlington, Vermont. As you can see by the picture above, it’s a street that runs through a small neighborhood. What you can’t see is that it’s a slow incline running west to east. Now, please note the arrows. The yellow arrow, pointing at a bush in the picture, is to represent where the hill of Hoover Street crests and then immediately drops off and takes a sharp right hand turn. The red arrows are basically showing the cliff face that is off in the distance. These are important because when you are doing 40 miles an hour up the hill and then crest it, all you can see is the cliff face staring down at you. Once over the crest of the hill you have to take a hard right or run into these huge cement blocks that line the road, preventing idiots doing 40 miles an hour from plunging into a natural pit created by mother nature. It should also be noted that in 1985, when Hoover Street was first discovered, the trees between the two arrows, weren’t there.
As stated earlier, it was fall of 1985 when Hoover Street was discovered. Not far from the corner of Hoover Street and Shelburne Road is another corner that hosts a Dunkin Donuts. I think it’s still there. At any rate, there was one day this writer was conned into going to DD’s for some coffee and Munchkins since he didn’t have class for a couple of hours and ended up flying by the corner that held the Dunkin Donuts. A left hand turn later and history was made. In my rush to just get turned around in my 1972 Chevy Nova I put the pedal to the metal (this was an actual true statement with this 1970’s muscle car) and headed up the incline of Hoover Street. I hit the top, sailed over, went wide eyed, screamed a silent scream and shit my pants.
Quick thinking had me jerking the steering wheel to the right to make the turn and avoid the home made car crushing machine known as 3X3 cement blocks. Brakes were hit and gravel flew from under the tires. The car came to a stop, the muffler rumbling a low growl as the car idled and my heart pumped four times faster than it should have been. Knuckles were white as it gripped the cheap, $8 steering wheel cover. It was quiet for a moment as the reality of what happen sank in.
“That…was fuckin AWESOME!” I exalted.
It was a week later that I finally decided to share this little ‘better than sex’ secret. I had experienced the Hill three more times during the week, one of those times, once the light of day had settled below the horizon. It got better each time. Two hours later I’m sitting in Freeman Hall waiting for my first victim to share this with. Larry walked in and I was out of my chair before the door could shut.
“We’re going to Dunkin Donuts! Lets go!” I said.
“You don’t drink coffee!” Larry replied as he blindly followed me anyway.
“But I eat donuts.” I said, barely containing my excitement.
A few minutes later we are zooming past the Dunkin Donuts.
“Uhhh….you just drove right past it.” Larry noted.
“Damnit!” I offered up my best acting job. “Oh well, I’ll take the next left and spin around.” I added.
The Nova was ready too. I could feel her hum as we took the left and started up the hill. I was focused on the upcoming thrill but could sense Larry grabbing onto the dash as we picked up speed instead of slowing down.
“What are you doing?” Larry posed with a sudden, nervous urgency.
“You’ll see.” I quipped back.
As we neared the top of the Hill Larry looked over at me, wide eyed. I caught his look out of the corner of my eye and laughed as we hit the crest and flew over the top. Larry let out a bellow and I followed with one of my own, if only to add to his terror. When I cranked the wheel and stamped on the brakes, I looked over at Larry, the car shaking in it’s own excitement. Larry was looking at me like I was the Devil, laughing manically at his expense. For a moment, I was. Breathing heavy and holding the dash like it was a life preserver from the Titanic, Larry finally sat back, a grin on his face.
“That…was fuckin AWESOME!”
The Girl Stories
Details from that day forward are a little foggy only because Hoover Hill became an addiction, much like crack to a dope fiend. Like fresh baked cookies to a fat kid. Like latex to a dominatrix. Like KFC to Mark Halburn. Like Jack & Gingers to Nancy. Like, well, you get the picture. I couldn’t shake the thrill of the Hill. I remember one day taking Liz and Jo over the Hill. I think Jo punched me in the arm hard enough to leave a mark and Liz had an asthma attack. Or maybe it was Cindy that had the asthma attack when I took her over. Maybe it was both. I don’t recall. But there were many more.
Then there was the time I decided to put the old adage of violence (or thrills) turns a woman on. I was dating a gal named Kelly when I took her and her friend over The Hill one night without telling them anything. It was a sneak attack and a last minute decision after pizza one night on Shelburne Road. A slow grin crept over my face as I took a right onto Hoover Street under the guise of looking for a friends house “since we were there.” The Nova roared up the hill and actually caught air (to this day I believe we did, even though it was improbable) before coming to a 90 degree power skid and stop. I sat there giggling as Linda (name has been changed to protect the guilty) poked her head up from the back seat and asked;
“I better see white puffy clouds and hear harp music so I know I am in Heaven, because I just died.” She laughed nervously.
Kelly sat in the semi darkness listening to me laugh. I could swear she had a small grin on her face as she rubbed her legs together. That was before she slapped me across the face and called me a bastard.
Long story short, I did prove that chicks get all worked up over thrills (and violence, as evidenced to the hand print on my cheek) because after dropping Kelly off at home due to curfew, I got a kiss from her that straightened my tongue, shoelaces and other things that shall go unmentioned. But it was the back seat romp with Linda (hence the guilty name change) that proved the theory correct.
It’s been nearly 25 years since I took another person over Hoover Hill. Oh, yes, I have been over a few times since the good ole college days but the thrill isn’t what it used to be. Trees have grown up, blocking the view of the cliff face, which was the highlight of the cresting of the hill. The cement blocks are gone and so is that element of crushing danger. Plus, when you do something hundreds of times, you become a pro at it and it becomes mundane. But, for a brief few months between 1985 and 1987, Hoover Street and the Thrill of the Hill was the best thing ever.